I've owned a well used '98 Prizm for for over six years now and at 166K it still runs and does not give me headaches. The mileage is great, I can go almost a whole month without refilling the tank. Heater and AC are strong and quick to action. However it handles poorly, becomes shaky, and burns huge amounts of oil at high speeds, so avoid the interstate. May get water into engine if roads are wet enough to puddle. Interior is very cheap, with some parts snapping or peeling with age. Door handles WILL eventually bust. Steering wheel module and shifter unfortunately made of very soft materials that easily scratch & collect dirt or hand gunk. I have had to replace rear shocks, power steering.
Personally I like it appearance wise, not too boxy or zany. Sleek, Japanese look. (basically a Toyota Corolla inside and out) Very fuel efficient and has more cargo space than appearance suggests. Previous owner actually destroyed the starter and burned out the engine yet it was fixed with no further problems. I think you could drop the thing off a cliff or remove parts and it would still run. I have not had any significant or very expensive problems with it, it has never stalled, overheated, or broke down. Very good at sharp turns, very few blind spots.
As far as used cars go, very good. It will be a loyal and low maintenance servant for many years if you can find one that wasn't abused.
People either love the Prizm or hate it. My take away is it's not a terrible car. It's really not a great one either. It could have been built with better quality components concerning the body paint, shocks, and interior plastic components. The typically 90's low ride of it makes it prone to issues involving rain or floods, so take caution by driving a bit slowly and avoiding large puddles if the roads are wet. Even a small amount of water can make the engine protest or worse.
my Little prizm is great. Have never had any trouble with it beside that i had a little bit of arching in the main battery terminal. I bought it with about 140000 last year. This year i have just under 180000. The owner said that everything was original beside the Cads. It is just no in need of a throw out bearing for the transmission. Still a fun little car and cant wait to get it to 300000.
Body style, and engine design
Interior needs overhaul, performance parts to boost the already 120 hp that is being presented from the engine.
I love my little prism. This was the first car I bought in 2002 with 59,000 miles on it. I have not had too many problems. Like most ppl on here i have replaced all my door handles inside and out, ac, the clear coat has chipped, and i have replaced some front end parts. Other than this my prism currently has 261,000! i keep thinking its almost done and it keeps me moving... never has she left me stranded and just when i think of getting a new one i think of all the fun i have had in her... haven't been able to part yet... i would definitely recommend this car!
My favorite feature is the built in car seat.
I dont have children but i always seem to find the need for one.
Everyone that rides thinks its the handiest feature.
If i could improve on this i would have better door handles and the clear coat could stay better.
And it's easily the best car I've ever owned. It has just under 60,000 miles on it, and based on most of these reviews on here, I've a long way to go before I experience any of the more serious (but routine) issues. I'm looking forward to owning this car a very long time. And the gas mileage, MY GOD! It's phenomenal!
Fuel Economy, handling, CD player, A/C, Interior comfort
I purchased my 98 Prizm LSI used in August of 1999. It was probably the best car purchase I ever made. It now has 102,000 miles on it and has never let me down. I've replaced a couple of door handles and some front suspension parts due to wear, but nothing out of the ordinary. I replaced the headliner but the rest of the interior still looks great. Chevy/Toyota really got it right on this one. I plan to continue driving it for a long time.