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By Jim Flammang
April 15, 2002
Vehicle Overview Positioned between the smaller Alero and the larger Aurora in size and price, the midsize front-drive Intrigue sedan comes with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine and a four-speed-automatic transmission. Three versions are available: the GX, GL and top-of-the-line GLS.
A CD player is a new standard feature in the 2002 model, and LATCH child-seat tethers go into all three backseat positions. The GLS model gains a sunroof, HomeLink universal garage-door opener, drivers power lumbar adjustment and a two-tone interior. In addition, GMs satellite-based OnStar communication system is standard in the GLS sedan. New radios with the Radio Data System are installed in all Intrigues, and a Sun & Sound Package on the GL includes a Bose sound system and a sunroof.
Oldsmobile launched the Intrigue for the 1998 model year, aiming at import-minded buyers. Its principal rivals include the Nissan Maxima and V-6 versions of the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. In December 2000, General Motors announced that the Oldsmobile make would be phased out. The Intrigue is expected to remain in production only until June 2002.
Exterior Although the Intrigue is based on the same platform as the Buick Century and Regal and the Pontiac Grand Prix, styling differs markedly from its GM cousins. With a 109-inch wheelbase, the sedan measures nearly 196 inches long overall and is bigger in both dimensions than its competitors at Honda, Nissan and Toyota. The sedan is 73.6 inches wide and 56.6 inches tall. Standard 16-inch wheels help to impart a muscular stance.
Interior Larger exterior dimensions translate to greater interior space than its main rivals. The rear seat, in particular, has sufficient headroom and legroom for tall passengers to sit comfortably. Three people fit acceptably in the backseat unlike many modern automobiles, which are snug in the rear but the center position has less legroom than the outboard spots.
Split, folding rear seatbacks can be released from inside the car or the trunk. They add potential cargo space to the trunks 17.3-cubic-foot capacity. The well-designed dashboard contains a four-dial analog gauge cluster, which includes a duplicate gear indicator for the floor-mounted shift lever.
Standard GX equipment includes a CD player, tilt steering wheel, air conditioning, automatic power locks, cruise control and power windows. The GL adds remote keyless entry, a six-way power drivers seat and Dimensional sound speakers. Topping the group, the GLS has automatic dual-zone air conditioning, CD and cassette players, and leather-surfaced heated seats.
Under the Hood Derived from the larger Auroras V-8 engine, the 3.5-liter V-6 produces 215 horsepower and teams with a four-speed-automatic transmission.
Safety Antilock brakes are standard on all models, while traction control comes as a standard feature on the GL and GLS sedans. Oldsmobiles electronic stability system, called Precision Control System, is based on Cadillacs StabiliTrak and comes standard on the GLS and as an option on other Intrigues. It applies the brakes automatically to individual wheels when sensors detect that the car is about to skid. Side-impact airbags are not available.
Driving Impressions Roomy and more refined than a lot of domestically built sedans, the well-designed Intrigue has become a worthy alternative to V-6 models from Honda, Nissan and Toyota. Acceleration is strong and smooth, and the Intrigue behaves well on the highway. Though its not the cheapest midsize car by any means, the Intrigue comes nicely equipped.