Fleet News

Chrysler Neon 2.0 LX

Review

IT'S cheap and, now, much more cheerful. Chrysler's Neon has been given a new lease of life following a ú500 million makeover, the objectives of which are to attract a younger customer base and, as a result, make more of an impact in the fleet market. The first Neon, launched here in 1996, succeeded in looking different to other medium sector models and in offering a compelling value-for-money package.

It came with a 2.0-litre petrol engine and was stuffed with standard features that left most 1.6 and 1.8-litre rivals in the shade and dangled the additional carrot of upper medium proportions at a lower medium-sized price. Predominantly middle-aged retail customers lapped it up, accounting for the lion's share of about 3,000 units a year, which towards the end of its life included a 1.8-litre petrol option.

With the latest generation Neon, the packaging is similar, but there are important improvements in build quality, refinement and engine performance. The 1.8 has been dropped, leaving just two four-door Neons, both with the upgraded 2.0-litre engine. SE trim costs ú10,995 on-the-road, and the LX ú13,495 (Chrysler continues to go against badging convention where SE usually denotes higher specification). Buyers have the option of five-speed manual transmission or three-speed auto for no extra cost.

Along with a more rounded, but still distinctive, body shape, key engineering changes have delivered a considerably more comfortable ride and lower noise levels. There's now more load space, extra rear headroom and better accommodation for the wider-hipped, fore and aft. Chrysler has given frameless door windows the heave-ho, which cuts down on rattle and means the doors shut with a superior-sounding clunk.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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