Midsize car; Built in USA
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,600 – $3,900*


2000 Oldsmobile Intrigue


1998 Oldsmobile Intrigue


1998 Oldsmobile Intrigue interior


1998 Oldsmobile Intrigue


2000 Oldsmobile Intrigue

Pros:
  • Acceleration
  • Standard antilock brakes
  • Passenger and cargo room
  • Ride
  • Steering/handling
Cons:
  • Climate controls
  • Engine noise (early models)

Intrigue is more sophisticated than the brash Grand Prix, and more nimble and poised than a Ford Taurus or Toyota Camry V6. If you’re looking for an impressive midsize car with a thoughtful blend of features and performance, don’t decide until you’ve driven this pleasant and surprising Olds.

Overview

Similar in structure to the Buick Regal and Pontiac Grand Prix, Oldsmobile’s new front-drive midsize sedan flaunted an importlike personality. Introduced in May 1997 as an early ’98 model, Intrigue replaced the Cutlass Supreme. Styling differed considerably from the Regal and Grand Prix. Intrigue also diverged in its chassis tuning, equipment, and some dimensions. Wheelbase, for instance, was 1.5 inches shorter for the Intrigue than for Pontiac’s Grand Prix. Oldsmobile marketed the Intrigue in a single body style with one powertrain, one seating configuration, and one suspension setup. Base and upscale GL editions went on sale, each powered by a 3.8-liter V6 with an automatic transmission. A console-mounted gearshift was installed, between front bucket seats. Four-wheel antilock disc braking was standard, as was a traction-control system. Intrigues rode 16-inch touring tires on aluminum wheels. Rivals included the Honda Accord, Nissan Maxima, and Toyota Camry. No conventional Oldsmobile badging was displayed, presumably because marketers wanted the Intrigue to be seen as a distinct, special model.

Yearly Updates

1999 Intrigue
A sophisticated new V6 engine became available for the midsize Intrigue, to help give Oldsmobile buyers a reason to pick it over a comparable Honda Accord or Toyota Camry. The new dual-overhead-cam, 3.5-liter V6 produced 215 horsepower and ran on regular fuel, whereas twin-cam engines in the Camry and Accord needed premium gasoline. As the model year began, the new engine was standard in the top-line GLS and optional in base GX and midlevel GS models. Later, it became standard across the board, edging aside the original 195-horsepower, 3.8-liter V6. Decklids now wore Oldsmobile script, ending a complaint that some people didn’t realize these were Oldsmobiles. All models got a thicker, leather-wrapped steering wheel. GM’s OnStar emergency/communications system joined the options list.
2000 Intrigue
An antiskid system joined the options list this year. Called the Precision Control System, it was designed to help keep the car on its intended path by selective braking of one or more individual wheels. Though optional on all models, GX buyers had to order optional traction control to get the new antiskid system. Also new this year were standard retained accessory power and an optional gold-trim package. GLS sedans gained standard heated power front seats. As before, Intrigue came in GX, GL, and top GLS trim.
2001 Intrigue
Traction control became optional instead of standard on base, and all models gained new standard automatic headlights for 2001. Also newly available this year were Premium Leather and Precision Sport option packages.
2002 Intrigue
Production of the Intrigue ended in June 2002 as part of the phaseout of the Oldsmobile brand. There were no significant changes for the 2002 model year.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

First-year models all had a 3.8-liter V6 engine and 4-speed automatic transmission. A new dual-overhead-cam 3.5-liter V6, delivering 215 horsepower, went into upper models as the 1999 season began. That engine then became standard in all Intrigues.

ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.8/231
Engine HP 195
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 220
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

19/30

21.7

dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.5/211
Engine HP 215
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 230
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

19/27

19.0

Road Test

Intrigue comes as close as any domestic sedan to equaling the feeling and philosophy of formidable import designs, such as the Nissan Maxima and Toyota Camry. It’s inviting to drive, with little body lean and stable handling along twisty stretches. You also get plenty of “pull” from the 3.8-liter V6. An early GL accelerated to 60 mph in 7.6 seconds, averaging 21.7 mpg on regular fuel. Later models with the 3.5-liter engine turned out to be less frugal: in the 17.7 to 19.5 mpg neighborhood. The responsive automatic transmission is smooth-shifting and well-behaved.

A solid structure and taut suspension provide a stable ride and comfortable handling, with very good grip and balance in turns. Little floating or wallowing can be discerned over uneven pavement. Intrigue has better steering feel than the Camry, and a more controlled ride than either the Maxima or the Camry. Still, you can get tire and suspension thump over sharp bumps and ridges. The ride remains comfortably absorbent, even with the Autobahn Package–an option on the GL that included firmer tires and larger brakes. Tires in the Autobahn Package provide better grip and crisper cornering behavior. Stopping power is strong, though some drivers might consider brake-pedal feel to be numb.

Front bucket seats, which are firm and supportive, have ample fore/aft travel, giving tall folks room to stretch. Some shorter drivers might find the lower cushion a bit long. Others could consider the lumbar support to be too prominent. The rear seat is less spacious, though there’s more than adequate head and leg room for most adults and the doors are wide enough for easy entry/exit. Intrigue’s driving position is comfortable, commanding, and should suit most people. A tilt steering wheel has been standard, and a power driver’s seat might be installed. Lexus could have designed the dashboard, which puts everything within easy sight and reach in a modern, attractive design. One exception: The automatic-temperature control panel on GL/GLS models is too low to reach easily while driving. Even more serious, it has difficulty defogging windows in some chilly, damp conditions. Cargo space is more than competitive for its class. The trunk floor is flat and wide, and there are no bulky hinges to intrude into the cargo area.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2002 Oldsmobile Intrigue GX

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

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Front - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Rear - 5
50%
Cargo Room - 5
50%

Other

Value - 5
50%

Total: 56

Specifications

4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
109.0 195.9 73.6 56.6
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
16.4 18.0 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.3 37.4 42.4 36.2
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1999 Intrigue 4-door sedan

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

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

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 3
60%
Rear Passenger Injury - 1
20%

HLDI

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

Collision 71
Injury 56
Theft 40

Trouble Spots

Alarm system
Description: If the key reminder continues to sound after the key is removed from the ignition and the power door locks do not work, the lock cylinder must be replaced. (1998-99)
Brake noise
Description: During moderate application, the rear brakes make a moaning sound. New pads are available to correct the problem. (1998-99)
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. (1998-2002)
Coolant leak
Description: Coolant loss via plastic intake manifold is corrected by installing upgraded manifold and gaskets plus new PCV kit. (1998-02)
Engine misfire
Description: The engine develops an ignition miss because the grease in the spark-plug boots causes them to crack. (1998)
Engine temperature
Description: Overheating and coolant loss may be due to rough surface on radiator filler neck. Neck should be sanded smooth and cap replaced. (1999-2000)
Wipers
Description: The windshield wipers may not park at the bottom of the windshield because water gets into the motor assembly and freezes. (1998)

Recall History

1998-99
Description: Some cars were built with rear-seat shoulder belts that could twist, allowing webbing to jam in retractor.
1998-99 w/ normally aspirated 3.8-liter V6 engine
Description: Some of these vehicles have a condition in which drops of engine oil may be deposited on the exhaust manifold during hard braking. If the manifold is hot enough and the oil runs below the heat shield, it may ignite into a small flame. Dealers will remove the spark plug wire retention channel at the front of engine and install two new spark plug wire retainers free of charge.
2000
Description: Internal fluid leaks in brake-control unit of some cars may prevent rear-brake proportioning, ABS, traction control, or stability control from performing as designed.
2000-01
Description: Some seatbelt assemblies were not properly heat treated and do not pass the load-bearing requirement.

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.