1993 Geo Prizm 1.6 from North America


It was truly a very reliable and fun car to own


I had to change the alternator around 150,000 miles.

The exhaust manifold needed to be changed around 120,000 miles. It had a crack in it.

Around 200,000 miles I could not pass inspections because of poor emission numbers. I tried many "remedies" but they did not work.

The ceiling cloth started to sag around 85,000 miles.

The plastic hardware (door and window handles, etc.), after 4 years of ownership, started to break.

General Comments:

This car was one of the most reliable cars that I ever owned.

The car has a manual transmission. It is very responsive. I never had to replace the clutch.

The Prizm has an incredible pick-up. It handled very well in traffic. I never had to be concerned about getting away from any eighteen wheelers.

I owned the car from 1993 to 2007, 14 years. I will be parting from it this year. I have not really used it for about eight months.

I have a new car now. I didn't want to spend the money to keep the Geo going after the 232,000 miles that it gave me.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th December, 2007

29th Dec 2007, 15:04

That's stupid why would you buy a new car when you had that one? I'm sure it would have cost less to have the Prizm repaired than it did to buy whatever you bought.

1993 Geo Prizm 1.6L from North America


Excellent Daily Driver


Bought the car at 113k and it burned oil. I think they are known to have an oil sludging problem.

113k - Replaced blown front struts.

114k - Exhaust broke cleanly at flange between cat. converter and cat-back section. It was hanging there and the car was so loud your brain shook.

114k - Replaced battery.

115k - I got lazy with the oil consumption and it developed a knock. However, it kept running. I beat the tar out of it to test its limits and it never quit. I eventually bought a totaled parts car for $300 with 77k and put that motor in mine, and also replaced the clutch. Motor runs excellent and burns and leaks nothing.

117k - More exhaust leakage. The exhaust on these cars are crap, whenever I see another one on the road that one sounds like crap too, I'm really considering buying an eBay stainless steel header and going from there.

119k - Brake hose suddenly leaks on a trip across the state. Funny thing is, the car was at Belle Tire that morning...

- Pretty much all of the speakers are blown.

- 2nd gear grinds a little, but no biggy.

General Comments:

I know my problems list is pretty big, but this car is nothing close to what I had been used to before I bought it. I had daily driven a couple of Eagle Talon TSi AWD's for about 2 years. While fun and fast, they suck down premium gas and break more than a Cheez-it being stepped on. After doing a ton of work to make one of the Talons nice, I didn't want to drive it everyday. Initially, I had planned to look for a nice Civic or maybe a CRX, but my Girlfriend was also looking for another car. She was replacing her Geo Prizm and wanted me to fix it up a little so she could sell it. I borrowed it for a weekend, did some touch up paint and some tune up work, piled up my buddies in and used it all weekend. I fell in love with it. My friends and I were in awe at what little gas it used, and it was quite roomy and nice. When my G/F got back she offered to sell it to me for just over a grand, so I bought it. I had a little trouble with it at first, but after replacing the motor, the car has had no major problems until the brake line broke.


- I average 30-35mpg in the city, around 45mpg on long highway trips.

- Very roomy, I've had 4 adults sit comfortably in it, although the back sags pretty low.

- Plenty of trunk space.

- Even after almost 14 years, over 3 owners, and almost 120k the interior is still in excellent condition, with the exception of the infamous breaking door handles.

- Controls are all nicely within reach.

- Seats are very comfy.

- For just over 100hp, it's no speed demon, but is adequate enough to not have to worry.

- Maintenance is easy. You don't even have to lift the car to change the oil, and I can do the belts in way less than an hour.


- They all rust in the same spots, and mine is starting to get it.

- Handles like garbage on the highway. Leans a lot, and is a little shaky.

- No overdrive on 5th gear in manual. It's at 3k at 65MPH.

- The exhaust manifold cracks on all of them, just by looking at it, you can tell its just a stupid design.

- The speakers are made of cardboard, and break if you try to remove them.

- The tiny wheels and tires don't help much in the winter.

Other than that, the car is excellent and I'd recommend a Prizm/Corolla to anyone looking for a cheap Daily Driver.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th October, 2006

16th Nov 2006, 21:10

I seriously, seriously doubt that you are getting 45 mpg on the highway. If you are, please contact the R&D departments at the Big 3 automakers and do us all a favor.

12th Dec 2006, 21:59

To respond to the above comment. (I posted the article) I didn't say I get 45 all of the time, that's just what I have averaged on long trips. My G/F goes away to school on the other side of the state, and on non-stop trips I've averaged close to 45. No Joke.

13th Apr 2007, 14:52

Its no joke it can get over 40 mpg no problem, honest!

7th Dec 2007, 13:22

What are the rust spots? Mine has rust on the bottom, hood and trunk. Don't know about other places, like the frame.

28th Aug 2011, 12:40

Most common issues with Corolla/Prizm I've found:

Rust above rear wheels, maybe behind front wheels.

Door handles break off on outside and inside.

Exhaust manifold cracks right down the middle.

Rear suspension develops problems.

Reliable and run forever. I didn't change oil or filter for 40k, and only spent $35 in 60k on 1 spark plug and a used starter. 215k.

25th Nov 2017, 15:37

The one my family had, which was sort of mine from high school until we let her go, had the muffler come unbolted and boy was she loud. Our little Patti (I mentioned her in a comment on different review,too) was normally a purr machine. Maybe I should do my own review of her?