Chrysler’s Neon has always offered a stylish alternative in the compact-sedan category. Its popularity with young, notably female, buyers suggests that even entry-level shoppers appreciate a good-looking car.
The Neon R/T is an attempt to fix at least half of that equation. Like the original Neon R/T, this one is a combination of performance goodies and pointless options. Extra performance comes from a “Magnum” version of the 2-liter engine, with 150 horsepower and 135 lb-ft of torque. It gets its extra power from a performance camshaft, electronically controlled dual-plenum intake and large-diameter dual exhaust. We suspect that most of the added power comes from using premium fuel with advanced timing – the stock Neon takes regular. The open exhaust provides a good, throaty note, sounding more like a V-8 than a four. Maximum power still requires higher rpms, which are easiest to reach with the five-speed transmission.
The R/T consisted on a new 150 horsepower (112 kW) SOHC Magnum 2.0 Liter Engine, 16 inch wheels, spoiler, dual chrome exhaust tips, quicker steering box and stiffer springs. The 2001 R/T had a one-year-only large spoiler — for 2002–, the R/T models wore a rounded spoiler (a smaller version of the SRT-4 wing). The Neon was offered with a Sport package for the 2001 model year only. It consisted of an R/T wing, R/T 16 inch wheels, R/T springs, white instrument cluster and R/T steering box. It was an R/T visually except for the lack of dual exhaust, R/T lower moldings, fog lamps and R/T exclusive front bumper. The Sport only came equipped with the base model’s 132 horsepower (98 kW) engine and was available with an automatic transmission (unlike the manual-only R/T model). 2001 was the last year for the Plymouth Neon and the Plymouth brand as well, the last Plymouth Neon (which also was the last Plymouth), a silver four-door sedan, rolled off the assembly line on June 28, 2001.