Chevrolet Corsica

The Chevrolet Corsica was the first of General Motors’ compact cars to take a cue from European sport-sedan styling. Introduced to the market in 1987 as a replacement for the Chevrolet Citation, the four-door sedan superseded the boxy body of Chevrolet’s previous compacts with longer, sleeker lines. However, the Corsica still offers the affordability of a standard, mid-priced compact.

More on the Chevrolet Corsica
Chevrolet Corsica Origins

The Corsica shares a basic chassis design, powertrain, and mechanics with the two-door Chevrolet Beretta coupe. Both were built on GM’s L-body platform. Buyers of the early front-wheel drive Corsica could choose from a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine, capable of providing 109 horsepower, or a 2.8-liter V-6 that offered up to 130 horsepower. Chevrolet later added a gutsier 3.1-liter V-6 to the lineup. A five-speed manual transmission came standard in the Corsica, with automatic available as an option. An anti-lock braking system is standard on all models, but the Corsica was never manufactured with passenger-side airbags. All Corsicas could accommodate five adults. In 1989, a five-door hatchback edition was released as well.

Despite experiencing great initial popularity due to its utility, the Corsica was sometimes criticized for its basic design and features. Chevrolet ceased production of the Corsica and its sister car, the Beretta, in 1996.

About the Chevrolet Corsica

The Chevrolet Corsica is best known for its functionality. While the original design was considered sporty for its time, consumers didn’t buy the Corsica for its looks but for its relatively spacious interior and reliable performance. The Corsica provided an ideal vehicle for commuting to work, running errands, and chauffeuring the kids to soccer practice. Its base engine offered adequate power, while its larger engine upgrade provides better-than-average acceleration and muscle for a compact car, especially when compared to similar models like the Ford Aspire.

The Corsica gained praise for its fuel efficiency. While it got nowhere near the fuel economy of modern compact cars, an average rating of 21/29 mpg city/highway is still very good. Manual transmission models were capable of achieving up to 32 mpg. Relatively few mechanical troubles have been reported in the Corsica over the years, though some models experienced issues with peeling paint. Many vehicles are still on the road today with well over 100,000 miles.

Chevrolet Corsica Features

The Chevrolet Corsica was last produced in 1996, after which it was replaced with the larger 1997 Chevrolet Malibu. The 1996 Corsica is offered in a single trim level that came equipped with a four-cylinder, 2.2-liter engine that produced 120 horsepower. The 1996 is the first Corsica to be converted to OBD II computer electronics. The car measures 183.5 inches in length, offers 105 cubic feet of interior space, and comes with automatic locks, an anti-lock braking system, and daytime running lights. Buyers had the choice to upgrade with several options and two special value packages. Options included a CD player, cruise control, power windows, a rear-window defroster, and a split folding back seat. Package SQ includes a tilt steering wheel and stereo cassette, while package SP came with a day/night mirror and intermittent windshield wipers.

Chevrolet Corsica Evolution

The first generation of the Corsica was released in late 1987 to be sold to rental agencies as a fleet car. After its mainstream release in 1988, it became the second best-selling car in the U.S. The 1988 and 1989 models were available in base models as well as LT and LTZ trim levels. The most noticeable difference between trims was that the base car had silver-colored door handles, while the LT and LTZ handles are black. All trims offer a modest 13.6-gallon fuel tank and room for five passengers.

A hatchback style debuted in 1989, as did an LTZ performance package with modified suspension. A third-party supplier for GM crafted a rare limited-edition XT trim package, which coupled the new LTZ performance package with leather seats, a spoiler, and a special body kit.

Chevrolet eliminated the original base model in 1990, leaving just two trim choices. Engines for these model years include a 2.2-liter four-cylinder and a 3.1-liter V-6, but otherwise they had very few changes from the 1989 model. In 1991, standard driver-side airbags were added, cup holders were included, and the formerly smooth taillights were replaced with ridged lights. Front seat belts were attached to the B-pillars instead of the seats.

By 1992, the Corsica was only available in one style and one trim level, as GM had dropped the hatchback and LTZ. The 1993 version included a low-oil light. In 1994, Chevrolet replaced the 3.1-liter option with the new Gen III 3100 series and the three-speed automatic transmission with a four-speed automatic transmission. Front seat belts were on the doors and daytime running lights come standard. The 1996 model was the first Corsica to be converted to an OBD II system.

Select a Chevrolet Corsica Year

1996 Chevrolet Corsica

Midsize, Sedan

The 1996 Chevrolet Corsica is a four-door sedan that is available in only one model with a choice of a four-cylinder or six-cylinder engine.

1995 Chevrolet Corsica

Midsize, Sedan

The 1995 Chevrolet Corsica is a front-wheel-drive compact car with a four-cylinder, or an optional more powerful V-6 engine.