Oldsmobile Research & Reviews

Overview & Reviews

Average Score

4.14/5 Average
1,704 Total Reviews
Make Overview:

At the dawn of the automobile, Oldsmobile was there. Owned by General Motors, Oldsmobile was the most senior domestic marque and one of the oldest automobile brands in the world, with a run that spanned some 107 years.

Ransom E. Olds was born in Ohio, but moved to Lansing, Michigan, to work in his father's machine shop. His experiences there helped whet his appetite for all things automotive, and he soon garnered enough expertise to develop a gasoline-powered vehicle. Joining forces with other partners, Olds cofounded the Olds Motor Vehicle Company in 1897. By the early 1900s, the company had introduced the nation to upscale models like the Curved Dash and had risen to become the best-selling car company in the United States.

Ransom Olds eventually left the company and it was sold to General Motors in 1908, where it became known as the Oldsmobile Division. More than ever, Oldsmobile became the brand of choice for car buyers seeking vehicles steeped in luxury and sophistication. Early models like the 1915 Model 42 Touring Roadster offered sleek lines and style aplenty. The 1918 Model 37 was its first model to offer a closed top, ensuring that the brand's well-heeled buyers had protection from the elements.

Oldsmobile had another hit in the 1920s with the Model 46, a V8-powered touring car that seated seven. The manufacturer did its part to make sure that the decade's elegance wasn't lost on its automobiles. It introduced fancy chrome-plated trim that served to raise the glamour quotient of its already eye-catching vehicles.

The '30s was a decade of innovation for the brand. The company wooed customers with its "Knee-Action" independent front suspension, an affordably priced option that served to improve ride quality. The company also offered one of the earliest automatic transmissions, freeing drivers from the rigors of the clutch with its four-speed "Hydra-matic" system.

Postwar, Oldsmobile gave consumers the Rocket 88. The car offered new levels of performance, giving the North American market its first taste of the short-stroke, overhead-valve V8. The car was adored by enthusiasts, and was chosen to serve as the pace car for the 1949 Indy 500.

The 1950s saw Olds continuing to distinguish itself as a purveyor of fine performance machines. With a name inspired by the Lockheed Starfire fighter plane, its 1953 Starfire show car offered a fiberglass body, a stylishly low beltline and most importantly, a 200-horsepower engine. The car was one of the first to display a wraparound windshield, and in the years following, many other manufacturers adopted this styling cue.

Oldsmobile's innovations continued into the 1960s. The manufacturer was the first since the 1930s Cord to taste success with a front-wheel-drive vehicle, in the form of its sporty Toronado. The '70s saw Olds breaking new ground in the area of safety. In 1974, it introduced a Toronado equipped with a driver-side airbag; Olds was the first domestic automaker to offer this feature. Around this time, the company's Cutlass had also become one of America's favorite cars.

Less successful was the company's effort to get on board with diesel technology. In 1978, Oldsmobile introduced a 5.7-liter V8 diesel engine as a response to that decade's fuel crisis; the engine was meant to appeal to buyers desperate to save money at the pump. Rising diesel prices and the unreliability of the engines caused the program to suffer, and Oldsmobile was eventually forced to terminate its efforts on this front.

In the '80s, Oldsmobile left its competitors in the dust when its Aerotech — piloted by noted racecar driver A.J. Foyt — set a closed-course world speed record of 257 mph. The company continued to have a huge hit with its Cutlass; the model spent much of the decade atop the sales charts.

The '90s saw Oldsmobile's introduction of Guidestar, the first onboard navigation system combining mapping and satellite positioning. The company made history yet again when its race-modified Aurora V8 won the Indy 500, making Olds the first manufacturer to pace and win the race in the same year.

By the dawn of the new millennium, Oldsmobile's sales were in a rut. The brand's identity had suffered over the years due to parts-sharing and rebadging within the GM camp. GM ultimately decided to pull the plug, and the last Oldsmobile rolled off the assembly line in model-year 2004.

User Reviews:

Showing 1 through 10 of 1,704.00
  • Outstanding. - 2004 Oldsmobile Bravada
    By -

    I've got a loaded '03 Bravada that I've had since Jan 2003 and has 35k miles on it. Not once has it been in for repairs (only scheduled maintenance). Wonderful SUV to drive and own!!

  • I liked it so much - 2002 Oldsmobile Aurora
    By -

    I bought a used 2001 and liked it so much, I wanted a brand new one. The 2001 was a 4.0 and the 2002 is a 3.0. I really like the style of this car. I had a Cutlass and I really liked it, too. They made a big mistake when they got rid of the Cutlass. People ask me all the time "what kind of car is this?" It's not the best on mileage and it doesn't have the pick up that the 4.0 has. The DIC is the best and I like the radio info, also. The only thing I regret is the light color of the interior. I wish it was black. I'll keep it for a while. I don't think the resell value is the best.

  • Do not buy this car! - 2000 Oldsmobile Alero
    By -

    This car is mediocre at best. I have had numberous problems with this car. In the 3 years I have owned this car, I have replaced the brakes 5 times, the cruise quit working, the middle overhead light pops out and falls out on occasion, the upholstry on the dash has begun to pull up, both of the electric front windows have broke twice, the right front sun visor clip broke and my blinkers quit working. I definitely would not recommend purchasing this vehicle.

  • Built in problems - 2002 Oldsmobile Silhouette
    By -

    Ou Oldsmobile Silhouette Premiere had 10,400 miles on it when we purchased it, but at 30,000 things started to fail. First the AC condenser leaked freon, then had to have rear brakes replaced owing to the shop said was a rock between the pad and rotor (not a warrantee item). Last, the head gaskets started to leak at less than 39,000 miles (a $1,700 job). After 50 plus years as a GM owner, things are going wrong that I never experienced with other cars. I am losing faith in the GM brand, owing, chiefly, to GM refusing to quit using the same cheap gaskets for the last 10- 12 years that I am aware of.

  • 2002 Oldsmobile Alero 2.2l 225,000 ! - 2002 Oldsmobile Alero
    By -

    I bought the car new in 2002, retailed for $17,450 came with the new ecotec 2.2 L with manual transmission, standard ABS, 4 wheel disk brakes, 4 wheel independent suspension, AC, CD Radio. After rebates and previous olds rebate purchased for $11,400. After 225,000 the 4 cyl engine still runs like new. I beat the crap out of the suspension with my daily commute gravel roads, potholes, high and low speed driving, bent a couple of rims. I love cornering in the car. I leave trucks and others behind. The car is well balanced with the 4 cyl 5 speed manual handles like a European car. Thats because it was designed for the European market.

  • junk - 2002 Oldsmobile Alero
    By -

    I have had nothing but problems with my alero.I have had it for 3 years and now it is nothing but a big problem. I have replaced brakes constantly. Had the fuel pump replaced and the timing chain broke which cost me to end up having the motor replaced.These cars to me are junk but needless to say I still have this junk car because I still owe on it.

  • A Good Ride - 2002 Oldsmobile Aurora
    By -

    This vehicle Has two major design flaws that should not be replicated anywhere. There is Zero clearance between the front wheels and the frame of the car, and the battery is located under the back seat inside the passenger area.

  • Pretty Bad Car option - 2004 Oldsmobile Alero
    By -

    One of the worst cars I have ever purchased as a sales rep on the road.

  • Luxury at a great price - 2003 Oldsmobile Silhouette
    By -

    Since GM was practically donating this van, i.e $500 cash rebate, $843 leather interior rebate, zero down, 0% for 60 months with no payment for 90 days, we decided to look. The Montana was nice but the Silhouette is classy. As a further inducement, Olds, which is closing shop, is giving a 60/60,000, zero deductible GM bumper to bumper extended warranty.. If you opt not to take the warranty you get and additional $1,000! I bought the van for $1,000 under the invoice price as computed here on Edmunds. Once I have sufficient driving experience I'll comment more.

  • 98 Aurora - 1998 Oldsmobile Aurora
    By -

    Excellent highway car. Great manueverability. Quick responding powertrain. Wide stance assures excellent control. Smooth ride and yet good feel of the road. Best handling car I have ever driven.

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