The Dodge Neon was so bad my friend would purposely try to destroy his in high school, but just it wouldn’t die. But Dodge actually made a Neon that was cool in the 90s. Specifically built for SCCA autocross events, and called the Dodge ACR (American Club Racer). The first year they built it (1994), you actually needed to show the Dodge dealership your SCCA license in order to buy it. Essentially, just bolt in a roll cage and order a copy of Speed Secrets off Amazon, and you could be a legit racer.
Dodge stripped away creature comforts like the air conditioning, sound deadening insulation, fog lights and the radio in order to make it lighter and more like a race car. The Dodge added on better suspension, thicker anti-roll bars front and rear, four wheel disc brakes, faster steering ration, and a thicker radiator. The sedan had a 132 horsepower 2.0-liter SOHC four cylinder engine, and the coupe upgraded to 150 horsepower DOHC 2.0-liter engine, which the later being the one you want.
Dodge offered the Neon R/T (in later years) it gave back the luxuries that was taken away in the more serious ACR. Who really needs air conditioning anyway? Actually air conditioning is awesome. – see Motor Week’s review of the Dodge Neon R/T below.
How is the Dodge Neon ACR just like the Ford Fiesta ST? Have you ever seen a Ford Fiesta sedan, it’s horribly ugly just like the Neon. Both have 2.0-liter engines that send power to the front wheels, and both are famous for having great handling characteristics. The Neon in the 90s won several autocross titles, and in 2014 the Fiesta ST was the highest-placing front-drive car in Best Driver’s Car history – getting 6th place out of 10 cars.
But if you are not an enthusiast you wouldn’t have a clue about either of these cars. And that is what makes them so amazing – Fiesta ST and the Neon ACR have sleeper sedans looks with a soul of a super car.