Midsize car; Built in USA
  • 2-door convertible
  • 2-door coupe
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,000 – $2,600*


1994 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme SL 2-door coupe


1990 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme 2-door coupe


1991 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme 2-door convertible


1992 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme 2-door convertible interior


1995 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme SL interior

Pros:
  • Passenger and cargo room
Cons:
  • Engine noise (4-cylinder)
  • Rear-seat comfort

Despite all the changes that occurred, the final generation of the Cutlass Supreme was never quite able to catch up with the competition, even within GM. Only if the price really is right does this one deserve preference over, say, a Ford Taurus or Honda Accord.

Overview

General Motors introduced three similar cars in 1988: the Buick Regal, Pontiac Grand Prix, and Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. All were 2-door coupes, with the 4-door sedans, including the Chevrolet Lumina, not arriving until 1990. Also arriving in 1990 was a convertible, which was an Olds exclusive. Also new was a more-potent standard 4-cylinder engine. Both the base Cutlass and the sporty International Series began with the new 180-horsepower, 2.3-liter High Output version of the Quad 4 engine, mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. For those preferring an automatic, the standard 3-speed automatic required dropping to the meeker 160-horsepower Quad 4.

Yearly Updates

1991 Cutlass Supreme
General Motors’ new 3.4-liter dual-cam V6 is now standard on the International Series and optional on all but the convertible. When mated with GM’s new 4-speed overdrive transmission it provides 200 horsepower, jumping to 210 when paired with a 5-speed gearbox. Meanwhile, the 5-speed is no longer available with the 4-cylinder Quad 4.
1992 Cutlass Supreme
Most noticeable this year is new front- and rear-end styling for Oldsmobile’s front-drive intermediate. For the sedans, twin aerodynamic slots replace conventional grilled panels, while the lower body gets a new ribbed fascia. Coupes and convertibles get a set of mini-quad headlights for a novel six-lamp look. A 140-horsepower 3.1-liter V6 is the new standard engine for both the S and the convertible, while the 3.4-liter is now standard on the International Series. A 3-speed automatic is standard on the S; a 4-speed automatic is optional on the S, but standard on the convertible. Antilock brakes are optional on all but the I-Series where they are standard.
1993 Cutlass Supreme
The 3.4-liter V6 is now available as an option for the convertible, but the engine no longer comes with a 5-speed manual.
1994 Cutlass Supreme
Oldsmobile adds a driver-side airbag and makes antilock brakes standard on all versions of this year’s Cutlass Supreme. In addition, the new base engine is a more powerful version of GM’s 3.1-liter V6.
1995 Cutlass Supreme
Cutlass Supremes enter 1995 with a condensed lineup and fewer options. Also making news are changes to the cabin, plus a redesigned instrument panel complete with a new passenger-side airbag. The new dashboard also features circular analog gauges and fewer control buttons. Sedan and coupe models are now offered only as SL models, but can be upgraded with either Series I or Series II option packages. All models have standard antilock brakes.
1996 Cutlass Supreme
The convertible has been dropped, while both 2-door and 4-door Cutlass Supremes return for 1996 with four price levels: Series I, II, III, and IV. The 3.1-liter V6 is standard on all price levels, with the 3.4-liter V6 serving as an optional engine for Series III and IV Cutlass models. Changes to the dual-overhead-cam engine result in 215 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque.
1997 Cutlass Supreme
Given that 1997 was the final year for Cutlass Supreme, Oldsmobile instituted very few changes. The only major move was the elimination of the previously optional 3.4-liter dual-cam V6.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

In 1990, both the base Cutlass and the sporty International Series came with the new 180-horsepower, 2.3-liter High Output version of the Quad 4 engine mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. For those preferring an automatic, the standard 3-speed gearbox required dropping to the meeker 160-horsepower Quad 4. The High Output version delivered 160 pound-feet of torque at 5200 rpm while the basic Quad 4 did nearly as well, with 155 pound-feet of torque at 5200 rpm. In 1990, the V6 provided to be the weakest engine offered, producing only 135 horsepower at 4400 rpm and 180 pound-feet of torque at 3600. The following year there was a complete reshuffling of powertrains for the Cutlass Supreme. General Motors’ new 3.4-liter dual cam V6 became standard on the International Series and optional on all but the convertible. When mated with GM’s new 4-speed overdrive transmission it provides 200 horsepower, jumping to 210 when paired with a new 5-speed gearbox. Either way, it provided 215 pound-feet of torque at 4000 rpm. Meanwhile, the 5-speed manual was dropped as a gearbox for the Quad 4. In 1992, Oldsmobile dropped the 2.3-liter 4-cylinder Quad 4 as its standard engine, replacing it with a 140-horsepower 3.1-liter V6 for both the S and the convertible. The 3.4-liter remains the standard engine for the International Series. Oldsmobile drops the 5-speed manual for use with the 3.4-liter V6 in 1993. The following year, a new 160-horsepower version of GM’s 3.1-liter V6 replaces last year’s 140-horsepower engine. For 1995, the 3.4-liter was revised to offer 215 horsepower and 220 pound-feet of torque. As an economy move for the final year of production, the 3.4-liter was dropped in 1997, leaving the 3.1-liter V6 as the only available engine.

ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.1/191
Engine HP 135-160
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 180-185
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
3-speed automatic
4-speed automatic
19/27
19/29
20.6
dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.3/138
Engine HP 160
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 155
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
3-speed automatic

22/29

22.3

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.3/138
Engine HP 180
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 160
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual

22/31

dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.4/207
Engine HP 210-215
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 215-220
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

17/26

Road Test

Many of the early Quad 4 engines–while eager–produced little power at low speeds. But when revved for optimum power, they became much noisier than either the 3.1-liter or 3.4-liter V6. The 24-valve V6 runs smoothly and quietly, revving quickly to higher speeds–even with the automatic. And the 3.1-liter V6 was gradually improved, with power rising from 135 horsepower in 1990 to 160 in 1994.

Cutlass Supreme has a firm sports-oriented base suspension. While it provides good handling and stability, its firmness generates noticeable harshness over rough roads. The FE3 suspension in the International Series models (1990-94) is even stiffer. Braking with standard 4-wheel disc and antilock brakes is good. Improvement in build quality means that road noise and harshness are under control, and the car offers fairly good ride comfort.

Interior leg and head room are adequate, but the rear-seat cushions are too low and soft on long-distance comfort. There’s also a roomy trunk and a handy cargo net on later models. The dual airbag instrument panel on 1995 models is a big improvement, putting the Supreme on par with its competition.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1995 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme SL 4-door

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 5
50%
Fuel Economy - 4
40%
Ride Quality - 6
60%
Steering/Handling - 4
40%
Quietness - 5
50%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Front - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Rear - 4
40%
Cargo Room - 4
40%

Other

Value - 6
60%

Total: 48

Specifications

2-door convertible
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
107.5 193.9 71.0 54.3
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
12.1 16.5 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.7 38.9 42.3 34.8
2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
107.5 193.9 71.0 53.3
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
15.5 16.5 6
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.8 37.0 42.3 35.8
4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
107.5 193.7 71.0 54.8
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
15.5 16.5 6
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.5 38.3 42.4 36.2
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1997 Cutlass Supreme 2-door coupe

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Front Passenger Injury - 3
60%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 79
Injury 75
Theft 66

Trouble Spots

Automatic transmission
Description: 4T60E transmissions may drop out of drive while cruising, shift erratically, have no third or fourth gear, or no second and third gear because of a bad ground connection for the shift solenoids. (1991-94)
Automatic transmission
Description: Model TH-125 or 440-T4 automatic transmissions may shift late or not upshift at all. The problem is a stuck throttle valve inside the transmission. (1990-94)
Cold-starting problems
Description: A tick or rattle when the engine is started may be due to too much wrist-pin-to-piston clearance. (1993-95)
Engine noise
Description: A rattling noise from the engine that lasts less than a minute when the car is started after sitting is often caused by automatic-transmission pump starvation or a sticking pressure-regulator valve. According to GM, no damage occurs and it does not have a fix for the problem. (1991-95)
Engine noise
Description: Ticking on cold startup may be due to excessive piston pin to bore clearance. (1993-97)
Steering noise
Description: The upper-bearing mount in the steering column can get loose and cause a clicking, requiring a new bearing spring and turn-signal cancel cam. (1994-96)
Transaxle leak
Description: The right front-axle seal at the automatic transaxle is prone to leak and GM issued a revised seal to correct the problem. (1992-94)
Valve cover leaks
Description: The plastic valve covers on the 3.1-liter engine were prone to leaks and should be replaced with redesigned aluminum valve covers. (1993-95)

Recall History

1990
Description: Front shoulder-belt guide-loop fastener may pull through door-mounted anchor plate.
1990
Description: Brake lights may not illuminate.
1990-91 in 15 states
Description: Due to corrosion of retainers for front engine-cradle bolts, where road salt usage is heavy, steering shaft could separate.
1991-92
Description: Front safetybelts may not meet standard.
1992
Description: Reverse servo pin of automatic transmission may bind.
1993
Description: Manual recliner mechanisms on some front seats will not latch under certain conditions, causing seatback to recline without prior warning.
1993-94
Description: Brake lines can contact transmission bracket and wear through.
1994-95
Description: Wiper/washer may not operate.
1995
Description: Seatbelt anchor can fracture during crash.
1995
Description: Center-rear seatbelt anchor plate could fracture in a crash.
1995-96
Description: Due to corrosion over time, airbag deployment could occur during vehicle startup, while parked or idling, or while in operation.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.