Used 1998 Oldsmobile Eighty-Eight Review

Edmunds expert review




What's new for 1998

Virtually nothing, unless you find a new fuel cap, better access to rear seatbelts, new ABS wheel-speed sensors and a couple of new colors intriguing. Second-generation airbags are standard.

Vehicle overview

The Oldsmobile Eighty-Eight is one of the better full-size family cars you can buy. It sports contemporary styling, an ergonomically correct interior and a powerful V6 engine driving the front wheels. There is room inside for six adults, and the Eighty-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?

Used to be that we thought it was the uncomfortable seats, because they 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.

Last year, the Eighty-Eight received a new 55/45 split bench seat. So what is the problem these days? Aging design. The current Eighty-Eight is now seven seasons old, and it feels like it. Standing in an Oldsmobile showroom viewing the Eighty-Eight, the Aurora and the new Intrigue, which would you be tempted to buy?

No new reasons to select the Eighty-Eight are offered for 1998. Changes are minimal, and are related to such minor improvements and trim changes that the car is essentially a carryover model. It has one year left before a replacement arrives, in the guise of the 1999 or 2000 Anthem sedan.

Despite nose-heavy handling, we still think the Eighty-Eight is a great full-size value. But the design, the demographic orientation and the nameplate are all on life-support. If you've gotta have a full-size sedan, and it's gotta wear an Oldsmobile badge, we strongly suggest you wait out temptation to grab a 1998 Eighty-Eight (repeat that one fast three times). Take a look at the changes occurring at Oldsmobile. The upcoming replacement for the Eighty-Eight is almost guaranteed to be a sure thing.






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.