Used 1996 Oldsmobile Aurora Sedan

1996 Oldsmobile Aurora
List price range
1996 Oldsmobile Aurora

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

We really want to like the Aurora. On paper, it seems to have everything in place to whip the competition. Strong performance, a Northstar-derived V8 engine, standard antilock brakes and traction control, svelte sheetmetal, and prices that top out well under $40,000 fully loaded. Sounds tasty, doesn't it?

While slick overall, it looks like a 1995 Saturn SL that underwent minor reconstructive surgery. It weighs two tons. The wheels look like Aunt Polly's holiday condiment dishes. It barely avoids the dreaded gas-guzzler tax.

We can't argue that the Aurora hasn't proven to be a hit for Oldsmobile. We also can't argue that the Aurora hasn't been instrumental in jump starting the transformation of Oldsmobile's brand identity from fancy Chevy to sophisticated, upscale import-fighter. Witness the styling changes to the 1996 LSS. It gains an Aurora-like character this year, and Oldsmobile has introduced a modern new logo for all models.

For 1996, chrome alloy wheels are available, and for those who feel that a car actually looks better with fake gold badging plastered all over it, a gold graphics package has been placed on the options list. Daytime running lamps have been added, and the rear window loses the distortion that plagued the 1995 model. A new panic button has been added to Aurora's keyless entry system, and the seat and mirrors move to one of two preset positions when the doors are unlocked. Programmable door locks are new, and perimeter lighting is activated when the doors are unlocked in the dark. Battery rundown protection keeps the car from going dead unexpectedly, and a recirculation mode has been added to the climate control system.

So, what is the competition for the Aurora? The Buick Park Avenue Ultra and Pontiac Bonneville SSE are worthy alternatives, but aren't as sophisticated. Acura's new TL hovers around the Aurora price tag, as do the Infiniti I30 and Lexus ES300. These Japanese near luxury sedans aren't nearly as stylish as the Aurora. Chrysler's LHS is nice, but lacking in oomph under the hood. The Mercedes C-Class and BMW 325i are substantially smaller than the Aurora. So is the new Audi A4. However, the bigger Audi A6 could be worth consideration. So could Oldsmobile's own LSS, which is slightly less expensive and larger inside than the Aurora. It also comes equipped with a powerful supercharged V6 engine that motivates the LSS' lighter curb weight with alacrity. We have trouble liking the Aurora, mainly because the LSS is equal in every way, except for the distinctive sheetmetal.

1996 Highlights

Daytime running lights are added, and looking through the backlight won't make your eyes water from distortions anymore. We knew it was only a matter of time before some goofball decided chrome wheels and a gold package would look great on the otherwise classy Aurora. The new Oldsmobile? What's that? When do we get the fake convertible roof, guys?

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1996 Oldsmobile Aurora.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

A Roaring Aurora
I've been driving for over 40 years. The Oldsmobile Aurora is one of the best cars I've ever owned. Its performance is incredible, the Olds Rocket logo definetly applies to this car. For a ten year old car with over 100,000 miles, it's leak free and when under conservative driving it's possible to get 28 mpg. If there's a comparable American car available new, I'm all for it.
Solid Car
I had originally purchased this car to use as a winter vehicle but now I plan to drive it for the foreseeable future. The ride is nice and smooth and I've had no major mechanical problems to date (knock-on-wood) The interior is very comfortable and it boasts some fancy climate controls. My Aurora was outfitted with the Bose Sound package and the audio is excellent (especially for a car of its age). The engine provides enough power to get the Aurora moving and I have no trouble passing slugs on the highway. Also, the gas mileage (I average 25 mpg) is good for a 12 year old V8 engine. The only gripe I have is the turning radius; it makes the widest turns (for a car) I have ever seen.
Excellent Automobile
This has been one exceptional automobile for me! Not only is it a classic design, it is one great riding and handling car too. I have 170,000 miles on this car, and it still drives just as nice as the day I drove it off the lot. The engine still runs great, the transmission still shifts flawlessly and there are no squeaks or rattles from the suspension or frame. The gas mileage is phenomenal for a V- 8, I usually average 30 mpg on the hwy. I thought about upgrading to the new body style, but after driving one, I thought to myself, "where is the Aurora that I know?" The only problem that I had with the car was that I had to replace the radiator core and tank. I highly recommend this car!
Nice, but ....
Ok, first let me say I love this car! It's 14 years old and it looks like a new car. It's got a design that seems ageless . The paint has held up amazingly well in this Texas heat . And the ride is both comfortable and powerful. The downside . The car is now on its 4th, count 'em, 4th a/c compressor. And when the compressor goes, so does the rest of the system. Which means the dash has to be pulled out. Which means a $1,500-$1,700 repair bill. The previous owner replaced the original compressor at 18 months, and I'm on my second compressor since buying it in 2003, having replaced it in 2004 and again in 2010. Last complaint: car's turning radius.
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Features & Specs

15 city / 24 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
250 hp @ 5600 rpm
See all Used 1996 Oldsmobile Aurora Sedan features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger3 / 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 Oldsmobile Aurora
Used 1996 Oldsmobile Aurora Sedan Overview

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Find a used Oldsmobile Aurora for sale - 7 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $11,326.

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Find a used certified pre-owned Oldsmobile for sale - 9 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $22,071.

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Should I lease or buy a 1996 Oldsmobile Aurora?

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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