Used 1996 Oldsmobile Achieva Coupe
Pros & Cons - Not Available
Edmunds' Expert Review
Oldsmobile has taken great steps toward changing the "Under Achieva" reputation of its entry in the compact marketplace. Improved base and optional engines debut, and dual airbags have been installed in a redesigned dashboard. Seatbelts have been relocated to the door pillars, rather than the previously unsafe arrangement that had the restraints attached to the door. Air conditioning is now standard equipment, and all Acheivas equipped with an automatic transmission get traction control as part of the deal. GM's PASSlock theft system is also standard for 1996, as are daytime running lights.
Similarly, Buick has made substantial improvements to the formerly underwhelming Skylark. We're impressed by the efforts made with both cars, but the changes to Acheiva don't register with quite the amount of surprise and delight provided by the amazing transformation of the formerly horrid Skylark. Maybe part of the reason is because Oldsmobile didn't make changes to the Acheiva's clean exterior styling. The Buick gets much-needed revision to its front and rear styling for 1996, but the Achieva makes do with a handsome new wheel design.
Sitting in the Achieva you are faced with simple, large analog gauges and controls that are placed where they can easily be found and operated. The new dashboard is welcome, but the high beltline and restrictive greenhouse results in an unpleasant enclosed feeling. Open and airy this car is not. The oversize steering wheel makes the inside of the Achieva feel even smaller, and overly grippy seat fabric seems to want to hold you in the Achieva whether you want to stay or not. The back seat is tiny and difficult to access.
Overall, the Achieva is a much better car than it has ever been. It provides excellent value in the compact segment. However, we think a Toyota Corolla, Geo Prizm or Honda Civic would be far more satisfactory to own than this Oldsmobile.