Premium midsize car; Built in USA
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,200 – $2,500*

1991 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight

1991 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight

1992 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight Touring

1991 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight interior

1992 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight Regency Elite interior

  • Acceleration
  • Antilock brakes (optional)
  • Automatic transmission performance
  • Passenger and cargo room
  • Fuel economy
  • Visibility

The Ninety Eight’s conservative styling has clearly begun to limit its appeal, but it’s a less-expensive alternative to V8 luxury sedans such as the Cadillac Fleetwood and Lincoln Town Car.


Oldsmobile rolled out a redesigned Ninety Eight for 1991. This new edition, redesigned along with its Buick Park Avenue rival, rode on the same front-drive chassis as the 1985-90 models, but had a more-rounded look, plus an additional 9.5 inches of overall length. Ninety Eights came as a 6-passenger 4-door sedan in either luxurious Regency Elite trim or sportier Touring Sedan guise. The powertrain consisted of GM’s 3.8-liter V6 engine. Revised for the 1991 model year, it provided 170 horsepower and 220 pound-feet of torque. Standard on both models were antilock brakes, a driver-side airbag, and automatic load-leveling suspension.

Yearly Updates

1992 Ninety Eight
For 1992, the Ninety Eight gains a new base-model Regency, followed by the Regency Elite and deluxe Touring Sedan. Optional for the Touring Sedan now is a new 205-horsepower supercharged version of GM’s 3.8-liter engine. Traction control is an available option on all three models.
1993 Ninety Eight
Torque on the standard 3.8-liter V6 engine rises slightly to 225 pound-feet at 3200 rpm. Also, the grille and headlamp bezels on the Touring Sedan are now body-colored, with exterior moldings changing from gray to black. The Regency Elite gains an overhead storage console.
1994 Ninety Eight
The Ninety Eight returns for 1994 with a redesigned instrument panel that includes a new passenger-side airbag. The supercharged 3.8-liter V6 gains 20 horsepower and 15 pound-feet of torque as a result of improvements to the supercharger and the induction system and becomes available on all models. Other changes include a new grille and headlamps, an additional inch of front seat travel, and standard automatic power door locks.
1995 Ninety Eight
Last year the Touring Sedan bit the dust; this year the base Regency model goes away. The remaining Regency Elite is provided with very few stand-alone options. On the plus side, Oldsmobile makes major improvements under the hood. The new Series II 3800 V6, with its 205 horsepower and 230 pound-feet of torque now becomes the new base engine.
1996 Ninety Eight
Preceding the Ninety Eight into retirement was the supercharged 3800 V6, which is no longer an option for the Ninety Eight. Olds incorporated nearly all of the car’s features and options into its 1997 Eighty Eight “Regency” model.


transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

The powertrain for the Oldsmobile Ninety Eight consists of GM’s 3.8-liter V6 engine. Revised for the 1991 model year, it provided 170 horsepower at 4800 rpm and 220 pound-feet of torque at 3200 rpm. Power was increased further in 1995 with the addition of the 205 horsepower Series II 3800 version of GM’s corporate V6 engine. The torque rating is 230 pound-feet at 3200 rpm. An optional supercharged engine was provided between 1992 and 1995, with horsepower outputs ranging from 205 to 225 horsepower and torque ranging from 260 pound-feet to 275 pound-feet of torque. However, with the new Aurora as Oldsmobile’s flagship model the supercharged engine was dropped for 1996. All engines are paired with an electronically controlled, 4-speed overdrive automatic transmission.

ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.8/231
Engine HP 170
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 220
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic



ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.8/231
Engine HP 205
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 230
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic


Supercharged ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.8/231
Engine HP 225
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 275
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic



Road Test

For those who still appreciate Oldsmobile’s former conservative approach, the Ninety Eight provides everything you can ask for. That includes dual airbags (after 1994), standard antilock brakes, acres of passenger room, and excellent acceleration from GM’s 3.8-liter V6, whether you choose the normally aspirated or supercharged versions. The engines deliver brisk acceleration off the line, and the automatic transmission downshifts quickly to make ample passing power available. Expect 16-18 mpg in urban driving, about 25 on the highway.

Head room and leg room are generous for all seating positions in the Ninety Eight, which has room for six adults, if everyone is willing to squeeze a little. Trunk space (over 20 cubic feet) is generous as well, with the flat, wide floor capable of holding several suitcases. The instrument panel has large, well-marked controls and gauges that are easy to read and convenient to use. While it’s easy to see all four corners of the car for parking, thick rear pillars block the driver’s over-the-shoulder view.


Model Tested: 1994 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight

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.


Acceleration - 6
Fuel Economy - 3
Ride Quality - 7
Steering/Handling - 5
Quietness - 7


Controls/Materials - 6
Room/Comfort Front - 7
Room/Comfort Rear - 5
Cargo Room - 4


Value - 6

Total: 56


4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
110.8 205.7 74.6 54.8
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
20.2 18.0 6
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.7 37.7 42.5 40.7
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1993 Ninety Eight 4-door sedan


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
Front Passenger Injury - N/A

Side Impact Test

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


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

Collision 73
Injury 59
Theft 39

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)
Coolant leak
Description: The 3.8-liter V6 may leak coolant into the engine from the intake manifold. A new gasket kit, revised throttle body nuts, and sealing compound is available. Redesigned manifolds are also available in the aftermarket. (1993-96)
Coolant leak
Description: Coolant loss via plastic intake manifold is corrected by installing upgraded manifold and gaskets plus new PCV kit. (1995-96)
Cruise control
Description: If the cruise control doesn’t stay engaged, or drops out of cruise, the brake switch can usually be adjusted to fix the problem. (1991-95)
Engine knock and oil leak
Description: 3.8-liter engines are prone to excessive oil consumption often accompanied by spark knock due to failure of the valve-stem seals. (1993-95)
Engine noise
Description: Bearing knock was common on many 3.8-liter engines due to too much clearance on the number-one main bearing. (1992-94)
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)
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)

Recall History

Description: Parking-brake lever assembly may release when applied; parking brake may then not hold the vehicle.
Description: Console-mounted shift lever may disengage, causing loss of gearshift operation.
Description: Transmission-cooler line in cars with certain powertrains, sold in specified states, can separate at low temperature.
Description: Headlight-switch spring can fail and prevent latching of headlamp in “On” position.
1995 w/Twilight Sentinel
Description: Current leakage can cause loss of headlights and parking lights; or lights may turn on while car is parked.
Description: Damaged capacitor may cause failure of “Key in the Ignition” warning chime and driver seatbelt-unbuckled warning chime and indicator lamp; other functions also may be impaired.
1996 w/3.8-liter V6
Description: Backfire during engine starting can cause breakage of upper intake manifold, and result in nonstart condition and possible fire.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


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