2002 Chevrolet Prizm Review

Pros & Cons

  • Reliability, zippy powertrain when equipped with a manual transmission, optional side airbags.
  • Ho-hum personality, ABS not standard, cramped rear seat, options force prices too high to remain a bargain.
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Edmunds' Expert Review

It's got Japanese technology and build quality because, well ... it's a Japanese car with an American nameplate. Certainly a creative way to get patriotic types behind the wheel of a Toyota.

Vehicle overview

In short, the Prizm is one solid economy sedan. It's a capable performer and it doesn't waste time with trying to look like something it's not. Better yet, it is essentially a reskinned Toyota Corolla, which bodes well for reliability, but not necessarily resale value. To top things off, the Prizm has earned very high marks in past initial-quality studies, scoring better than the Infiniti G20 and Honda Accord.

An excellent reliability record coupled with outstanding assembly quality goes a long way toward selling consumers on the Prizm. The car feels substantial, conveying the impression that it will last quite a long time. In contrast, the Cavalier feels somewhat cheap, flimsy and unrefined, while the solid Malibu doesn't appeal to buyers looking for a smaller package.

Base-model Prizms get air conditioning, a four-speaker stereo, floor mats and wheel covers, while upgraded LSi models get standard power windows, a rear defogger, tachometer, outside temperature gauge, tilt steering column and larger tires.

A 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine is standard on all Prizms, which benefits from variable valve timing technology (VVTi) developed by Toyota. The VVTi system helps boost engine output to 125 horsepower and improves overall drivability. The low-effort clutch is a bonus in traffic, and the five-speed manual snicks fluidly from gear to gear. Front and rear stabilizer bars are standard to improve handling response from the four-wheel independent suspension. Antilock brakes and side airbags are optional on this economy sedan.

Interior accommodations are rather sparse in base Prizms, but LSi models come with upgraded fittings and trim. Either model offers decent ergonomics; all the switches and controls fall readily to hand, and the gauges are clear and legible. The seats are rock-hard and lack lumbar and lateral support, but they do feature Scotchguard stain protection to keep them clean.

The Prizm is strictly econo-issue in base trim, but add aluminum wheels and a premium equipment package to an LSi, and the Prizm transforms itself into a mini-Camry. Also available are a CD player and extended-range speakers that sound great, making a fully loaded Prizm a fine package. However, a Prizm LSi with every available option closes quickly on $20,000. For that kind of cash, you can buy any number of larger and more substantial sedans. Keep a lid on the options, though, and the Prizm is an economy sedan anybody could live with.

2002 Highlights

The Prizm remains unchanged for 2002.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2002 Chevrolet Prizm.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Charles Miska,10/29/2015
4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5M)
We bought our Prism as a first car for our 16 year old son. He wanted a manual transmission and learned to drive a stick after we bought the Prism. Our car had 70,000 miles on it when we bought it and I got a terrific price for it. This little car has been sensational! Shifts crisply through all the gears, has exceptional zip for the little engine, brakes well and while it's a base model, all the controls and amenities work perfectly. We have not experienced the oil usage issue many other reviewers have, which is interesting, given that we live on a steep mountainside and the car is a manual transmission driven by a teenager. You'd think our unit would be susceptible to the oil problem, but no, it runs better than either of the cars we bought for our other kids.
'02 Prizm
I have not had a very good experience with this car. I bought it as a certified used vehicle with a little over 36,000 miles. The transmission went out a couple months after I bought it. Several minor interior things have come apart. The filler pipe on the gas tank came unwelded and fell partially into the tube, so I was not able to fuel the car until that was removed. This week the running lights and auto- on headlights quit working, but could still be turned on manually,a few days later, they stayed on, requiring disconnecting the battery to turn off. The switch failed and it's located under the pas. air bag requiring the entire dash to be removed. I would not buy another or reccomend!
Good Car Until it Burns Oil Like Crazy
Let me start by saying this car has been reliable for most of its life. I bought it at 77,000 miles, and its still running at 191,000+. It is by no means a flashy vehicle, but when the engine ran at peak efficiency, it got close to 40 MPG and ran smoothly. But, at about the 130,000 mark, it started burning oil (1 quart every 1,000 miles or so). 60,000 miles later, it burns through about 1 quart every 50 miles. Further research via Google has shown that this is a common problem for the 2002 Prizms, and is related to narrow cylinders and bad seals. Keep this in mind if buying a Prizm from this final year of production. You'll be investing in lots of oil when it reaches a high mileage point.
Oil Eating Monster
Believe that comment about using a qt. of oil every 100 miles, it's true @ 120+ K mi. And with that, the mpg is only 20 mpg avg. May be OK for low mileage but Prizm engine is not long lasting .I put new seals and rings in, still burns oil and bad mpg. Can't see smoke unless you hold throttle 3/4 down for 6-10 seconds. ( This is a must before buying ! ) Do not buy with over 100 K. It may look like a Corolla, but engine doesn't last like one. I got robbed. Wouldn't recommend Prizm.

Features & Specs

27 city / 37 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
125 hp @ 5800 rpm
27 city / 37 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
125 hp @ 5800 rpm
See all Used 2002 Chevrolet Prizm features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger3 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2002 Chevrolet Prizm

Used 2002 Chevrolet Prizm Overview

The Used 2002 Chevrolet Prizm is offered in the following submodels: Prizm Sedan. Available styles include 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5M), and LSi 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5M).

What's a good price on a Used 2002 Chevrolet Prizm?

Price comparisons for Used 2002 Chevrolet Prizm trim styles:

  • The Used 2002 Chevrolet Prizm LSi is priced between $2,500 and$2,500 with odometer readings between 109840 and109840 miles.

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Which used 2002 Chevrolet Prizms are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2002 Chevrolet Prizm for sale near. There are currently 1 used and CPO 2002 Prizms listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $2,500 and mileage as low as 109840 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2002 Chevrolet Prizm.

Can't find a used 2002 Chevrolet Prizms you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Chevrolet Prizm for sale - 11 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $17,823.

Find a used Chevrolet for sale - 4 great deals out of 5 listings starting at $20,599.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet Prizm for sale - 5 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $17,639.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet for sale - 3 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $9,075.

Should I lease or buy a 2002 Chevrolet Prizm?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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