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By Rick Popely
November 23, 1999
Vehicle Overview An anti-skid function based on Cadillac's StabiliTrak system is a new option for the Intrigue sedan. Oldsmobile's version is called Precision Control system, and it applies the brakes to individual wheels when sensors detect the car is about to skid.
Intrigue was introduced as a 1998 model and is the mid-priced model in Oldsmobile's car lineup, larger and more expensive than the Alero but smaller and not as expensive as the Aurora.
Oldsmobile targets import owners with its cars, and the Intrigue aims at the Nissan Maxima and V-6 versions of the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.
Exterior Intrigue adopts the broad-shouldered look of the original Aurora and has similar front styling. The front-wheel-drive Intrigue is based on the same design as the Buick Century and Regal and Pontiac Grand Prix but has different styling than any of those General Motors cousins. All models have standard 16-inch wheels that give the Intrigue a muscular stance.
With a wheelbase of 109 inches and overall length of 196, the Intrigue is larger in both dimensions than its rivals at Honda, Nissan and Toyota.
Interior The Intrigue's larger dimensions give it more interior space than its main rivals, particularly in the rear seat, which has enough headroom and legroom for six footers to sit comfortably. The interior is wide enough for three people, but the center position lacks the leg space of the outboard positions. Split, folding rear seatbacks that can be released from inside the car or trunk supplement the 16-cubic-foot cargo capacity.
Intrigue's well-designed dashboard has a four-dial analog gauge cluster with a duplicate gear readout for the floor-mounted shift lever.
Under the Hood A 3.5-liter V-6 with 215 horsepower and a four-speed automatic transmission is now the only powertrain choice. The 3.5-liter engine is derived from the Aurora's V-8. A 3.8-liter V-6 was phased out during the 1999 model year.
Anti-lock brakes are standard on all models. Traction control is standard on the GL and GLS and optional on the base GX.
Performance The Intrigue is roomy, well-designed, fun to drive and a worthy alternative to V-6 models from Honda, Nissan and Toyota. With a base list price of $22,090, the Intrigue isn't a bargain, but it comes with enough standard features that you won't have to spend thousands on options to make it livable.