1998 Dodge Neon

Change year or car

Change year or car

$11,100

starting MSRP

1998 Dodge Neon

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

3 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 1998 Dodge Neon trim comparison will help you decide.

1998 Dodge Neon review: Our expert's take

By

They say good things come in small packages. That’s certainly true of the new Dodge Neon R/T.

But the snazzy, compact Neon R/T is not only a good thing, it’s a quick one. The R/T is a new model for 1998 that, for a reasonable price, delivers terrific performance, lots of equipment and solid quality.

Those with long memories will recall that Dodge attached the R/T (“road and track”) letters to its muscle cars of the late ’60s and early ’70s — then again to modern muscle machines such as the Dodge Viper and V-8-powered Dakota pickup.

The R/T designation isn’t affixed to the Neon just for cosmetic or marketing purposes. Many of the car’s underpinnings have been suitably beefed up.

PERFORMANCE, HANDLING

Standard Neons come with a 132-horsepower, 2.0-liter, double overhead cam, four-cylinder engine and either a five-speed manual transmission or a three-speed automatic.

The R/T model turns up the heat a bit. It has a 150-horsepower version of the 2.0-liter, DOHC engine. The only gearbox available is a five-speed manual. When you first start moving, the R/T doesn’t seem much like a rocket. In fact, the 2.0-liter engine could use more muscle at lower speeds. But the power builds strongly as the tachometer needle climbs past the 3,500 range.

The five-speed transmission is slick and easy to shift. The clutch is easy on the leg, so driving this car in heavy city traffic won’t wear you out. Despite being driven with an extremely heavy foot and with the air conditioner on most of the time, our test Neon got exemplary fuel economy. It logged 28 mpg in city driving and 39 on the highway in a 480-mile, weeklong test.

The Neon R/T has a performance-tuned, four-wheel suspension system that includes front and rear sway bars, specially designed springs and 14-inch wheels. All this keeps the car firmly grounded when taking corners at fast speeds.

The four-wheel, power-assisted disc brakes are strong and they stop the car very quickly. But the optional anti-lock system available on the regular Neon is not offered on the R/T. That seems unusual. A high-performance car needs the best brake system available.

Power-assisted, rack-and-pinion steering is standard. It has a nicely weighted, solid feel.

FIT AND FINISH

The Neon R/T is basically an economy car, but a few options bump its appeal to a higher level.

For $1,150, the “Value/Fun Group” package adds a power sunroof and power windows, mirrors and door locks. This package is an outstanding value — on some luxury vehicles, the sunroof alone costs more than $1,150.

Other options included a tilt steering wheel and cruise control. You get both for $350. Floor mats add another $50.

The R/T model has seats that offer more support than the standard Neon seats, and special upholstery. The front buckets are comfortable on long drives. The rear seats also offer good support, and there’s an uncommon amount of head and leg room in the back of the Neon.

The rear se at cushions fold forward so that bigger items can fit inside the car.

I like the stylish white-on-black instruments and the uncluttered dash. The controls for the air conditioner and radio, in the center of the dash, are very easy to reach and use. The steering wheel-mounted switches for the cruise control are a classy touch.

This car feels as tightly made as any Toyota or Volkswagen I tested lately. But some Neons tested by enthusiast magazines have had minor problems, and spare parts were sometimes hard to get.

The best part of the Neon R/T is the value it offers. It is a great looking little car that offers good performance and plenty of room. You get your money’s worth and a lot more.

1998 Dodge Neon R/T

Base price: $11,355.

Safety: Dual air bags and side-impact protection.

Price as tested: $15,095

EPA rating: 29 mpg city/41 mpg highway Incentives: $1,500

Truett’s tip: The Neon R/T is a funky, spunky compact that offer s snappy accel eration, crisp handling and pleasing looks. It also delivers outstanding value for the money.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.3
  • Interior design 4.0
  • Performance 4.3
  • Value for the money 4.0
  • Exterior styling 4.2
  • Reliability 3.6

Most recent consumer reviews

2.1

Needs work

The car has an oil leak and the engine bracket is broke. The sun roof has a small leak. The gear shift makes a noise from when you shift it to either gear. I did test drive the car and the power steering needs work. The break rotors need to be replaced.

5.0

my favoritve cars

i love the neons. fun to drive and had no problems, ive had 6 neons total, every time i sell it, i regret it, and find myself buying another. ive had 3 that ive turned into show cars, my favorite neon i had was a 98 R/T. had alot of great rides and memories in it. i currently have a 2004 srt 4. and a 96 expresso. very depndable if you take care of them. ive had a 95 sohc, ive drove over 234,000 miles on and sold to a friend and he drove it to 267,000 and sold it running strong. i highly recomend these cars, but watch out for the cheap deals, probally been ran to the ground.

4.0

great gas milage but repairs take away all benifit

my 1998 neon has 70,000 miles on it. I am the second owner. I picked it up from a dealer when it had 20,000 miles on it The head gasget had to be replaced at50k and water pump and crank seals replaced at 60k. The Plastic lens on the head lights have foged over so you cannot see at night. also the breaks make a lot of noise when applied. Outside of this i love the little car. Bob

See all 6 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Dodge
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
5 model years or newer/less than 75,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
3 months/3,000 miles
Powertrain
7 years/100,000 miles
Dealer certification required
125-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

See all 1998 Dodge Neon articles