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Old 11-30-2007, 04:54 PM   #1
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Geo Prism or Toyota Corolla

the search for a civic in my price range has come up dry. saw a couple at a major dealer that are now GONE!

found two cars of interest. first a 1997 prism(SGII compatible ) w/144k miles for $2K, but not a major dealer(not certified). the question of taking my trade is a concern.

next a 1994 corolla(not SG compatible ) w/116k miles for $4k @ a major dealer(certified). prolly take my trade but not give much.

these are twins correct? throw your thoughts to me please. keep in mind i am a novice mechanic only. would rather pay a little extra for certification than get a fixer-upper. thanks!

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Old 11-30-2007, 05:12 PM   #2
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Yep, they're twins alright.

My family have owned 3 corollas/prisms between them at various times. Heck my dad still has the one he bought new back in '92. But it has a new(er) motor in it now out of a Corolla.

They're good little cars, pretty solid, easy to work on. Aero isn't even too terrible.

Oh, and 2 of 3 of the corrola/prisms have/had over 250k on them and still running strong. The one with the replaced motor got a hole in a piston somewhere over 200K, but it's gotta be well on it's way to 300k with the new motor in it.

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Old 11-30-2007, 05:51 PM   #3
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bowtieguy -

Yes, they're the same car. A prism is like getting a Toyota Corolla at a domestic-discount price. Do you have a mechanic you trust that can give the Prism the whats-over? Does Matt have the CARFAX thing still going?

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Old 11-30-2007, 05:56 PM   #4
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Are the body panels as easy to find for a Geo or Prism after a crash? Wouldn't the Corolla body panels be easier to find in a JY?
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Old 11-30-2007, 06:16 PM   #5
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I have a 1999 Prizm and it has been a great little car. 145,000 miles and still going strong. We bought it with 25,000 miles on it and in the time we have had it I had to replace the starter motor solenoid ($20.00) and the idler pulley ($250.00 by the Toyota dealer). Not too bad if you ask me. They just keep going and going and going. Gas mileage is in the upper 30's.


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Old 11-30-2007, 06:31 PM   #6
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Mjo, what they are saying is that it is the exact same car, just with a different badge. So relatively speaking. If a part on your prism went bad, you can go get it off of a corrolla of that same year and even generation.

Bowtie, if you set them side by side, they two cars you are asking about are from two different generations. Besure to get them checked out.

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Old 11-30-2007, 07:00 PM   #7
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Go for the Geo. The builds of the two are identical, but in my experiences I have found the Geo's suspension to be more taught and not so much like touring suspensions; which drove much better. I had a Geo that went well into the 300k but then I had a lapse in brain capacity and allowed it to consume oil and it threw a rod right threw the engine block and one inch into the ground. It was a 1991 model, but still ran.
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Old 11-30-2007, 11:28 PM   #8
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Other than that those are different generations, the difference is that the corolla got it's own body panels in the USDM. the prism got JDM panels badged as a geo/chevy. cosmetically they are NOT compatible (panels/lights), mechanically they ARE identical. My bro's GF and her friend have almost the same year prizm and corolla so I've seen them side by side. taillights are totally different, front end is largely different (less flexibility up front) but pop the hood and you can't tell the difference. I'd go for the newer one hands down given the options.

Unless it's warrantied bumper to bumper for over a year, the corolla is worth less than the prizm certified or not. all that means is that it's not currently leaking a fluid critically or a hazard to drive on a public street. I've seen the paperwork and seen them do certifications. they're nearly worthless. Find a friend who DOES know about cars or get a small mechanic to look the prizm over for you for $20 or something...worth more than dealership 'certification' any day
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Old 11-30-2007, 11:50 PM   #9
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thank you all, very helpful.

def leaning towards the prism 'cause it's newer and cheaper . but the low price has me concerned. as long as it's in good working order, w/ that price could put some $ into it if need be. still waiting on the dealer to contact me about specs on it.

also it's a bit of a drive. might go see the corolla just to look at interior space which is a concern w/ three kids. it is very near by.
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Old 12-01-2007, 12:50 AM   #10
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Seems as used cars the Hondas are generally priced maybe $1K above a similar Toyota? Both have about the same reliability. Hondas are more advanced technically...but harder to work on?

I'd run a VIN check on anything I'd buy though. Wouldn't want something that spent time underwater or was hit.

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