1990 Geo Prizm Reviews - Page 7 of 12

1990 Geo Prizm LSi 1.6L DOHC from North America

Year of manufacture1990
First year of ownership2000
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 1.6L DOHC Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.8 / 10
Distance when acquired93000 miles
Most recent distance160000 miles
Previous carChevrolet Monte Carlo

Summary:

The best car I've owned so far

Faults:

I had to have the muffler replaced twice.

The front exhaust had to be replaced, first a little after I bought it and again at about 155000 miles.

Had to replace both drive axles.

The electric door locks only unlock the doors now.

Roof upholstery is falling down.

The oil sending unit needs to be replaced.

General Comments:

This is the best car I probably will ever own. I don't know how, but this car gets around 50mpg. Its going to be hard to find a better car than this when it finally dies, but I doubt that will be any time soon.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th February, 2004

7th May 2012, 15:08

50mpg does seem surprisingly high for this vehicle.

1990 Geo Prizm LSi 1.6 from North America

Year of manufacture1990
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 1.6 Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.3 / 10
Distance when acquired122800 miles
Most recent distance123900 miles
Previous carJeep Wrangler

Summary:

Great little car, but GM don't you forget about me!

Faults:

Heater fan doesn't work on low speed.

Headliner was sagging.

Blown rear speakers.

General Comments:

I purchased my 1990 Geo Prizm as a second car to commute in and out of the city. I have been so delighted by its performance, reliability and economy, that I drive it everyday and my new car sits in my driveway.

The Prizm is virtually a twin of the Toyota Corolla and has thankfully inherited the Corolla's reliabilty as well as its silky smooth 1.6 liter four cylinder engine.

The most outstanding characteristic of this little car is the smooth ride. The Prizm glides over potholes and road irregularities without transferring any harshness to the passenger compartment. The penalty for this smooth ride is felt in the handling department though. The Prizm is not a corner charger, it is much happier going straight than cornering. The compromise in handling prowess is welcome however in most real world driving situations. The handling is adequate, however if you want to go fast through the curves look at a Miata. But try putting a family and a weekend's worth of luggage in the Miata.

I am delighted with the power and fuel economy that the 1.6 liter 16 valve engine provides. Mated with the 5 speed transmission, the Prizm is a fun little car to drive, and returns 25-30 mpg in the bargain.

I am still amazed at the high quality of the fit and finish of this nearly 14 year-old vehicle. Save for a sagging headliner (which I repaired), the interior shows no signs of wear. It is a warm and comfortable environment for my daily commute. With the exception of low speed on the four speed heater blower fan, everything still works.

The exterior fit and finish is also excellent. The original paint still glossy, and the body still rust-free.

A concern is that GM seems to have abandoned the Geo owner, as the replacement switch has been discontinued. Leaving me to wonder what I will do if the other speeds go too. (Perhaps the switch from a Corolla will fit).

The only other problem with my Prizm is that the rear speakers were blown when I purchased it. I have since replaced them with new Pioneers, and the original factory stereo sounds great.

Having owned a number of small cars both Domestic and Imported, and having recently owned a new Pontiac Sunfire, I am convinced that the Prizm/Corolla was one of the finest subcompact vehicles offered at the time. In fact I prefer the Prizm over my previous 2002 Pontiac Sunfire. Even though the Prizm is a much older design, I believe it is much more refined and better built. I would say that the Prizm was one of the best subcompacts ever offered by GM.

I only wish that GM would continue manufacturing parts for this vehicle, so that I may enjoy it for many years to come.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th December, 2003

29th Feb 2004, 20:49

I just happened upon your comments and thought I would share my experiences. I purchased a Prizm new in 1990 and have been thrilled with it since. The problems you described, sagging head liner and blown speakers, are common for this car. But I am happy to trade those problems for the 205,000 reliable miles I have accumulated over the last 14+ years (some over rough terrain that would make a 4x4 driver think twice). Over the years, I have routinely cross-referenced Toyota parts for use in the Prizm and have had some success. Be careful, though. While the Prizm is based on the Corolla design, not all parts are the same.

2nd Aug 2010, 19:50

I recently purchased a 1990 Prizm and have found many parts at my local auto dismantler.

You may have to search through some of them yourself, there is a treasure trove of parts available.

If you are not crazy about getting dirty, find a teenager who is.

Average review marks: 8.5 / 10, based on 49 reviews