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1992 Buick Skylark

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1992 Buick Skylark
Available in 4 styles:  Skylark 4dr Sedan shown
Asking Price Range
Estimated MPG

19–23 city / 29–31 hwy

Expert Reviews

    Expert Reviews 3 of 4
1992 Buick Skylark
$ 1,247-4,231
November 24, 1991
General Motors Corp. founder William C. Durant entered the automobile business in 1904 by assuming control of the failing Buick Motor Co.

Durant's philosophy was quite fundamental: design a small, moderately priced automobile and make a lot of them.

Eighty-eight model years later, the same principle still holds at Buick. While the 1992 Buick Skylark is a huge technological advance over Durant's 1904 Buick Model B, it still is a compact, moderately priced automobile.

In its day, the Model B was considered a pretty stylish set of wheels, and the same can be said for the front-drive 1992 Skylark introduced officially Friday. Available in coupe or sedan form, the model features new styling, a new standard engine and the highest level of standard equipment ever offered in a Buick compact.

One of its more interesting features is the single-overhead-cam four-cylinder engine that is the newest member of GM's Quad 4 engine family.

Called the Quad OHC, the 2.3-liter power plant is a takeoff on the 16-valve Quad 4 engine. But instead of having two overhead cams and four valves per cylinder, it has one overhead cam and two valves per cylinder. It replaces GM's 2.5-liter four-cylinder Iron Duke that has been around for what seems forever.

The standard Skylark also is available with a 3300 Series V-6, and with the new Quad OHC it's a matter of giving a little to get a little.

What you give away to the V-6 is some power and performance, as the 3300 is rated at 160 horsepower vs. 120 horsepower for the Quad OHC. What you get is lower cost and better fuel mileage. The V-6 costs an additional $460.

"If it was my money," said Gregg Hutchinson, vice president and general manager of Ogle-Tucker Buick, "I'd spend the $460. It's (the V-6) a far better performer, and the difference in fuel mileage isn't that much."

The fuel consumption rating on the four-cylinder is 24 miles per gallon in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. For the V-6, its 19 and 29.

"We think consumer preference is going to run about 60 percent for the V-6, 40 percent for the 4," said Jerry Alexander, general manager of Dave Mason Buick. "We still have a number of customers who want the economy and use it for a second car."

The single-cam 4 is cheaper to build than the V-6. And it's a really slick piece of engineering in that about 70 percent of it already was in place in the 16-valve Quad 4.

The new Skylark is a pretty nice-looking automobile. Its styling is the work of the exterior-design studio headed by Wayne Kady.

The vertical bar grille was inspired by the 1939 Buick. But the rest of the car, with its free-flowing lines, is the 1990s.

There is a family resemblance to other Buick models, but mostly the car goes its own way.

"What our customers seem to be impressed with is the interior and the instrument panel," Alexander said. "The overall styling is great, but the panel really catches their eye."

The instrument panel sweeps across the cockpit into the doors. On th e sedans, the theme is carried into the rear-door panels.

Instrumentation consists of a complete range of analog gauges, with the tachometer and speedometer directly in front of the driver. Support system gauges lie on both sides of these two principle instruments.

Responsibility for this part of the Skylark lies with Buick's interior-design studio that is headed by Paul Tatseos. At the announcement of the car by the factory, Tatseos said, "This probably is the most dramatic instrument panel we've done in a long time."

For '92, there are Skylarks, and then there are Gran Sport Skylarks, models designed to attract the racier set.

To whet the appetite of the performance buffs, there are the Gran Sport coupe and sedan models. These are automobiles in which the 3300 V-6 is standard. And there are features such as a new adjustable ride-control system, Eagle GA 16-inch blackwall tires,cast aluminum wheels, and a host of interior sports-oriented items.

The cars can be ex pected to p erform well, especially the coupe, which is the lighter of the two at 2,901 pounds. However, the sedan is not much heavier at 2,965 pounds.

The performance potential sort of reminds one of Buick's former slogan, "Wouldn't you really rather drive a Buick." With 160 horsepower and a 103.4 inch wheelbase, probably so.

Indianapolis's three Buick dealers, Dave Mason, Ogle-Tucker, and Stitzer are marketing a standard Skylark that has a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $13,560. For the Gran Sport, it's $l5,555.

"The standard one will be the bread-and-butter car," Hutchinson said. "But the Gran Sport will get the attention."

    Expert Reviews 3 of 4

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