1998 Chevrolet Prizm base 1.8 from North America


This Prizm gets good mileage and is reliable, with some small issues


Bad spark plug wire at 73,000 miles.

Interior driver's door handle rattles when the door is shut.

Exhaust strap broke around muffler.

Many of the bolts and screws under the hood look rusted, maybe this was a car from the northeast.

The interior and exterior scratch very easily.

The rear headliner is starting to fall down.

Radiator replaced before I bought it do to a small leak.

Exhaust canister replaced before I bought it, source of a check engine light.

General Comments:

The gas mileage is good, I get around 28 MPG in mixed driving with the 3 speed auto. I got 36.5 MPG on the last out of town highway trip I took.

The car seems to be built well for the most part, I don't care for the seats on long trips. It seems Chevy/Toyota built this car well in some areas and cut some corners in others.

Since this car only has 75,000 miles on it and it's been maintained well I'm looking forward to getting another 75,000 out of it.

This Toyota engine (1.8) uses a timing chain instead of belt, which is nice.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th January, 2008

7th Jan 2008, 17:54

The exhaust strap breaking on these cars is very common, don't know why. A well maintained Prism should run for a very, very long time. The only thing I would recommend is changing out the tranny fluid, and differential too.

8th Jan 2008, 15:01

Differential??? You have a 4 wheel drive Prizm there buddy???

27th Aug 2009, 20:55

All cars have a differential. It's just not always in the back like in a rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive vehicle. In a front wheel drive vehicle it's connected directly to the transmission.

1998 Chevrolet Prizm from North America


This car is a steal, for efficient, inexpensive, and extremely reliable transportation


Evap Valve ($150 total) (the one by the gas tank)

Heat selector knob disconnected - easy repair.

One dash light went out.

That's it!

General Comments:

This car is a steal, for efficient, inexpensive, and extremely reliable transportation. Never a drip of oil, everything is super tight, STAINLESS STEEL EXHAUST - perfect condition after 8 years in the rust belt. Also, the body and undercarriage in general show almost no rust. The manual trainy is smooth and tight - recommended. Still plenty peppy, and great mpg.

I'm paying $115/month, 48 months, and I have no repair bills, and with the low gas mileage this vehicle has saved me tons of cash and aggravation. Probably saved a couple of grand over the identical Corolla.

Note that later models have variable valve timing which makes them more efficient and > hp. I have no complaints about this model though.

I only wish it had fold down seats and cruise control and less lame wheel covers. Oh, and that it was a diesel.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 10th May, 2006

9th Nov 2009, 15:42

So... why wouldn't you buy another one? Seems to me you like your Prizm.

1998 Chevrolet Prizm from North America


Unexciting.. reliable car.


The only minor things that has happened is that the check engine light is always on. I went and got it put on a machine and the machine couldn't tell me what was wrong. Oh well. Also, when I first got the car and I had all my friends pile in.. there was a dragging noise. Come to find out, there was mud flaps on the back end so when there was quite a few people in the back seat the mud flaps would drag.. whoops! :)

General Comments:

This car is very dependable. I know a handful of people who have the same car as mine and who also have not had any problems with it!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 10th March, 2004

24th Oct 2009, 22:00

The Prizm may be an unexciting car, but 'unreliable' is a word rarely, if ever, used to describe it. As Admiral King once said, "I believe my record will speak for itself." This can be said of the Prizm and its twin, the Corolla. Its record speaks for itself. The Prizm is one of the best small cars out there, and comes at a better price than the Corolla, which is much more desired on the used car market despite the two being essentially the same. Why, then, are you unsure of whether you'd buy another one or not? The Prizm may be boring, but that is easily one of the only areas it in which it is noticeably lacking.

1998 Chevrolet Prizm Standard 1.8 ? from North America


Fantastic reputation and reliability in the past that may be now jeopardized


The Chevrolet Prizm was built in Fremont, California (USA) at the same facility that built the Toyota Corolla. This was an arrangement made with Toyota and Chevrolet.

The engine used in the Chevrolet Prizm is actually a Toyota engine! From what I have been told, Toyota insisted on installing some type of filter screen near the oil pan. When this screen gets "plugged up", the oil pump begins to malfunction. If this issue is not addressed, the oil pump will fail, causing the engine to overheat. If not addressed for a period of time, this will cause the engine to "burn up", requiring extensive engine repairs or costly replacement.

General Comments:

If there is anyone with mechanical experience on the 1998 Chevrolet Prizm or the 1998 Toyota Corolla, please post on the internet WHERE this filter screen is located. I am hopeful that it can be "punched out", and avoid any future issues or problems.

It is my understanding that Toyota has refused to acknowledge this issue, and refuses to "recall" these vehicles.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th March, 2003

7th Sep 2010, 17:13

I own a 1998 Chevrolet Prizm LSi, but unfortunately I am not familiar with the problem you describe. I wish I could help, but the problem you mention has yet to occur for me. I would take the car around to a few shops, call Car Talk - really, they can help if anybody can - and if at all possible ask Toyota and General Motors about the car. Of course, a 1998 Prizm is not going to be high on the interests of either manufacturer. But they built the car, so they'd certainly have folks who know about it and records on the Prizm/Corolla of that year. Best of luck to you.