In 1984, General Motors and Toyota entered into a partnership agreement resulting in the joint operations of a Fremont, California assembly plant. An arrangement known as NUMMI, Toyota began producing the Corolla in the United States while General Motors were able to rebrand their own version of the compact car. In 1990, the General Motors equivalent to the Corolla became the Geo Prizm. When the Geo brand was discontinued after 1997, the Prizm sedan joined the Chevrolet line-up the following year. The Chevrolet Prizm was mechanically similar to the Toyota Corolla with only minor styling differences. Constructed on a solid and reliable platform, the 1998 Chevrolet Prizm employed power from a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine featuring all-aluminum construction. Generating 120 horsepower, the 1998 Prism was available with a standard five-speed manual transmission or an optional three-speed and four-speed automatic gearbox. Fuel economy of the compact Chevrolet sedan was estimated at 31 miles per gallon city and 37 miles per gallon highway.
Offered in base and LSi trim, the 1998 Prizm sedan included standard basics such as front airbags, 14-inch wheels, power steering and remote trunk release. Optional equipment available on the 1998 Chevrolet Prizm included an integrated child seat and side airbags. In 1999, the previously optional Handling Package on the Prizm LSi became standard. The following year, the engine of the Chevrolet Prizm was enhanced with the added refinement of variable valve timing. Total engine output grew from 120 to 125 horsepower in 2000 with the powertrain enhancement. While a solid, fuel-efficient sedan, the 2002 model year was the last year Chevrolet offered the Prizm.