Used 1996 Buick Roadmaster Review
Named after land yachts of yore, the Roadmaster bowed in 1991, based on the all-new Chevy Caprice chassis. Huge inside and out, and available in sedan and station wagon body styles, the Roadmaster has been a hit with traditional Buick buyers.
In 1993, the Roadmaster was infused with power when GM installed the LT1 Corvette's 5.7L V8 under the hood. So equipped, this big Buick spun the rear tires at half throttle and pulled down 60 mph quick enough to peel back the drivers' eyelids. Getting the thing around a corner or stopping it from freeway velocities was another matter altogether.
General Motors has decided to kill the Roadmaster, and its siblings the Caprice and Cadillac Fleetwood, so that the company can produce more profitable trucks in the Arlington, Texas assembly plant. Therefore, changes to the 1996 model are few. All Roadmasters will be labeled as Collector's Editions for 1996. A new console/cupholder design makes its way to the interior, electronic touch climate controls, and premium speakers are now standard. Long-life engine coolant lasts five years or 100,000 miles. Oh, there is one other change; the Smokey Amethyst vinyl top has been axed. Darn.
Considering the fact that this is a premium Buick carrying a $25,000 price tag, the interior is a woeful collection of cheap plastic, fake wood, and horrible ergonomics. Exposed screw heads litter the passenger compartment, plastic surfaces have the texture of Tupperware, and it's a reach to adjust anything on the wood-paneled slab of vinyl and plastic in front of the driver, also known as a dashboard. Sliding in and out of a Roadmaster isn't easy, especially with the oddly-placed power lumbar and seat control box affixed to the left side of the mushy seat. These controls are housed in a hard plastic box, and getting out over this box is an uncomfortable chore.
Those who find the Roadmaster irresistible, take note; 1996 will be the final year for the Roadmaster, so get one while you can.
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.