Used 1999 Oldsmobile Cutlass Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1999

No changes to Oldsmobile's fresh-in-'97 bread-and-butter sedan, except for two new colors, Bronze Mist and Dark Cherry, and the addition of a Gold Package.

Vehicle overview

Does anybody miss the Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera? Didn't think so. After a 15-year run that saw few modernizing modifications to the chassis and styling, the Cutlass Ciera is long gone, despite the fact that the old warrior was Oldsmobile's best-selling nameplate. In its place, Olds offers the Cutlass, whose redesign helped it reach nearly 27,000 sales in calendar year 1997.

Cutlass comes in two flavors, both of which are worlds sweeter than the old Ciera. Base models are equipped with a 150-horsepower 3.1-liter V6, antilock brakes, and a smooth-shifting automatic transmission. Standard amenities include cruise control, air conditioning, battery rundown protection, rear window defogger, power door locks, fog lights, illuminated entry, tachometer, cassette stereo, remote trunk release, split-folding rear seat, tilt steering wheel and a security system. Move up to the GLS model, and you'll get alloy wheels, leather seats, remote keyless entry, variable effort steering and a host of power doodads. Missing from the standard and optional equipment lists are traction control and an integrated child safety seat.

Conservatively styled, Oldsmobile designers have slapped a full-width reflective applique across the back of the Cutlass that looks out of place on this otherwise plain but attractive sedan. Inside, passengers will find a well-designed dashboard and funky A-pillar air-conditioning vents designed to increase airflow to rear seat passengers. The ignition switch is placed on the dashboard rather than the steering column, which old-timers will tell you makes it easier to find. Best of all (and don't clutch your chest in surprise) General Motors has finally found a way to put real, live cruise control switches on the steering wheel spokes where they belong.

Oldsmobile claims that Cutlass has side-impact protection that exceeds federal standards, but federal testing to date has resulted in relatively poor side-impact crash scores. Cutlass also comes with standard antilock brakes and dual airbags. Bumpers can withstand five-mph impacts. Daytime running lights with automatic light control is also part of the safety package.

Rack-and-pinion steering is standard, with GLS models adding the variable effort feature. Combined with a four-wheel independent suspension and 215/60R-15" tires, the Cutlass is adequately responsive. The 3.1-liter V6 moves the car to 60 mph from rest in about nine seconds.

All in all, Cutlass is a well-equipped, comfortable and competent car. Our biggest complaint is that it is- well, dull, which means it should fit right in with the scores of Accords, Altimas, and Camrys currently on the market. Compared to the old, outdated Ciera, maybe this Cutlass could be considered something exciting at Oldsmobile. It definitely deserves your consideration.

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.