Produced in three generations from 1987 to 1996, the Chevrolet Corsica was a result of Chevy’s attempts to get in with the European sport sedan trend at that time. To achieve a European sporty look, the Corsica was built using an L-body platform that was also used on the Beretta. Throughout its production years, the Corsica proved to be a true-blue Chevy that offered a perfect mix of style, flair, and performance at an affordable price.
1987-1990: Introducing the Chevy Corsica
To give it a sporty look, the Corsica used an L-body platform and a J-body Cavalier-based chassis and suspension parts. It was sold in several trims: base, LT, and LTZ. The base was built with silver door handles, while the LT and LTZ models featured black handles. The only body type available during its first two years of production was a four-door sedan. Along with the Chevy Beretta, the Corsica was produced at the New Jersey-based Linden Assembly and Delaware-based Wilmington Assembly.
In 1989, a hatchback version was introduced, as well as an LTZ performance package that featured Beretta-based suspension components. A limited XT trim was also introduced, which included LTZ performance components, a special body kit, a spoiler package, and leather upholstery. In 1990, minor upgrades included restyled driver controls. The first-gen was a huge success since 1988 Corsica units were considered best-sellers alongside their Beretta counterparts.
1991-1994: The LT trim takes over
Several trim levels were dropped during several second-gen production years. In 1992, the LT was the only available trim type. In 1994, the LT trim became the base model. The hatchback model was also dropped as the Corsica received major upgrades for its interior in 1991. In the following years until 1994, several changes were done including a shift interlock for automatic transmission units and upgraded engines to increase horsepower. In 1994, the manual shift option was removed in all US models because of poor consumer demand.
1995-1996: Daytime running lights as standard features
The third-gen version was the first-ever American car to be built with standard daytime running lights. This innovative upgrade further catapulted the Corsica into the spotlight. The model was also equipped with a grille, moldings, and mirrors that matched the body color. To improve ride quality, the rear suspension was also modified. New tire sizes were also added, and the Corsica was now designed to work with the Dex-Cool coolant. In 1996, the Chevrolet Corsica was now equipped with OBD-II functionalities.
In 1996, GM decided to discontinue the Corsica because several reasons. These included new safety standards that would require a complete overhaul and unavoidable competition with another GM vehicle, the Chevrolet Cavalier. Despite its discontinuation, however, the Corsica continues to provide second-hand buyers with an affordable, stylish, and sporty looking sedan.