Used to have a Plymouth Neon ( same thing ). First year - '95. Not generally a good idea to get a first year model, but I wanted a spacious small car and it was the most spacious vehicle I could find for the money. Plus initial reviews were at least adequate.
Other than some inexplicably squealy fan belts ( they were perfectly tight, seems the surfacing was defective in some way and I had to have them replaced twice very early in ) and failed oxygen sensor near the end of five-year period that I had it ( nothing too unusual there ), I had no real mechanical problems. However I have heard a few horror stories with those early models, so I may have lucked out. Oil intake did increase, but not too drastically.
In terms of build quality, it’s a cheap car. Fewer fasteners to save cost, so after awhile it developed a number of little squeaks and rattles. Nothing significant, but if you like hermetically sealed and quiet vehicles, this is not the car for you ( some wind noise as well ). Paint job was adequate.
Engine was a little noisy, but had decent ( not exceptional ) pickup for a four-cylinder ( it was the 132-horse model ). Didn’t love steep inclines, though. Mileage in the city was barely adequate for a small vehicle, but freeway mileage was excellent ( especially long interstate trips ). I got the standard transmission, because at the time the automatic that was offered was a three-speed that both reviewers and myself in test drives found it ran the engine a bit too fast. Shifting was fine. I had to replace the clutch unusually quickly, but then I live in a very hilly region. Car responded well enough, with good road feel, but wasn’t super nimble and due to the “cab-forward” design had a fairly wide turning radius ( annoying - my old Datsun 510 could turn on a dime ). I don’t like softly sprung cars like Toyotas and the Neon definitely wasn’t - If an active ride bugs you, you might want to look elsewhere.
Big Plus for me - Very roomy for a small vehicle. Seats four comfortably ( unusual in a subcompact ), good forward legroom, and a fairly roomy trunk. Price is of course pretty reasonable.
I got most of the extras, including cruise control ( absolute must for California road trips ).
All in all, based only on my personal five-year experience, I’d give it a qualified approval. But if you have a few thousand more, a Honda Civic would be a better choice.
These days I drive a Maxima SE.