Used 1996 Buick Riviera Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1996

Series II supercharged engine gives top-of-the-line Riv 240 horsepower. There are new colors inside and out, real wood on the dash and revised climate and radio controls. Chrome wheels are optional.

Vehicle overview

After decades of mediocre personal luxury coupes from Buick, 1995 brought a stunning Riviera that returned the car to its performance roots, when equipped with the optional supercharged V6. Photos do not convey the elegance and beauty of this design. It looks best in dark shades, and from just about every angle, the new Riviera's sheetmetal is intriguing. The stark interior is thankfully devoid of digital wizardry, sporting simple round gauges and a slightly retro look. Real wood inserts on the instrument panel and console soften the interior mood for 1996.

Motivating the base front-wheel drive Riviera is GM's tried-and-true Series II 3.8-liter V6, which puts 205 horsepower to the ground through the front axle. A supercharged version of that motor, which comes standard with bigger wheels and tires, stretches the Riviera's performance envelope a bit, getting the big Riv to 60 mph in about eight seconds. Antilock brakes and dual airbags are standard, and traction control is one of the few options available.

For 1996, Buick ups the ante with its personal luxury coupe by offering a new Personal Choice feature on the remote keyless entry fob. Two drivers may personalize a variety of convenience items to their own tastes, including the door lock system, perimeter lighting, driver's seat and mirror settings. Battery rundown protection is new on Riviera this year, as are long life coolant and spark plugs, which make the Riviera even easier to own. Other changes include revised climate and radio controls, and optional chrome wheels.

Prices start right around $30,000 for the supercharged Riviera. While this big Buick won't woo buyers who favor smaller, more sporting cars like the BMW 3-Series, the Riviera is a fine American luxury coupe with more than a hint of Euro flavor.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.