Used 1999 Buick Riviera

1999 Buick Riviera
List price range
1999 Buick Riviera

Pros

  • Exterior styling, powerful V6 engine, last of a breed.

Cons

  • Oversized body, sloppy steering, interior styling.
Buick Riviera years

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

After decades of mediocre personal luxury coupes from Buick, 1995 brought a stunning new Riviera that sought to recapture its performance roots with an optional supercharged V6 engine. Even more in keeping with its heritage, Buick gave the Riv a flowing, love-it-or-hate-it shape that stood apart from the crowd.

While admirers say that photos cannot convey the elegance and beauty of this design, detractors insist the Riviera looks oddly out of proportion, appearing almost as if it could go down the road either forward or backward without anyone being able to tell the difference. Most will agree that from just about every angle, the Riviera's sheetmetal is intriguing, if nothing else. Like supermodels, it looks most bewitching in dark shades. In any case, the fact that it has failed to capture the interest of the buying public is the sole reason for its untimely demise.

The dashboard is thankfully devoid of digital wizardry, sporting simple, round gauges and a slightly retro look. Real wood inserts on the instrument panel and center console soften the otherwise stark ambiance of the interior. Back for '99 is the availability of the On-Star communications system. A dealer-installed option, On-Star uses a hands-free cellular telephone and a Global Positioning Satellite to help you find your way around an unfamiliar city, get reservations at a swanky club, or notify emergency personnel about an accident.

Last year, Buick made the supercharged 3800 Series II V6 standard on all Rivieras. Despite its 240 horsepower, the hefty Riv needs nearly eight seconds to get to 60 mph. Unfortunately, that means many sports sedans could dust this huge coupe from a standing start. Antilock brakes and depowered dual airbags come standard, and traction control joins the list for '99. While Buick revised the Riviera's suspension and steering last year in an effort to reduce body roll, provide better road isolation and improve steering feel, those areas are still far from satisfying.

Despite its unique look, the Riv's ungainly size, wallowing demeanor and less-than-inspiring driving credentials kept it from seriously challenging the big coupes from Mercedes-Benz and Cadillac. Which is too bad, because today the 1999 Riviera is the quintessential big American luxury coupe, with more than a hint of Euro flavor. But as Lincoln-Mercury had learned from the death of the Mark VIII, it may be time for manufacturers to rethink the personal luxury coupe concept for this ever-changing, increasingly truck-hungry American market.

All is not lost, Riv fans: Maybe the low production run of '99s will make these last Riveras collectors' items.

1999 Highlights

Traction control is now standard on the Riviera and this year brings the choice of four new paint colors (Sterling Silver, Titanium Blue, Gold Firemist and Dark Bronze Mist). Buick decided to pull the plug on the big coupe so only approximately 2,000 Riveras were built for the 1999 model year, along with a limited run of 200 special-edition models dubbed "Silver Arrow.''

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1999 Buick Riviera.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

Patience ... It's a Future Collector's Car
Warren Kendrick,05/29/2016
This car has classic, superior styling reminiscent of Rivieras dating back to 1955. When I drive it, it still turns heads and people are amazed that it is 17 years old. I have decided to park it, with a car cover, and drive it perhaps 5 or 6 times a year, maybe take it on an occasional extended trip. Why all the fuss? Only about 1,900 1999 Rivieras were ever manufactured. It was the last model year. Time becomes an enemy and friend as more and more of these cars are in accidents, rust out in the northern states or whose dashboards literally melt in the Arizona sun and whose paint and clearcoat fade. As they age, there will be fewer and fewer for collectors. I was blown away at how much the 1950's models are going for. There are other plusses and minuses: +++ Styling. Its looks far surpass most current models. +++ 3.8L SuperCharged engine. This is an almost indestructible V6 as long as the owner has the oil changed and has other maintenance performed. The SC snout bearings wear out but repair kits are widely available. Expect to get 150,000 miles from the engine before you get it overhauled or rebuilt. +++ Surprisingly, this car does quite well in highway driving, about 26MPG. If you are chasing the fairer sex, it should get 10 to 12 "gals per mile" in city driving. +++ The rear bench seating is surprisingly roomy for a coupe, and it is as comfortable as a first class seat on a commercial jet. - - - 2 door coupes have been out of favor for years. That tends to hold down resale prices if you are currently just looking for transportation. It's a price you pay for head-turning styling. - - - Premium fuel is recommended, but I ran a 1995 SC Riviera on regular gas for years with no problems. - - - All GM cars have had trouble with the use of cheaper, thinner leather that starts to show wear about 80-90,000 miles and on some Buicks the leather cracks and you are looking at a $300 reupholstery job for each front bucket seat.
What a great car!
John,07/09/2005
Ever since I was old enough to appreciate fine automobiles I'd wanted a Corvette. I'd also grown over the years to admire the Riveria. 1999 rolled around. My wife and I found our sparkling diamond white dream car on the showroom floor and knew it had to be now or never if we were ever going to own a new one. Guess what? I don't want a Corvette anymore. Who needs it? This car is a keeper. I'll treasure it for the rest of my life.
'96 Riviera a joy to have
LDrunner,05/25/2004
Have had car 7 weeks. Put almost 5000 miles on it and now near 94k. Have not put a dime into car and it has no issues to deal with. Starts instantly, plenty of power, room, comfort ,features and safety. Just figured my gas mileage is 28.4 for last 4000 miles, of which less than half is on interstates. My new Silverado has been parked since I got it
Buick Rivera
|Doris ,04/26/2008
I had a 1998 Buick Rivera for 7 years, until last week when it was totaled in a car accident. Well |I just had to have another one. We looked for a week until my husband found me a 1999 like brand new. This car is great, I don't know why GM stopped making it.
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Features & Specs

MPG
16 city / 25 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
Gas
240 hp @ 5200 rpm
See all Used 1999 Buick Riviera features & specs

Safety

IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    0

More about the 1999 Buick Riviera
Used 1999 Buick Riviera Overview

The Used 1999 Buick Riviera is offered in the following submodels: Riviera Coupe. Available styles include Supercharged 2dr Coupe.

What's a good price on a Used 1999 Buick Riviera?

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Which used 1999 Buick Rivieras are available in my area?

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Can't find a used 1999 Buick Rivieras you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Buick Riviera for sale - 9 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $18,102.

Find a used Buick for sale - 1 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $16,122.

Find a used certified pre-owned Buick Riviera for sale - 11 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $8,751.

Find a used certified pre-owned Buick for sale - 1 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $25,078.

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Should I lease or buy a 1999 Buick Riviera?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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