Though it has the look and feel of an expensive sports car, the Geo Storm is actually a budget ride that is easy on the pocket. This sports compact was created by Isuzu in Japan and sold in the United States by General Motors from 1990 to 1993. It’s part of Geo’s line of inexpensive cars, and it was meant to replace the Spectrum—a similar model that was sold as a hatchback and a sedan. The Geo Storm was also sold in Canada for two years, but it had minor differences with the American version in terms of appearance. Here’s a glimpse into the Geo Storm, its specs, and the model’s changes and transformations through the years.
The Storm was basically a rebadged version of Isuzu’s second generation Impulse model. But, since the Storm was created to be part of its brand’s pocket-friendly line, some of the Impulse’s features were taken out from the model before it was offered in the market. For instance, the Lotus-tuned suspension, turbocharger, and all-wheel drive drivetrain of the Impulse were not present in the Storm.
The Geo Storm was created based on General Motor’s R platform. It was made available in three body styles—a 3-door hatchback, 2-door station wagon, and 2-door coupe. Among all the three styles, the 3-door hatchback was the most common and it was the first one released in the market. And from 1990 to 1991, this body style was sold in two trim packages and it was marketed not as a hatchback but as a coupe. On the other hand, in 1991 to 1992, the 2-door station wagon body style was sold and marketed as a hatchback.
In 1992, all Storm styles and trims were given a makeover, causing them to lose the pop-up headlights and giving them a smooth-looking front fascia. And on the last year of the Storm, it was given minor interior upgrades, which focused on it trim and upholstery.
Upon initial release, the base model was powered by a 1.6 L SOHC 4XE1 I4 engine, which could churn out up to 95 hp. On the other hand, the GSi trim was furnished with a 1.6 L DOHC 4XE1 I4 engine that could produce up to 130 hp. And since the GSi trim was more powerful, it was also equipped with a spoiler, a rear anti-sway bar, and a better transmission system.
How it fared
Even if the Geo Storm was a cheaper version of the Isuzu Impulse, the former did better in the market compared to the latter. In fact, the Storm also did a lot better as compared to the other small cars that General Motors offered in its product line during that time. The slow sales of the Impulse, however, gravely affected the Storm and when the Impulse was canceled in 1993, the Storm was also dropped from the market as well.