With an all-new replacement model waiting in the wings, changes are minimal to the Dodge SX 2.0 for 2005. The 150 hp RT version offered in 2004 is no more. There are two new exterior colours, and an SRT Design package, available for both SX 2.0 lines, that includes a “power bulge” hood, unique front fascia, dual exhaust and tall rear spoiler, so cash-strapped wannabes can pretend they’re driving the turbocharged SRT-4.

Still known by its original Neon name in the U.S., the SX 2.0’s Canadian moniker reflects its 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine. Exclusively offered as a four-door sedan, it comes in two trim lines. However, it’s possible to put several options onto the base model, so you only pay for what you want.

The base model comes with fog lamps, tinted windows, full instrumentation, 60/40 folding rear seat, tilt wheel, variable intermittent wipers, CD player, 14-inch wheels and, strangely, a set of manual mirrors that puts the single remote on the driver’s side, rather than on the passenger’s where it would prove much more useful.

The Sport model adds air conditioning, power locks with keyless entry and security alarm, power windows and mirrors, power trunk release, cruise control, 15-inch wheels and rear spoiler.

Although its styling has matured significantly since the first bug-eyed Neon moppet, the SX 2.0 is overdue for replacement. Its short-cushioned seats are terribly uncomfortable after the first hour, and its stiff throttle makes cruise control almost a necessity. It’s $115 more than the superior Toyota Corolla, and while a base Honda Civic will set you back $595 more, it’s also a much better car. Both of those also offer better fuel economy. Even the Hyundai Accent is a strong contender, for $1,610 less. The SX-based SRT-4 is incredibly fast and its seats are wonderfully comfortable, but it’s another $11,775 to get there.

The Dodge SX 2.0 is built in Belvidere, Illinois.

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