Used 1997 Geo Metro Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1997

Geo drops the base sedan variant of the Metro for 1997. A new convenience package is available on LSi models, and the LSi hatchback comes with the larger 1.3-liter engine standard. Two new colors debut.

Vehicle overview

General Motors calls the Metro "the small car with big ideas." Big dreams, more likely. What we have here is transportation in its most basic form. The Metro hatchback and sedan are bargains on the new car market from a financial perspective, but they don't offer much value in comparison to other vehicles in this price range.

What else is even in this price range? The Hyundai Accent is, and it offers consumers more for the money. True, Hyundai's reliabilty record is unimpressive, but early indicators point to improved build quality in the Accent. In contrast, the Metro comes across as an underdeveloped tin can. Even Ford's underwhelming Aspire seems to be a better, though uglier, buy. We'd also investigate the Kia Sephia, which feels more substantial than the Geo and is based on proven Mazda componentry.

Metro sports dual airbags, and in the way of standard equipment, the base hatchback comes with very little. LSi models add little more than a few convenience items. A wimpy 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine powers the base hatchback; LSi's get a 70-horsepower four cylinder under the hood. While more sprightly than a comparably equipped Ford Aspire, the Metro LSi is still no drag racer. The base hatchback is even more sluggish.

For 1997, the Metro is spruced up with two new exterior colors and a new LSi convenience package that includes dual exterior mirrors, a passenger seatback pocket, a remote hatch/trunk release, a security cover for hatchbacks, and a split-folding rear seat for sedans. This helps the value equation somewhat, but not enough to sway our opinion. LSi coupes benefit from a larger engine this year as well, getting a 1.3-liter engine standard

A fully loaded LSi sedan can top $13,000. That's Geo Prizm and Chevy Cavalier territory, folks, and they are both in a different, and much better, league than the Metro. Our advice in this segment? Try an Accent or a Sephia. If a Korean-assembled car doesn't sit well with you, get a nice used car. Chances are you'll be happier with it.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.