1996 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Review

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$961 - $2,350

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Vehicle overview

Like other models in the Oldsmobile stable, the Cutlass Supreme is reaping the benefits of value pricing. For a starting price of about $18,000, Series I coupes and sedans come loaded, standard. In fact, the only options are a CD player, an engine block heater, and a twin-cam 3.4-liter V6. Opt for a Series II, and you get leather trim, power seats, better speakers and other such niceties. The options list is a bit longer for the Series II sedan as well, offering steering wheel controls for the A/C and the stereo.

We've always liked the racy styling of the Cutlass Supreme, though it is beginning to look a bit geriatric. The optional twin-cam engine turns the Cutlass into a formidable sport coupe or sedan, with performance equaling that of such cars as the Thunderbird V8, Monte Carlo Z34, and Intrepid ES.

For 1995, Olds designers saw fit to update the interior of the Cutlass Supreme. A smoothly flowing dash housing dual airbags was installed, and it offers a simple layout, easy-to-read gauges, and rotary climate controls that feel and operate like those of much more expensive automobiles. In fact, the Cutlass interior, like those in all Oldsmobiles except the Ciera and the Silhouette, is a perfect example of ergonomic design.

This year, Olds changed very little on the Cutlass Supreme. The convertible body style has been dropped. Long life engine coolant and spark plugs mean maintenance intervals have been lengthened. The standard and optional V6 engines have been improved, with the bigger 3.4-liter motor developing five additional horsepower this year.

Interior fabrics are a bit too seventies' in look and feel, but the rest of the interior is just fine. Not as roomy as the old Ford Taurus in back, the Cutlass could use some improvement in the rear quarters. High door sills impede progress in and out of the car..

A new Cutlass Supreme, dubbed Intrigue, is due in 1997. But for now, this iteration can be outfitted to provide luxury, performance and value in one pleasing package.

1996 Highlights

The convertible has been retired. The sedan and coupe enjoy their last year in production, receiving engine upgrades for 1996.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1996 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

96Cutlass SL
Bill Lockard,05/09/2004
i have not had an problems and im second owner of the vehicle with the 3.1L engine
I love my Olds but...
cjochum,06/09/2008
I bought my Olds in 2002, it has been a pretty dependable car except its air conditioning system seems strange, as well as the problems I have with the drivers side door handle. I have replaced it and it seems to have them same problem only after a year. The air conditioner also seems to go off when going up hills. Also my cd player steals my cd's. I put one in and I might get it back that day or maybe a week later. Who knows?
Junk
rcondran,07/15/2014
My 1996 Cutlass Supreme SL is the reason Oldsmobile went under. The stereo quit after 6 months - was replaced under warranty with what turned out to be a "refurbished" unit - tape deck quit right after the warranty ran out. Head gasket blew at 49,000 miles. Intake gasket went at 56,000 miles - found out the intake was cracked when I was replacing the gasket. Tranny died at 100,000 miles. I'm honestly afraid to drive this car more than walking distance from my house - and don't. I drove a 1975 Cutlass I inherited from Virginia last summer - I'm restoring it to replace my 1996...I felt safer driving the 1975 than I do my '96.
My College Car Keeps on Going
Sam,11/11/2018
SL 4dr Sedan
I got this car in 2009 with 66,000 miles on it, and now is above 167,000 miles. Unfortunately, my transmission blew at 110,000 miles, but I opted to replace that and take my luck with the car, and I'm happy I did. Other than a fuel pump replacement at 130,000 miles, I've had fairly good luck with the car. If you can get one of these cheap, I'd consider it, because the GM parts on this car are so plentiful that the repairs are cheap. At 155,000 miles I took the car to my mechanic for a routine brake replacement, and he mentioned that the engine itself still looked fine. The other parts of the car are now going a bit. Some front panel rust, and some interior parts are starting to feel a bit loose, my cruise control went at about 140,000 miles and the repair would have ran $1,100 because it involved removing the steering mount, so I am just living without cruise. I've read about the head gasket issue--but so far I've been fine. Between my Cutlass and my wife's 2013 Chevy Cruze, I actually enjoy driving the Cutlass more, because the V6 can actually do some work. If you come across one of these for $1,000ish, and you just need cheap transportation, it's a fine option.

Features & Specs

See all Used 1996 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 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
    0

More about the 1996 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme

Used 1996 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Overview

The Used 1996 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme is offered in the following submodels: Cutlass Supreme Sedan, Cutlass Supreme Coupe. Available styles include SL 2dr Coupe, and SL 4dr Sedan.

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Should I lease or buy a 1996 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme?

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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