The front-drive Intrigue sedan fits between the smaller Alero and larger Aurora in size and price in Oldsmobiles three-car lineup. General Motors OnStar satellite-based communication system is now standard on the GLS model the most-expensive Intrigue and all models get a standard filtration system that removes pollen and other irritants from interior air.
The Intrigue was introduced as a 1998 model and is aimed at import owners. Key targets include the Nissan Maxima and V-6 versions of the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.
The front-drive Intrigue is based on the same platform as the Buick Century and Regal and Pontiac Grand Prix but is styled differently than those General Motors cousins. With a 109-inch wheelbase and an overall length of 196 inches, the Intrigue is larger in both dimensions than its rivals at Honda, Nissan and Toyota.
All models have standard 16-inch wheels that give the Intrigue a muscular stance.
The Intrigues larger dimensions give it more interior space than its main rivals, particularly in the rear seat, which has enough headroom and legroom for tall passengers to sit comfortably. The interior is wide enough for three people, but the center position lacks the legroom 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. The Intrigues well-designed dashboard has a four-dial analog gauge cluster with a duplicate gear reading for the floor-mounted shift lever.
Under the Hood
A 215-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 engine and a four-speed automatic transmission is now the only powertrain choice. The 3.5-liter engine is derived from the Auroras V-8.
Antilock brakes are standard on all models. Traction control is standard on the GL and GLS and optional on the base GX.
An electronic stability system, based on Cadillacs StabiliTrak system, is standard on the GLS model and optional on other Intrigues. Oldsmobile calls its version the Precision Control System, and it applies the brakes to individual wheels when sensors detect the car is about to skid.
Side-impact airbags are not available on the Intrigue.
The Intrigue is roomy, well-designed, fun to drive and a worthy alternative to V-6 models from Honda, Nissan and Toyota. The 3.5-liter V-6 engine delivers smooth, brisk acceleration, and all models have commendable handling ability.
With a base price of $22,395, the Intrigue isnt a bargain, but it comes with enough standard features that wont force you to spend thousands on options to make it a livable vehicle.