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The Dodge SX, formerly known as the Chrysler Neon in Canada in previous years, was a finalist in the Economy Car category of the 2003 Canadian Car of the Year awards.

2003 Dodge SX 2.0 Preview
 Dodge rebadges its Neon

After a short absence, DaimlerChrysler has reintroduced the Dodge nameplate on a Canadian car for 2003 in the guise of the SX 2.0 (last year, this model was called the Chrysler Neon, while the Dodge label was only on trucks in Canada).

In addition to the new name, the fore and aft of the body have received a minor facelift, although the difference isn't significant.

Our tester was equipped with a 132-hp, 2.0-L engine that enabled it to zip briskly along the highways and country roads of the test routes. It was the second quickest model in this group -- and importantly, had the best brakes to scrub off that speed quickly.

A five-speed manual transmission helps the Dodge SX achieve the best fuel economy in this group, despite the fact it's heavier than some contenders. The SX feels like a larger, more substantial car than it is. The handling is firm, though the suspension is bouncy over country road potholes.

Not only do the front and rear seats offer lots of headroom and legroom, the SX has a fairly large trunk that will hold 370 L of gear. However, the passthrough from the trunk is miserly, and the rear seats don't fold level with the trunk floor.

Equipped with options such as power sunroof, CD player and power front windows, the SX we tested offered plenty of passenger space, peppy performance, a nice interior and great fuel economy for a reasonable price. It also features DaimlerChrysler's new seven-year/115,000 km engine and powertrain warranty -- the longest in the business -- and 24 hour roadside assistance.

The base model is available for an introductory price of $13,988

* Price as tested: $16,490

© Copyright Bill Roebuck, 2002.

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