Sporty/performance car; Built in Japan
  • 2-door hatchback
  • 2-door hatchback
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,000 – $1,600*


1990 Geo Storm GSi


1991 Geo Storm w/wagonback


1991 Geo Storm


1992 Geo Storm


1993 Geo Storm GSi

Pros:
  • Acceleration (GSi)
  • Fuel economy
  • Handling
Cons:
  • Acceleration (base)
  • Cargo room
  • Rear-seat room
  • Visibility

Cute, thrifty, and brisk, delivering on their promise of joyful road manners, Storms have ranked high on our list of fun-to-drive coupes.

Overview

Measuring between the Honda CRX and the Chrysler/Mitsubishi Laser/Talon/Eclipse trio in dimensions, the front-drive 2+2 coupe came in base or GSi trim. Wheelbase was 96.5 inches, and the Storm initially measured 163.4 inches long overall. Isuzu sold its own version of the coupe under the Impulse badge.The base Storm used a 95-horsepower, overhead-cam 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine. The sportier GSi got a dual-overhead cam, 16-valve version, developing 130 horsepower. A 5-speed manual transmission was standard. Three-speed automatic was optional on the base model, or 4-speed automatic on the GSi. All Storms have a driver-side airbag.

Yearly Updates

1991 Storm
A hatchback joined the original fastback for 1991. A squared-off rear roof section created markedly more headroom than the regular 2+2 coupe (though leg space was unchanged). Rear windows swung out, or could be removed altogether.
1992 Storm
Front and rear restyling for ’92 brought mini-quad headlamps and revised taillamps, plus a new wing-type rear spoiler for the GSi. A larger dual-cam engine went into the GSi, too: 1.8 liters instead of 1.6, with 10 extra horsepower.
1993 Storm
Only the 2+2 fastback coupe remained for 1993, which turned out to be the Storm’s final season. Geo’s base engine dropped from 95 to 90 horsepower.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

For its first two seasons, the Storm had a choice of two 1.6-liter engines: a single-cam version in the base model, rated 95 horsepower; or a dual-cam rendition that made 130 horsepower, for the GSi. Three transmissions were available. A 5-speed manual gearbox was standard; 3-speed automatic optional on the base model, but 4 speed automatic on the GSi. For 1992, the GSi traded its 1.6-liter engine for a 1.8-liter, with 10 more horsepower and 18 more pound-feet of torque. The base engine lost five horsepower in 1993.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 16./97
Engine HP 130
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 102
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
25/33
23/31
29.9

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.8/110
Engine HP 140
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 120
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
23/31
22/30
28.1
24.7
ohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.6/97
Engine HP 90-95
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 97
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
3-speed automatic
29/35
25/31
30.2

Road Test

Both engines, though eager, are noisy. Performance is at least adequate with the base engine. Loud and harsh, though, it tends to sound faster than the car is actually traveling. The GSi, with its 130- or 140-horsepower, twin-cam engine, packs a punch that makes a little raucousness tolerable. Snappiest action comes at high engine speeds, and highway cruising can get buzzy.

Storms are nimble in corners, helped by sharp steering. Both models handle with agility and are surefooted around the turns. The GSi, in particular, has a friendly nature that seems to encourage bold driving. Rough roads turn the base Storm’s ride from firm to harsh, but its suspension still absorbs bumps better than most cars in this class. The GSi’s more aggressive tires give up additional ride comfort, but deliver greater grip in turns.

Supportive front bucket seats mount close to the floor and do not adjust for height. Even so, you get ample head room and a fairly comfortable driving position. On the downside, the combination of low-slung seats, a steep wraparound dashboard, and a relatively high beltline, make the cabin a little claustrophobic, with poor outward visibility. Getting in and out can be a challenge, too. Forget about the back seat in a 2+2. Rear-seat occupants of a hatchback at least have some head room, even if leg space is no better. Analog instruments are clear and unobstructed. Though mostly simple and concise, controls feel plasticky. Though the trunk is only adequate, plenty of storage bins are included.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1992 Geo Storm GSi auto

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 4
40%
Fuel Economy - 7
70%
Ride Quality - 3
30%
Steering/Handling - 6
60%
Quietness - 2
20%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Front - 3
30%
Room/Comfort Rear - 2
20%
Cargo Room - 3
30%

Other

Value - 3
30%

Total: 37

Specifications

2-door hatchback
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
96.5 164.0 66.7 51.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
11.7 12.4 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.5 36.2 43.8 30.4
2-door hatchback
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
96.5 164.0 66.7 51.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
11.0 12.4 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.5 30.4 43.8 30.4
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1992 Storm 2-door hatchback

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Front Passenger Injury - 3
60%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 158
Injury 151
Theft 97

Trouble Spots

Engine misfire
Description: Throttle body is prone to carbon buildup causing idle problems and hard accelerator pedal effort. (1990-92)
Hard starting
Description: Hard starting in cold weather due to ice forming in some of the engine’s vacuum lines. (1993)
Keys
Description: The soft metal from which the original keys were made is prone to breaking off in the lock. (1990)
Headlights
Description: Due to a faulty headlight switch, the headlights come on by themselves and kill the battery. (1990-91)

Recall History

1990-91
Description: Front seatbelt release button can break and pieces can fall inside.
1990-92
Description: Steering wheel hub in cars with airbag can fracture during certain frontal and near-frontal collisions, decreasing control and reducing protection.
1991
Description: When using front seatback release levers to tip front seatback forward to enter/exit rear seat, it is possible to insert a finger into the hinge mechanism.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.