1996 Geo Prizm Review
Pros & Cons - Not Available
Edmunds' Expert Review
In short, the Prizm is the best compact car money can buy. It does everything well, and looks good too. Better yet, it is essentially a reskinned Toyota Corolla, which bodes well for reliability and resale value. To top things off, the Prizm has earned very high marks in initial quality studies, scoring better than the Infiniti G20 and Honda Accord.
Order the optional 1.8-liter twin-cam four-cylinder engine, mate it to a five speed, and you've got yourself a competent little sport sedan. The torquey 1.8-liter motor pulls strongly around town, and cruises effortlessly at highway speeds. Interior accommodations are rather sparse in base Prizms, but LSi's come with uplevel fittings and trim. Either trim level offers excellent ergonomics; all the switches and controls fall readily to hand, and the gauges are clear and legible. The seats are firm but comfortable. The clutch is a joy to work, and the five-speed manual snicks from gear to gear fluidly.
All 1996 Prizms are equipped with daytime running lights, and three new exterior colors join the roster. Base models get a cargo area light and a remote trunk release. Newly optional on LSi models is an integrated child safety seat and a convenience package that includes power windows, locks and cruise control.
Add aluminum wheels and leather seats to an LSi, and the Prizm transforms itself into a mini-Lexus. Also available is a CD player and extended range speakers that sound great. Truly, a fully loaded Prizm is a fine car.
However, a Prizm LSi with every available option happens to top $19,000. For that kind of cash you can buy a Chrysler Cirrus LXi, a Ford Contour SE, or a three-year-old BMW 3-Series. Keep a lid on the options, and the Prizm makes much more sense.