From 1989 to 2002, the Chevrolet Prizm was produced as an entry-level compact car for the U.S. market. When Chevrolet first launched the car, it was known as the Geo Prizm, but it received its new name in 1998 when General Motors phased out the Geo brand. The Prizm served as a replacement for the Chevrolet Nova, and like its predecessor, the Prizm is a rebadged version of the Toyota Corolla. For its entire lifespan, the New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. plant in Fremont, California manufactured all Prizm models. The plant resulted from a joint venture between General Motors and Toyota.
More on the Chevrolet Prizm
Chevrolet Prizm Origins
At the time of the launch of the third generation of the Geo Prizm in 1998, all Geo vehicles were being converted into Chevrolets. This means that all Geo-branded cars received Chevrolet badges. This change in brand hurt sales of the Prizm, as well as other vehicles that had been rebranded from Geo to Chevrolet. Geo had a strong brand following, and sales of Geo vehicles consistently outsold the rebranded Chevrolet vehicles. Low popularity and decreased sales are two of the reasons that Chevrolet discontinued the Chevrolet Prizm models in 2002.Chevrolet Prizm Features
The third, and final, generation of the Prizm boasts a restyle from the second generation, which coincides with the rebranding of the car. Still available as a four-door sedan, one of the most significant changes from the second to the third generation is the engine. A 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine is the only engine option available for all Prizm cars. The engine is made completely from aluminum, making it and the car significantly lighter than previous models of both Geo Prizms and Toyota Corollas. The engine has more power but the same gas mileage due to the fact that it and the car weigh much less. As with the second generation, the car offers three transmission options: a five-speed manual, a three-speed automatic, or a four-speed automatic.
The third generation also features optional side airbags. This makes the Prizm, with the Toyota Corolla, the first line of cars in the compact category to offer this feature. Initially, Chevrolet offered a handling package as an option, but it became standard in 1999. For the 2000 model year, the engineers modified the engine, increasing its power rating to 125 horsepower, a gain of five. The final Chevrolet Prizms were manufactured in December 2001, which resulted in few 2002 models for sale.Chevrolet Prizm Evolution
Chevrolet launched the first generation of the Prizm under the Geo brand. It came as a four-door sedan (offered until 1992) and a five-door hatchback (only offered until 1991). The hatchback is a straight rebadging of the Japanese-market Toyota Corolla Seca. It came equipped with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. In 1990, the model line included the Geo Prizm GSi sport version, which had a twin-cam engine rated at 130 horsepower, as well as a sport suspension, disk brakes, and 14-inch wheels. Transmission options included a five-speed manual or a three- or four-speed automatic transmission. Due to the size of the vehicle, this generation of the Geo Prizm is classified as a subcompact car.
The second generation of the Geo Prizm was unveiled for the 1993 model line. As part of the restyling of the car, its size was increased to provide more room for passengers and in the trunk. Due to the increase in the size of the Geo Prizm, the second generation had to be reclassified from the subcompact category to the compact car category. A driver-side airbag also improved the safety of the vehicle.
This generation of the Geo Prizm only came as a four-door sedan. It contained a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine but also offered a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine as an option with the LSi trim. The transmission for the base model can be either a five-speed manual transmission or a three-speed automatic. In the LSi trim, the automatic transmission increased to a four-speed. In addition to the larger engine and upgraded transmission, the LSi model of the Geo Prizm also has wider tires and a rear stabilizer bar.
In 1994, the second generation of the Geo Prizm underwent a refresh. Improvements included a second airbag as a standard in all vehicles. Also, leather seats became optional on the LSi version. Although the Geo Prizm remained basically a rebadged version of the Toyota Corolla, the cars have one significant difference: Unlike the Toyota Corolla, the Geo Prizm did not have a front stabilizer bar in its suspension. The second generation of the Geo Prizm remained in production until 1997.