7. Dodge Neon SRT 4
In SRT 4 form, the otherwise ordinary Dodge Neon was a true performance car with great potential and a cool secret. Since the Neon was conceived as an economy compact to battle Japanese and Korean cars, it was equipped with low-powered four-cylinder engines and dull drivetrain options. But Dodge wanted to make it a competitor in the hot hatch class, and that meant the Neon needed more power under the hood and a new name. The SRT 4 means “Street Racing Technology” and the number four designates the number of cylinders. Under the hood was a 2.4-liter four with a turbocharger. At first, it had 215 HP and the number later rose to 230 hp. With this powerplant, the Neon SRT 4 was a fast and nimble car that soon earned respect on the street. Photo Credit: Dodge Forum
Street racers found out the Neon’s engine was easy to tune to achieve high horsepower ratings. Jumping from the stock 230 hp up to 330 hp was just too easy. Soon, rumors started that the stock SRT 4 engine was much powerful than the factory stated because drivers could easily pass the 300 hp mark if they put on just a few bolt-on accessories and did a mild tune-up job. The factory didn’t issue any statements until the Edmunds.com test team took one stock Neon SRT 4 and tested it. The result was an impressive 285 hp from the factory. No wonder the Neon had such a good performance and was the favorite with the street racing crowd.