CC Outtake: 1988 Toyota Corolla 5-Door Liftback – The Interesting Corolla?

A late-evening stroll through Salzburg, Austria was not exactly where I expected seeing an interesting Toyota Corolla (if that’s such a thing), but indeed the hills were alive with the sights of lesser-seen Corollas that night.

It’s not that I haven’t seen a few examples of this E90 generation Corolla 5-door liftback before over the years, but those technically weren’t Toyota Corollas. You see, while there were no less than seven different bodystyles for the E90 generation, most offering multiple minor variations and nameplates in the Japanese market, Toyota never sold the 5-door liftback Corolla in the United States.

Yet interestingly enough, that body was rebadged and slightly restyled for the U.S. market and sold as the Geo Prizm, a product of NUMMI, a joint venture between General Motors and Toyota, succeeding the fifth generation Chevrolet Nova which was the first product of this partnership.

Available with a few upgrades not made available to U.S.-spec Corollas with more than 2-doors, such as alloy wheels, body-colored bumpers, and the 130 horsepower 4A-GE engine, the Prizm 5-door liftback and its Toyota relatives were distinguished primarily by very futuristic-looking wraparound rear window with thick glass C-pillars.

I’ll be honest when I say that I had completely forgotten this car until coming across this example, a Corolla that I’d dare call interesting.

Photographed: Makartplatz, Salzburg, Austria – November 2018