1996 Buick Skylark Review


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Edmunds' Expert Review

Vehicle overview

Give Buick's styling department credit for trying something new. Too bad it didn't work very well. The Skylark's funky curves, creases, bulges and sharp edges inside and out combined to create quite a jarring spectacle. The result? The car was found more often at your local Avis lot than in private driveways.

This year, Buick tones the Skylark down. Front styling is far more conservative, and stylists have done what they could with the rear end. Side moldings are subdued, and now sweep front to rear less dramatically. Inside, the interior has been redone, and looks far more contemporary than last year's bizarre arrangement. Dual airbags are available for the first time, and seatbelts are now anchored to the door pillar rather than the door itself. Combined with a new standard engine, a 2.4-liter twin-cam good for 150 horsepower, and a revised antilock brake system, the Skylark has made a quantum leap in marketability.

Complementing the styling and safety improvements are four new exterior colors and two new interior hues. Air conditioning, tilt steering column, and a rear window defogger are now standard equipment. Wheelcovers and alloy wheels have been restyled. Traction control comes standard this year, and a new four-speed electronically-controlled automatic transmission replaces last year's standard three-speed. As if all this wasn't enough, a Passlock theft-deterrent system comes on every Skylark.

Until 1996, we found the Skylark to be an aberration, offering little value in the compact class. This year, we've got to change our tune. The Skylark is likely the most improved model for 1996, not counting the radically redesigned Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable. We're impressed with this effort from Buick, and think it deserves a look.

1996 Highlights

Styling changes inside and out this year. Dual airbags are new, as are three-point seatbelts mounted to the B-pillar. A new twin-cam engine replaces the 2.3-liter Quad 4, and automatic transmissions include traction control. Air conditioning, a rear window defroster and a tilt wheel are now standard. Long-life engine components round out the long list of improvements.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 1996 Buick Skylark.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Piece of junk
Custom 4dr Sedan
I bought this car in 2005 as a first car from a friend that was very reliable, i knew he would not rip me off. At first it was great and handled well and was fairly good for being a 1996. I must say i have had so many problems with this car. It doesnt start, i hate to turn it over twice everytime i get in it. It has had tons of faulty electical problems, to the point where my car wouldnt start for 3 months and i took it to 5 different mechanics!! Over all i have had nothing but problems with this car and put WAY to much money into it. It also only has 70,000 miles on it right now so it is not like it has alot of miles. there is not reason it shoudl be this bad other than it is old.
Takes a beating
Custom 4dr Sedan
I despised this vehicle when I first began to drive it because it is a "grandma" sedan. Over a year of driving it, i have learned to love it. I have had some pricy repairs but given the age, the mileage and some of the notorious parts that come with it standard, i had expected it. The parts I believe may be due to the dealership's, and the previous owners fault; they were in moderate condition when purchased but went far downhill over the course of five years. My vehicle has had basicly everything worked on except for the lower portion of the engine. The repair costs that i have suffered are most likely not common given that the main notorious object in the vehicle, has just failed(tranny)
Decent for quite a while
Amanda Cole,07/15/2008
Custom 4dr Sedan
I inherited this car 9 years ago and it was extremely reliable for several years. In the past 3 years I've had to put a lot of work and money into it replacing the entire steering column because of a problem with the computer (that was very annoying) and now the transmission is slipping. Other repairs have been minimal, it gets good gas mileage on the highway (about 30 mpg), the A/C is very cold, which I like a lot! it's very comfortable and doesn't feel like a huge car, but is still roomy. Also replacing window motors in the past 2 years was bad news. Several small things gone bad lately.
Mechanically sound with poor interior
Custom 4dr Sedan
I have had very few mechanical problems with this vehicle. It is a basic, reliable vehicle. While it rides better on the highway, it isn't too bad in the city. This car does, however, have one * major* flaw. The interior has been falling apart since I purchased it! The carpet was warn within a year, and most things plastic are either cracked or have falled off. This car is well cared for, and kept in good conidition. When I asked the Buick dealership about this, they did not act surprised. So, if you are looking for reliable transportation, but do not necessarily care what the interior looks like, the Skylark is right up your alley!


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
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

More about the 1996 Buick Skylark

Used 1996 Buick Skylark Overview

The Used 1996 Buick Skylark is offered in the following submodels: Skylark Sedan, Skylark Coupe. Available styles include Custom 2dr Coupe, Olympic Gold 4dr Sedan, and Custom 4dr Sedan.

What's a good price on a Used 1996 Buick Skylark?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 1996 Buick Skylarks are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 1996 Buick Skylark for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 1996 Buick Skylark.

Can't find a used 1996 Buick Skylarks you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Buick Skylark for sale - 12 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $8,340.

Find a used Buick for sale - 5 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $12,987.

Find a used certified pre-owned Buick Skylark for sale - 11 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $25,136.

Find a used certified pre-owned Buick for sale - 12 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $17,689.

Should I lease or buy a 1996 Buick Skylark?

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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