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2003 Dodge Neon SRT-4
Review

Performance Data

Michael Dye

     

It's official. The Neon SRT-4, which Dodge showed as a concept a few years back, is finally ready for production. We were there when the announcement was made at the 2002 North American International Auto Show where Dodge also presented the 2003 Viper SRT-10 and the new Ram SRT-10.

   

    

    

 

    

    

  

For those of you looking for a performance car but can't front the cash needed for a Viper, this Neon might be right up your ally. The Neon SRT-4 promises to smoke the competition at every stoplight. So says Dodge, who claims that this little bug-eyed rocket will sprint to 60 in 5.9 seconds and top out at 148 mph. This makes the SRT-4 the second quickest car the Dodge line up. Of course, the Viper is first. 

Powering the SRT-4 is a 2.4-liter turbocharged inline four cylinder. But the high-winding attributes of most import four bangers aren't found under the SRT-4's scooped hood. Unlike most small displacement powerplants, this mighty mouse has serious torque. Although it makes a respectable 205 horsepower at 5400 rpm, thanks to the turbo it produces a healthy 220 lb/ft of torque at 4800 rpm. Dodge also pointed out that all 220 lb/ft is available over a broad range stretching from 2000 to 4800 rpm. After the power is routed through the 5-speed manual transmission, it's then sent to the front wheels with a vengeance. 

  

    

    

    

 

The suspension has been reinforced with the use of specially tuned strut and spring assemblies, sway bars front and rear, updated knuckles and a unique K-member. Aluminum 17-inch wheels are standard at each corner and wear 205/50ZR tires. I'm not particularly thrilled with the wheel design. That type of wheel was in style about four years ago. I think everyone's taste in the sport compact segment has changed a little since then. Mine has. 

Other than the wheels, the exterior and interior appointments look great. A ram-air hood, new front and rear fascias, side skirts, twin exhaust tips, and a larger rear wing provide an aggressive exterior appearance. The interior benefits from sporty seats, aluminum looking trim, Viper inspired steering wheel, billet shift knob and pedals, silver faced gages, and a dash mounted boost gage. 

  

    

    

    

 

Coming in at under $20,000 the Neon SRT-4 is an exceptional performance bargain for any enthusiast, and it's a great addition to the sport compact segment. Whether or not it will conquer the competition remains to be seen, but as most turbo motors go, the SRT-4's engine should have enormous potential to make additional power with a few aftermarket upgrades. And that will make street racers very happy when this car hits the streets in 2003.

  

Performance Data:

Best 0-60 mph:.............................................
Best 1/4 mile: ............................................... 
Best 60-0 mph braking:................................
EPA fuel economy rating:  ..........................
Common Driver observed mpg: .................
5.90 seconds (Dodge est.)
14.60 seconds @ 97 mph (est.)
120 feet (est.)
26/34 mpg (est.)
n/a 
 

Price:

Base price new:...........................................
Price as tested new:.................................... 

$19,995 
$19,995 

 

Specifications:

Drivetrain Layout:........................................ Engine Type:.................................................
Displacement:
............................................... Horsepower:..................................................
Torque:..........................................................
Transmission type:........................................
Tire size:........................................................
Airbags:.........................................................
Special Features............................................
Front engine, FWD
Inline 4, DOHC, 16-V, Turbocharged
148.2 ci, 2429 cc 
205 @ 5400 rpm 
220 @ 4800 rpm 
5-speed manual
P205/50ZR/17 
Dual front
Big performance- small package
 

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