Used 1999 Oldsmobile Eighty-Eight Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1999

The Eighty-Eight gets two new exterior colors, Champagne and Evergreen, and the LS model gets the option of white-stripe 16-inch tires. Oh, wait. Oldsmobile is celebrating the nameplate's golden anniversary with a special 50th Anniversary Edition Eighty-Eight. It has 16-inch aluminum wheels fitted with 215/65SR blackwalls, a highly contented leather interior package and special badging finished in, what else? Gold.

Vehicle overview

The Oldsmobile Eighty-Eight remains 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?

We used to think the reason was the uncomfortable seats, because they were 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.

Interior upgrades came along in 1997, including a nice 55/45 split bench seat. So what is the problem these days? Aging design. Although the Eighty-Eight had minor exterior freshening back in 1996, the current design dates back to 1992, and it feels like it. Let's put it this way: If you were standing in an Olds showroom viewing the Eighty-Eight, Aurora, Intrigue and new Alero, which would you be tempted to buy?

No new reasons to select the Eighty-Eight are offered for 1999. Changes are so minimal that the car is essentially a carryover model. Word is that it has one year left before a replacement arrives, in the guise of the model-year 2000 Aurora sedan.

Despite nose-heavy handling, we still think the Eighty-Eight is a great full-size value. And we are not alone. The current generation 88 has been winning "best buy'' type of accolades from the media since its introduction. But its basic design, its demographic orientation, and the nameplate itself 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 1999 Eighty-Eight (repeat that one, fast, three times). Take a look at the changes occurring at Oldsmobile. Unless the 50th anniversary model excites you, get ready to say good-bye to the Eighty-Eight. The upcoming replacement is a shoo-in to be a better product on all fronts.

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.