1996 Geo Prizm

  • 1996 Geo Prizm Base Sedan

    Base Sedan

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      1.6L I4
    • MSRP
  • 1996 Geo Prizm LSI Sedan

    LSI Sedan

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      1.6L I4
    • MSRP
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  • Review

1996 Geo Prizm Review

A Corolla with a Geo nameplate.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 1996 Geo Prizm is an entry-level compact car that was introduced in 1989. A very similar Chevrolet Prizm was also sold during this time, but it served as a replacement for the Nova, while Geo's version is essentially a rebadged Toyota Corolla.

The 1996 Geo Prizm is one of the better compact cars in the market that money can buy. It does its work well and also looks good while doing it. Since it's essentially a Corolla, it also gets the same good resale value and reliability associated with it.

The Range

Body Styles: sedan
Engines: 1.6-liter I-4, 1.8-liter I-4
Transmissions: three-speed automatic, four-speed automatic, five-speed manual
Models: Geo Prizm, Geo Prizm LSi

What's New

The 1996 Geo Prizm LSi gets an optional integrated child safety seat, and both models get daytime running lights, too. The base model in particular gets some new equipment, and three new exterior colors debut. The 1.8-liter engine has been revised to lower its power by 10 hp, although the torque has also been increased.


The 1996 Geo Prizm has a small presence on the road due to its compact nature, but it is an improvement over the previous generation. However, there is a change in the exterior according to the engine used. The 1.8-liter engine requires a rear stabilizer bar, optional automatic transmission, and wider tires.


The 1996 Geo Prizm has a clearly bigger interior than the previous generation did. Rear passenger space in particular is a lot bigger, but the lack of knee room can still make some occupants feel a little uncomfortable in the back seat. The trunk is quite roomy, thanks to the flat floor. The lid has a bumper level opening, and the overall space can be boosted farther by folding down the rear seatbacks when necessary, However, the folding seats are only available with the LSi. The gauges up front are easy for the driver to read and understand and holds true for the climate controls as well. On the other hand, the stereo controls tend to be a little too low and get blocked by the pull-out cup holder.

Performance & Handling

The 1996 Geo Prizm is available with a 1.6-liter straight-four engine as the base engine, which delivers 100 horsepower. The LSi in particular gets 1.8-liter straight-four engine that delivers 105 horsepower and a torque of 117 lb-ft. Both engines offer good acceleration with both transmission, but it's better when it's teamed up with the 1.8-liter engine. In fact, the LSi seems to have a more fun and positive performance. It has a very careful and predictable steering. The tires tend to lack road grip on straight roads, but it grips well overall.


The 1996 Geo Prizm gets four out of five stars for driver and passenger safety during frontal impact tests conducted by the NHTSA.

EPA Fuel Economy

Geo Prizm: 25/31 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Stable ride
  • Good fuel economy
  • Brisk acceleration with the 1.8-liter engine

You Won't Like

  • Lack of rear seat room
  • Poor stereo controls

Sum Up

A Corolla with a Geo nameplate.

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