Used 1998 Oldsmobile Intrigue Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1998

Oldsmobile dumps the stodgy Cutlass Supreme for the Intrigue: a suave, sophisticated, sporty sedan designed to take on the best of the imports. Too bad refinement issues exist. Second-generation airbags are standard equipment.

Vehicle overview

A few years ago, Oldsmobile appeared to be gasping its final breaths. Product was not moving, designs were aging rapidly and within the new brand management culture at General Motors, Oldsmobile was hard to define because of models whose missions overlapped with cars from Chevrolet, Buick and Cadillac.

The first step Oldsmobile took to return to viability was to introduce the Aurora. Sleekly styled, solidly engineered and packed full of Northstar V8 powertrain, the Aurora showcased the direction in which Oldsmobile was moving. It was clear that wire wheels and whitewalls were on the way out, to be replaced with attractive, contemporary cars and trucks that would appeal to import-intenders.

Next out of the chute was the Bravada, a mildly reworked Blazer/Jimmy with an impressive all-wheel drive powertrain. The Silhouette and Cutlass came next, sporting modern style and driver-friendly handling characteristics. The Intrigue is the latest in a line of new Oldsmobile models that have redefined a dying brand.

Powered by a strong 3800 Series II V6 engine (which will be replaced as early as mid-1998 by an all-new overhead cam V6 based on the Northstar V8), the new Intrigue features a strong body structure for better stiffness and fewer squeaks and rattles. The interior is functionally designed to provide a minimum of glitz and a maximum of ergonomic operation. Providing space for five adults, the Intrigue offers appreciably more interior room than major competitors at the expense of exterior size and a hefty curb weight.

Driving the Intrigue, you'd swear you were in an import. Speed sensitive steering provides good feedback, while the brake pedal has lost most of that dreaded GM numbness. Seats are comfortable and supportive. The transmission shifts almost imperceptibly. While the car is big, it doesn't feel like it from the driver's seat, thanks to responsive handling and good visibility. Exterior styling is muscular yet understated, providing a strong family tie to the Aurora in the headlights, front fascia and rear quarters. A handsome car, indeed.

Pricing is in line with the Toyota Camry LE and XLE V6, the Nissan Maxima SE and GLE and the Mercury Sable LS. Offering style, room and power, the Oldsmobile Intrigue is one sedan shoppers looking in the mid-20s ought to drive.

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.