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Oldsmobile Intrigue



  • beach15beach15 Posts: 1,305
    I never knew the Intrigue to be a "complete disaster", but I guess it must have done quite badly, especially being doomed with the Oldsmobile name.

    Traded a Civic for a Cavalier? What, was that guy on drugs?! I'm not even a Civic fan, a Cavalier is just that bad....
  • mfletouvamfletouva Posts: 166
    The Intrigue as a car was not a complete disaster. First year sales were strong and it was pulling in the highest number of important numbers in the entire GM lineup. Marketing from that point just stunk (X-files???) I realize a few people had some bad experiences, but Intrigue reliability was good enough for it to succeed and the automotive press loved the car (rare for a GM product).

    As for the Impala, I drove a rented one for a week or so and came away feeling that it was a very 'comfortable' car, but not a very good driving machine. The 3.4L V6 is way underpowered, but I'm sure the 3.8 does the job nicely. The base suspension is very soft and the car feels very big, although steering was unexpectedly nice. It was very roomy and comfy inside, good for perhaps older folks but not quite my cup of tea.

    I don't know what earlier Intrigues were like, but this car is VERY quiet. I can't get over how much quieter it is than the Alero and Malibu's I drove. I wasn't really expecting that aspect. I know I have the upgraded suspension, but it is just right--not too harsh but certainely well grounded. I'm still learning the car but I'm very impressed so far. One thing I will say is that the Intrigue seems to be less likely to roll than the other GM cars, I've driven (like pick up speed when going downhill), it seems to what to know what the driver wants to do. Its a little harder feeling gas pedal, but once you start it it feels tremendously powerful, but in a much different way than the 3.8.
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    Next time you get in a 300M put it in drive and put your foot on the brake as if you were sitting at a stoplight.
    The whole car will have a slight but noticeable vibration.
    Try that in the intrigue with the 3.5L and you will feel nothing.

    Base Impala has very smooth ride and somewhat floaty. 3.4L is a little underpowered but is actually slightly smoother than 3.8L because it is a 60 degree design which is inherently smoohter in V6 form.

    I have the LS which has the Sport suspension. Not floaty at all, almost as good as the intrigue in the corners. Has a little impact harshness over the small bumps but not as much as the intrigue which could be harsh over certain types of raods.

    Impala has been more reliable for me than my intrigue. I think overall the Impala is better put together and less troublesome. I have a much better dealer also. Impala has a stiffer body structure. Coupled with the slightly softer suspension tuning there are fewer body creaks.

    All 2001 and later wbody cars got additional rear wheelwell liners. This greatly reduced road noise and the rumbling sound emanting from the rear of the car.
  • rjs200240rjs200240 Posts: 1,277
    The Intrigue wasn't called "Cutlass" when it debuted in 1998 because there was a car already called "Cutlass". The Malibu twin. I guess they could have called the Malibu twin the Cutlass Ciera, and the Intrigue the Cutlass Supreme, but I imagine they were trying to move away from that (though I still think the Cutlass Supreme convertible with the 3.4 DOHC is a cool car).

    I imagine the 3.5 wasn't ready because they didn't just want to make a 6-cylinder version of the current Northstar/Aurora. The 3.5 incorporated a lot of changes that eventually went into the Northstar/Aurora for 2000/2001. I would guess they could have debuted it earlier with it like the old Northstar but with less compression, but I think the engine probably turned out better because they waited (heck, the lack of spark plug wires is worth it). But that's just an opinion. I have no idea if that's why it took so long.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    People saying Intrigue was a failure are wrong. The car is still one of the best premium sedans on the road. Intrigues problems stem mostly from poor marketing. Lets face it, people still ask me every so often who makes the Intrigue. The car was simply not in peoples mind when they went car shopping. It was this forum and a Motor Trend review that got me interested, though I do vaguely remember the mysterious X-files campaign if I think about it.

    No the car was not right when it came out and no it was not called Cutlass (thankfully), but over all the car was good. A better made car with the 3.5L would have got it off to a better start, but lets face it, it's marketing that sells cars initially and Olds didn't have it for Intrigue. Even the Alero ads were much better and the car still sells well considering the division is dead.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Cavalier is fine. No it's nothing stellar, but it's cheap and reliable. We had a leased 99 that we gave up in the spring and it had zero issues through the lease, just gas and oil changes. This year the car has the Ecotec under the hood so at least it has a decent engine now. A replacement is long over due though.
  • vcjumpervcjumper Posts: 1,110
    It was a failure in sales, I was not referring to the car itself. I wouldn't own one if I thought that! Ads aside, name aside. Lets face it they had to practically give Intrigues away with incentives and it still didn't sell well after 98. I think earlier Cutlass Supremes did a LOT better in sales, but ofcourse the last Cutlass Supreme was around WAY too long, by what 5 years? I guess you could say that about most GM cars in that era.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    True I suppose.

    Noticed when I was at the dealer for an oil change that they had no new Intrigues left on the lot, just one used 99. Very sad.
  • vcjumpervcjumper Posts: 1,110
    I guess the positive side of it is alot of us here got a lot of car for the money.
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    I would hardly call the car a failure.
    I drove everything before I bought the intrigue and it appealed to me the most. Especially the engine. I knew when I bought it there would be those 3-4 repairs that all of my previous GM cars also required.
    I was unprepared for the litany of problems and "unable to duplicates" I got from my dealer.
    Did I mention how much I like the engine?


    My questions were more like statements and addressed to Olds.

    If the car had been called the Cutlass then they would have a larger customer base.

    Also most of the dealers felt that the car should have offered a bench seat which Chevy has done well with in the curretn Impala.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Bench seats??????? You have got to be joking.

    This car was to compete with the Maximas and V6 Accord's of this world. If the car had a bench, the sales would have been worse than they were.

    As for problems, I have had very few compared with previous cars. One replaced temp gauge and a blown light in the dash is all that's been fixed so far. I do need to have the "flicker" looked at this winter though and I may have the intermediate shaft issue though it seems to have disappeared now.
  • oldsman01oldsman01 Posts: 1,203
    I wouldn't say the Intrigue was a failure, but the marketing of it sure was. Even today when someone asks what kind of car I have, I'll say "an Intrigue" just as someone would say they drove an Accord or a Taurus. And so many times they will ask "who makes that?" And I've had people see my car and ask "when did you get an Infiniti?" I remember the X-files movie ads and thought they were unique and would attract some new traffic for Olds, but they should not have stopped there. Also, first year Intrigues had no "Oldsmobile" badge on them. Combine that with the division had just started using their new emblem and no one knew who made this great looking sedan. Quality control could certainly be improved, but I've seen worse cars sell better(i.e. Taurus, first generation Chrysler LH cars, Mitsubishis, etc). As for the Buick v Olds debate, from a driving enthusiast's standpoint, Buick should have been the one to go. But, having some economics under my collegiate belt, I know that Buicks outsold Oldsmobiles and were more profitable. Oldsmobile's best selling model was the Alero with an average transaction price of around $20K or even less whereas Buick sells nearly as many Centurys at around that price and their best selling model is the LeSabre with an average transaction price of $25K and even more. Despite it's age, the Park Avenue still sells about as well as the Aurora and the Regal sells nearly equal to the Intrigue. So from a financial perspective, GM had more to lose if they dropped Buick. But that doesn't help us who prefer a more styling and driver oriented car. Hopefully future Buicks and Pontiacs will pick up where Olds left off.

    b4z, I've never driven a 300M but I've read many reviews that remarked it's vibration at idle. Same goes for the new Sebring sedan. Thats a shame because both are very good looking cars and could have been seen as possible Intrigue replacements. Other than an occasion shudder at idle, the Intrigue's 3.5 is as smooth as a Northstar V8.

    sales, maybe someone has some figures to back me up, but I believe that for the 98 and 99 model year the Intrigue sold close to 90K units annually. 00s were slightly off that number then 01s took a big downward turn.
  • oldsman01oldsman01 Posts: 1,203
    I know you've mentioned that you've been looking at possible replacements for your Intrigue, have you checked out the 03 Saab 9-3? I haven't driven one, but I've been all over the net looking at info on them and am seriously considering one as an Intrigue replacement. The Cadillac CTS is my first choice, but it is a bit out of my price range right now and I'd like to wait until the new engine come out(and the V series). For the price, the 9-3 offers ALOT of goodies(a la Intrigue) and I optioned one up on Edmunds's site and minus sunroof and upgraded wheels, the MSRP was what my fully loaded Intrigue stickered for. Of coarse I didn't pay anywhere near that, but I thought the Saab seemed like a great value for those who are wanting to move up from the Intrigue a bit, but keep the price near or even a bit below 30K. I hope to test drive one soon and I'll decide then if I want one or not. I'm still not keen on going from a Northstar based DOHC V6 to a turbo four, although Saab does make some of the best fours and hooked to a manual, it might be alot of fun. Also, with Saab under GM now they qualify for GMS pricing(which I am eligible for) so if the car drives well and the dealer will do GMS pricing, I may do a 36 month/15K annually lease. Then I might just get the as it will have more than likely gotten some upgrades and more power by then. Who knows, maybe in 3 years I'll be able to get the V series:)
  • pgl1pgl1 Posts: 63
    The Intrigue had great styling and performance and received terrific reviews from the automotive press, but it never got on anyone's radar screen. I had the same experience as many of you; auto parts store clerks and mechanics always ask me, "Intrigue? Who makes that?" And, others who see my car for the first time mistake it for an Acura or an Infiniti. When the car was first launched, I remember a very well polished tv commercial that mimicked a scene from a mystery movie where the Intrigue was driving along side a train. The commercial which immediately caught my attention did not identify Olds as the manufacturer, and I concluded that I would not be able to afford the car as it must be in the Acura-Infinity price range. The ad was wonderfully stylish unlike the low brow "Start Something" ads which wasted footage and brief viewer attention spans with awkward camera angles that mostly depicted the road rather than the car the ad was trying to sell. Compare GM's lack of effort in marketing the Intrigue with Nissan's well produced and highly visible tv ads for the Maxima, and it's easy to see why Nissan's long in the tooth mark is still in production.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    pgl1 : I totally agree.

    oldsman : Stopped in the local Saab shop on Sunday and looked over the new Saab. Beautiful car. I want to test one at some point, but the reviews I have read on the car are for the most part, absolutely glowing.
  • vcjumpervcjumper Posts: 1,110
    Nissan ads rock, seem to cater to the enthusiast. GM ones seem to highlight financing.
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    Remember the all black Olsmobiles in the cornfield. Couldn't even tell what kind of cars they were?
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    Thats not coming from me, thats what at least 3 different dealers said to me. Maybe they were joking.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    I certainly hope so.. bench seats would scare me away forever.

    You might know the answer to this b4z, does the new 03 Impala LS have a different tail this year? I saw one in the lot when I got my oil changed Friday.
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    2002 Impala Sport came out with body color insert
    on the tailights.
    2003 Impala Sport is identical.
  • TSchrammTSchramm Posts: 106
    Does anyone remember when Olds was selling upwards of a MILLION Cutlass Supremes a year in the mid-to-late 70's? My first car was a '72 Cutlass S Coupe with the Rocket 350. My mom owned a '77 Supreme. They sure looked good for the times.

    As for a replacement, I'm still leaning towards the Acura 3.2 TL Sport. I'm a former Saab owner. Good cars, but its a "been there, done that" for me. Only one Saab dealer in the town I lived in and they treated you like they knew you had no where else to go.

    Make sure if you get a Saab, you've got more than one dealership to choose from for service. If you get one with an "attitude" like I did, then it can definatley negatively impact the total ownership experience The next nearest dealer service department to me was 250 miles away!
  • vcjumpervcjumper Posts: 1,110
    We had a Blue 77 Supreme coupe (as here 77 Cutlass Coupe club)with a white vinyl interior.. Transplanted out the 260 and put in an old Rocket 350 motor into it with my brother, drove it from age 17-19 when it was > 10 years old, changed both 350 pound rusted out doors with identical Buick Century doors from the wreckers.
  • oldsman01oldsman01 Posts: 1,203
    Nearest Saab dealer is at least an 1 1/2 hour away in Chattanooga. That concerns me a bit, but the local Saab dealer was recently aquired by the Cadillac dealer and they have been here for decades and have a pretty good reputation for good service. The same thing is true of Acura as there is not another Acura dealer in the immediate area. Ditto on MB, BMW, Audi, VW, Lexus, etc.

    pgl1, I remember those ads. They ran before the X-files ads did and also for a while afterwards until about mid 99 or so then Intrigue advertising pretty much disappeared.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    My biggest gripe with the 3.2TL is it's looks. Performance and value are great (probably near the top for the class), but I look at the car I just can't imagine buying because it's as boring to look at as a Malibu.

    For the same bucks I'd rather hop in to a loaded Maxima, a 9-3 or for a few bucks more a CTS.
  • could generate a top 10 topic! Have any of ya considered that the name was a failure, not so much the car? GM marketed the car as a mystery when it came out...and they never solved it. I agree with whoever said it would have probably sold as a Cutlass. I never understood why Olds threw away its brand equity by dumping the Olds name and rocket trademark. Marketing must have come from the same firm that did "New Coke".
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    I would think long and hard before i put money into a SAAB. Granted you are leasing and can walk away from it.
    All of my experiences with that car company have been negative.
    It is still a 4 cylinder car.
  • TSchrammTSchramm Posts: 106
    It's all about personal taste.

    Ths CTS looks to me like it had a head-on collision with a brick wall. Car and Driver summed it up for me when it said "The CTS makes a bold statement - problem is, we can't figure out what language it's speaking." Compared to the Acura, it's engine is coarser at high revs, ride is harsher over rough pavement, and steering is heavier. The dealer told me people's reaction has been either they love it or hate it - no middle ground. I'm in the latter group.

    I've driven several Maxima's as rental cars - they're nice, but nowhere as refined as the Acura. Nissan's sports/luxury car is the Infiniti, not the Maxima. The new G35 is a more appropriate comparison to the Acura 3.2 TL than the Maxima.

    As for Saab, as I said, I've been there.

    The Acura doesn't say WOW, but it has a nice conservative, seamless appeal to me. That rear-end of the Maxima looks like the designers got in a hurry by the time the got to the back of the car - it looks bolted on, and not in synch with the rest of the car's styling.

    You're right about performance - to me, when you're sitting behind the wheel, "looks" takes a back seat to perfomance.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    b4z : I have read almost nothing but good things about Saab in recent years. Reliability is as good as any of the other Euro-cars and the 9-3 is getting rave reviews. If there is a good dealer in the area, I suspect oldsman will do real well with a Saab.

    navigator3740 : Killing the Olds name is a BIG mistake for sure. 100+ years of history down the tubes, stupid move by GM. What they should have done is cut the models in both Buick and Olds (say 3 vehicles each) and given them each a niche.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    "when you're sitting behind the wheel, "looks" takes a back seat to performance"

    True, but when I look in the driveway or show a friend, I want to say wow. I just couldn't live with the dull looks but that's me. Good luck with the purchase.

    Have you tested a CTS? I found it handled better than the TL and I certainly didn't find the engine courser (though it did lack the power of the TL).
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    I have yet to figure out the purpose of Saturn.
    It would have been better if they had just the name of Oldsmobile to Aurora. At least the heritage of Olds would have carried on.
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