What's New for 1997
Minor changes accompany Oldsmobile's euro-flavored sedan into 1997. The center console and shifter are new, and other interior upgrades have been made. New, more prominent badging has been added to the exterior. Finally, the final-drive ratio has been changed to 2.93-to-1 from 2.97-to-1.
Since 1992, the Oldsmobile LSS has been one of our favorites. It features Euro-chic styling, a stout suspension, loads of equipment, and enough room to take the family to Disney World or on your own little version of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride along mountain two-lanes. The only shortcoming the LSS suffers is somewhat nose-heavy handling.
For 1997, Oldsmobile leaves well enough alone. Interior upgrades are the big story this year, as Oldsmobile revises the center console and shifter, and adds passenger assist handles, reading lamps, an overhead storage bin, and improved seat belt buckles. Side-impact protection is improved to meet federal safety standards, and the final drive ratio goes from 2.97:1 to 2.93:1. Like other 1997 Oldsmobiles, the LSS gets new exterior and interior badging, with those on the outside growing in size for easier identification.
The interior of the LSS is an ergonomic delight and aesthetic triumph. Add ample room for four (five if need be), dual airbags, anti-lock brakes and traction control, and the LSS provides everything closet enthusiasts will require for safe, speedy driving. Our single interior complaint is with the front quarter windows, which can distract the eye while driving.
Externally, the LSS certainly provides the requisite subdued sheetmetal that all stealth sedans must possess to avoid detection by law enforcement authorities. So subdued is the styling that the car projects little in the way of personality, unlike its more expensive and expressive stablemate, the Aurora.
Standard equipment includes leather seats, antilock brakes, daytime running lights, traction control, and a Twilight Sentinel automatic headlamp control system. Cloth seats, a CD player, a power sunroof, and an outstanding supercharged V6 are the only options on the LSS.
Compare the LSS to the Aurora. It's not as good looking, but it weighs a whopping 600 pounds less, has more interior room, gets better gas mileage, goes and handles faster, and is a year's tuition cheaper. Why buy the Aurora?