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#4759065 - 05/16/18 06:26 PM 2002 Civic vs 1995 Geo Prizm
Rat407 Offline

Registered: 12/13/02
Posts: 1551
Loc: North Carolina
OK, looking at helping out a friends mom. She really needs a vehicle but can't afford much at all. I found a 1995 Geo Prizm, A/T with 177k on it. Everything works, no lights and the only issue is the headliner is ripped all to pieces. I checked the transmission fluid and it was to my surprise still red. Not dark at all. My only concern is the owner doesn't have a clue as to when the timing belt has ever been changed. So I'm thinking it is the original one. How hard is it to change out along with the water pump and tensioner? Tires were in good shape AC was working fine. I can get this vehicle for $900.

Vehicle 2 is a 2002 Honda Civic XLE, A/T with 287k miles on 1.7L. It had over heated and so they pulled the head and had it shaved and checked and they put it back on with all new water pump, tensioner pulley, belt, new radiator, cap, battery and thermostat. It drove fine as well. The transmission fluid on it was pretty dark brown. Couldn't see any other issues. Tires on it were good as well. They want $1,500 firm. No moving on the price.

So the question is which to I take a chance on? I mean if I got the Geo I would do the timing belt for sure and water pump. Would not take a chance. So the cost of that would still bring it below the Civic I would think. Especially if I tackle it myself. From what I saw on Youtube it isn't to hard.

Suggestions? The Geo is basically a Toyota engine and tranny correct?
2002 Silverado 5.3 0w-20 AMSOIL

#4759084 - 05/16/18 06:39 PM Re: 2002 Civic vs 1995 Geo Prizm [Re: Rat407]
SirTanon Offline

Registered: 06/23/14
Posts: 2346
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona - USA
If it were me, and I was buying the car as a daily driver for myself or a family member, I'd go with the Civic, at least based on what you've provided.
2010 Ford Fusion SE - 2.5 liter/6F35 Trans - 260,000mi
2014 Nissan Altima SL - 2.5 liter/CVT - 55,000mi

#4759089 - 05/16/18 06:43 PM Re: 2002 Civic vs 1995 Geo Prizm [Re: Rat407]
skyactiv Offline

Registered: 03/02/13
Posts: 4632
Loc: The Midwest
There is no such thing as a Civic XLE. I would not wanna make the choice for her. I've seen people do that,
something breaks, the person you helped makes you feel guilty and is upset at you.
Wife: 15' Audi A4 quattro 6 speed manual
Me: 13' VW GTI 3 door 6 speed manual

#4759092 - 05/16/18 06:44 PM Re: 2002 Civic vs 1995 Geo Prizm [Re: Rat407]
JeffKeryk Offline

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 371
Loc: Los Gatos, CA
The Geo was made in the Fremont, CA plant (now Tesla). Prizm and Corolla were assembled on the same line. They have different badges.
One rolled of the line every 5 minutes or so.

Which one is better?
Check 'em bot out as best you can.
Take 'em for a good test drive; around town, freeway and find a steep hill.

Good luck.

#4759094 - 05/16/18 06:46 PM Re: 2002 Civic vs 1995 Geo Prizm [Re: Rat407]
zorobabel Offline

Registered: 01/27/11
Posts: 523
Loc: Anaheim, CA
Maybe factor in the price of a slushbox replacement for the Civic?
1997 Maxima 181k, Edge 10w30, K&N HP-1003
2004 Corolla 191k, VWB 5w20 + SSS 10w40, MGL4967

#4759095 - 05/16/18 06:47 PM Re: 2002 Civic vs 1995 Geo Prizm [Re: Rat407]
SatinSilver Offline

Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 10485
Loc: OH
That year Civic doesn't have a good reputation with the transmission. Plus it doesn't have newer fluid in it either. Pass.

It takes a fair amount of money to drive and maintain a car. Not for the faint of heart. She should have at least another grand set aside for repairs and maintenance. Probably better off taking a few steps back from the situation. It would be different if there was a healthy budget for a new car.

#4759100 - 05/16/18 06:50 PM Re: 2002 Civic vs 1995 Geo Prizm [Re: Rat407]
Mr Nice Offline

Registered: 09/12/04
Posts: 21517
Loc: Orlando, FL

I agree the 2002 Civic is problematic.

#4759103 - 05/16/18 06:57 PM Re: 2002 Civic vs 1995 Geo Prizm [Re: Rat407]
clinebarger Offline

Registered: 12/19/13
Posts: 2081
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
I wouldn't buy a car knowing it's been overheated. Timing belts are easy to do on a '95 Prizm/Corolla.
2001 Chevy Camaro L92/4L80E
2006 Chevy 2500HD LBZ/Allison 1000
2010 Toyota Corolla 2ZR-FE/Auto

#4759112 - 05/16/18 07:05 PM Re: 2002 Civic vs 1995 Geo Prizm [Re: Rat407]
eljefino Offline

Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 32886
Loc: ME
+2 on the geo. Bonus is it's emissions exempt so inspections will be easier.

#4759118 - 05/16/18 07:09 PM Re: 2002 Civic vs 1995 Geo Prizm [Re: Rat407]
dishdude Online   content

Registered: 11/14/08
Posts: 8944
Loc: Phoenix
Geo all day long.
2018 Challenger SRT

#4759123 - 05/16/18 07:16 PM Re: 2002 Civic vs 1995 Geo Prizm [Re: Rat407]
Popsy Offline

Registered: 05/10/15
Posts: 904
Loc: Frogland / Brittany
Geo. Don't buy something that has overheated.
96 Barchetta, Motul 300V 5W40 | 98 Barchetta, Quartz 9000 energy 5W40
05 Forfour 95, SHU 0W40 (gf's car) | 10 Colt Ralliart, 300V 0W40

#4759130 - 05/16/18 07:25 PM Re: 2002 Civic vs 1995 Geo Prizm [Re: Rat407]
fdcg27 Offline

Registered: 09/25/09
Posts: 15911
Loc: OH
Let's see.
110K fewer miles with no indication of serious engine damage for six hundred fewer dollars on a car of legendary durability?
I know which one I'd pick for somebody who needs cheap wheels.
17 Forester 12K MSS 0W-20
12 Accord LX 92K PP 5W-20
09 Forester 95K M1HM 10W-30
01 Focus ZX3 118K PP 5W-20
96 Accord LX 104K T5 10W-30
95 318i

#4759139 - 05/16/18 07:37 PM Re: 2002 Civic vs 1995 Geo Prizm [Re: Rat407]
mk378 Offline

Registered: 09/27/15
Posts: 1489
Loc: USA
Do not buy an automatic Civic.

In any economy car, manual is much preferable. Unless you have stop and go traffic every day.

#4759154 - 05/16/18 07:43 PM Re: 2002 Civic vs 1995 Geo Prizm [Re: Rat407]
slacktide_bitog Offline

Registered: 03/20/08
Posts: 6566
Loc: USA
I'd get the Prizm/Corolla

Although you should get the timing belt done as soon as you can, I believe it is a non-interference engine, so even if it snaps, you just need a timing belt. This applies to both the 4A-FE and 7A-FE

#4759159 - 05/16/18 07:46 PM Re: 2002 Civic vs 1995 Geo Prizm [Re: Rat407]
Tdbo Offline

Registered: 08/18/09
Posts: 3253
Loc: Ohio
GEO without question.
Take the money saved to do the TB and go over it to make it sound.
2012 Honda Accord LX-P 93K
2008 Ford Mustang Pony Package Convertible 17K
2006 Honda Odyssey EX-L 76K
2003 Ford Ranger 3.0 Supercab 109K

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