I’m also of the opinion that Chrysler got overly ambitious with its heady expansion in the 1990s, and that quality suffered because of that. When the Neon came out, Toyota and Honda execs were seriously nervous–until they got a closer look at it, I assume. My son Ed’s GF had a 2000 Neon: Its hatch leaked, the engine burned oil, and it just exuded cheapness all around. But painting every Neon into a corner doesn’t always work; as with any other nameplate, there are always some Neons out there like this one, which is featured at allpar’s 200k club, to prove that one can rack up a half-million miles.
Headline disclaimer: At the time this was posted, in 2009, the Neon was owned by a father-and-son team of Neon-philes and had 446,000 miles on it. Without an update, I can only assume it’s hit the 500,000 mark by now unless they got rid of it, but then again, you never know. Needless to say, the paper-based head gasket has been replaced, and a few other minor issues attended to. It affirms what has been proven time and time again: that in the capable hands of knowledgeable folks who know how to take care of a car properly, a modern car with high mileage is no longer the miracle it once was.