Used 1996 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1996

Supercharged engine dropped from this model, and daytime running lamps have been added. Don't expect a 1997 Ninety-Eight.

Vehicle overview

Take an Oldsmobile Eighty Eight, add a few inches of length, about 100 pounds, and some cargo area, and you've got the Ninety Eight Regency Elite. Oh, and tack about $6,000 onto the sticker price while you're at it.

Sure, the Ninety Eight is better-equipped than the Eighty Eight, but not six grand worth. For the same dough, you could opt for the speedy and comfortable LSS rather than the stuffy Regency Elite. It seems that many people are doing just that. With the introduction of the Aurora and the success of the LSS, Olds is marketing cars to a different crowd than the Ninety Eight appeals to. The Ninety Eight is for consumers who want a Cadillac DeVille but have a Chevy Caprice budget. It's for people who don't like to drive; those who do so only when necessary. Since the Eighty Eight fulfills this mission for far less money, sales of the Ninety Eight have dropped dramatically over the past few years.

Witness the small number of changes to the Ninety Eight for 1996. Daytime running lights have been added, and programmable door locks are new. Twilight Sentinel is now standard, as is a panic mode that gets the horn and lights going for as long as two minutes. Otherwise, the status quo reigns for the new model year.

Time to get a Ninety Eight is running out. The car surely won't survive beyond 1996 as Oldsmobile remakes itself in Saturn's image. The deletion of the supercharged 3.8-liter V6 from the options list, as well as meager improvements for 1996, portend the imminent demise of this throwback to the days when an Oldsmobile was your father's car. With the Aurora, LSS and Eight Eight to choose from, we doubt many Olds customers will lament the loss of the Ninety Eight Regency Elite.

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.