"A Dodge Neon on a "World's Fastest" page! Come on Traian, April Fools isn't for another 3 months, you really missed the boat with this one!" Yes, I hear you snickering. Well, settle down there, Billy Bob, because this Neon is for real. Sure, it sounds kind of silly - it also looks kind of silly: check out those air dams and F40-style wing, which manages to both look stupid and obstruct vision - but the SRT-4 has moves that would make a WRX proud.
The SRT-4 (Street and Racing Technology) takes the PT Cruiser GT's blown (using a Mitsubishi TD04-L-16GK turbocharger) 2.4-litre engine, a Valeo air-to-air intercooler, oil-cooled 8.1:1 compression pistons (versus the naturally aspirated 9.4:1), a high flow intake manifold and engine controller and the GT's crankshaft, block, coolant passages and oil pan. Also included in the deal is a high-performance five-speed manual NVG T850 'box and a muffler-less, dual outlet exhaust system with wider, 2.5-inch polished stainless tips. This takes the R/T's output from 150 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque to 215 and 245, respectively. "Ok, that's not bad," I hear you say, but in a 2880 lb shell (which really isn't all that light for a car its size, but it'll do) it's enough to grace the SRT-4 with a 0-60 mph time of 5.6 seconds.
For a car that costs fewer than 20 grand that's pretty darn sweet. When you're not drag racing, it's nice to know the SRT also comes with sturdier control arms, higher spring rates, firmer strut valving, the PT GT's steering rack, beefier anti-roll bars and wider footprints: 205/ 50ZR-17 rubber versus the R/T's 195/50TR-16. The brakes were also pampered: larger all-wheel disc brakes, vented up front and squeezed by bigger pads stop the '4 from 70 mph in consistent 165 ft runs.
Numbers don't really convey how the car drives, so here's the smack-down: This car is fast, lots of boost and lots of torque with a hint of torque steer in the first two cogs. It rides acceptably firm and is excellent for smoothing winding lanes though it does understeer at the limit. The seats are pretty and supportive and the four-pot sounds good, but the shifter is gross and the whole thing gets kind of tiring in everyday traffic. The Neon SRT-4 is a great sports car and an unbeatable value.
Base Price, USD 19,995 Engine Type dohc turbocharged I4
Powertrain Layout front engine/fwd Displacement, cc 2429
[email protected] [email protected] Torque [email protected] [email protected]
Curb Weight, lb 2880 0-60 mph, sec 5.6
1/4 mile, [email protected] [email protected] 60-0 mph, ft <120
70-0 mph, ft 165 Top Speed, mph 153