Used 2001 Oldsmobile Intrigue Review

Edmunds expert review

Oldsmobile's Intrigue was one of GM's most promising products when it was released in 1998, but quality stumbling blocks and a muddled brand identity helped to quash sales hopes. This is a decent midsize sedan, and as this once proud marque's days fade into twilight, good deals on Intrigues ought to be readily available.

What's new for 2001

The Intrigue receives only minor changes for 2001, including two new exterior colors and a standard air filtration system. The OnStar driver assistance system is now standard on GLS models while Precision Control System equipped models receive exterior "PCS" badging.

Vehicle overview

Since being introduced in the 1998 model year, the Intrigue has played a key role in helping Oldsmobile redefine its struggling brand identity. Aimed squarely at the imports, Intrigue features a functional sedan design inside and out that delivers a minimum of glitz and a maximum of ergonomic operation. Providing tight space for five adults, the Intrigue offers acceptable interior room without abulky exterior size or hefty curb weight.

Built off a rigid structural backbone, Olds gave its midsize front-driver four-wheel independent suspension, disc brakes and ABS. The GX is a fully equipped base model, while moving up to the GL nets extras such as a dual-zone air conditioner, fog lamps, keyless entry and upgraded mirrors, seats and sound system. The GLS pops for top-of-the-line items such as a now standard OnStar vehicle assistance system, leather, fake wood trim, and a CD player. Need more pizzazz? The gold exterior badge package and special Sterling (as in silver) Edition model offered in 2000 remain available for 2001. All models receive a standard air filtration system for 2001.

All Intrigues are now powered by GM's 24-valve 3.5-liter V6 (based on the Aurora V8) that sends a torquey 215 horsepower through a four-speed electronically controlled transaxle. Last year the Intrigue debuted the PCS driver control system that uses sensors to measure the speed of each wheel as well as steering and yaw angles. If a panic stop, quick swerve or slick pavement forces the car into a skid, the system hydraulically adjusts the individual ABS unit(s) needed to bring the car back under control.

Driving the Intrigue feels more like driving an import thana typical Oldsmobile. Speed-sensitive steering offers good feedback, and the brake pedal is easy to modulate. Seats are comfy and supportive. While the car is fairly big, it doesn't feel like it from the driver's seat, thanks to responsive handling and good visibility. Hoever, the speed-sensitive steering can be rather schizophrenic when its ratio and weighting change in mid corner. Understated styling provides strong family ties to the flagship Aurora in the headlights, front fascia and rear quarters. And Intrigue's twin-cam V6 not only provides stout acceleration and good fuel economy, but it does so without the need for premium fuel, unlike many other performance-oriented V6 powerplants in this class.

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 priced in the mid-20s that shoppers should at least test drive when searching for their next family sedan.

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.