Used 1997 Oldsmobile Eighty-Eight Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1997

Side-impact protection is upgraded to federal safety standards, interiors are improved and new Oldsmobile logos adorn the body.

Vehicle overview

The Oldsmobile Eighty-Eight is one of the best full-size family cars you can buy. It sports contemporary but non-descript styling, an ergonomically correct interior, and a powerful V6 engine driving the front wheels. There is room inside for six adults, and the Eight-Eight has proven to be reliable. Oldsmobile's value-pricing' strategy has paid off with the Eighty-Eight; it comes well-equipped right out of the box, with few options available. So why haven't these cars sold as well as, say, the Ford Crown Victoria?

We think it must be the uncomfortable seats, because the seats were really this big Olds' only apparent flaw. The rest of the car is admittedly designed to appeal to middle Americans who just want to get from Point A to Point B in relative safety and comfort, but with mushy, unsupportive seats, the Eighty-Eight didn't fulfill the comfort portion of the equation.

This year, the Eighty-Eight receives a new 55/45-split bench seat. We haven't tried this new bench to see if it's more comfortable than the old one. Buckets continue as standard equipment on the LS, and do not receive upgrades this year. Passenger assist handles are new for 1997, along with reading lamps, an overhead storage bin and new interior trim materials. Seatbelt buckles have relocated release buttons for easier operation. New Oldsmobile logos are affixed to the car, and side-impact protection is improved to federal standards.

Despite nose-heavy handling, we think the Eighty-Eight is a great full-size value. But is it comfortable? We suspect that the LS, which does not receive a seat upgrade this year, still suffers low comfort levels. As soon as we can, we'll check the new base bench for improvement. In the meantime, keep this family-oriented Olds on your shopping list.

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.