1998 Oldsmobile Aurora

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Key specs

Base trim shown

  • Body style not available

  • Combined mpg not available

  • Seating not available

  • Length not available, Height not available

  • Drivetrain not available


1 trim

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

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1998 Oldsmobile Aurora review: Our expert's take


OK, so maybe I’m just shallow. Maybe I’m like the guy who dates a fashion model with the brains of a fireplug because she’s great to be seen with.

But I hope it doesn’t mean I lack depth when I say:

I really like the Oldsmobile Aurora because it’s so darned good-looking.

By any standard, this is a beautiful automobile, a modern take on a classic form. The Aurora is elegant in its dimensions and complex in its multiple curves and facets.

And it’s a purely American shape, owing nothing to the Europeans or Japanese. Along with its platform sibling, the Buick Riviera coupe, Aurora carries General Motors’ styling from auto-show concept to the showroom.

Oh yeah, and the interior’s nice, too.

But handsome is as handsome does, and unlike the vapid fashion model, Aurora has the guts and finesse to back up its physical charms. The sedan goes as well as it shows, powered by GM’s smooth, responsive Northstar V-8.

For a big car, it’s plenty quick, sprinting to 60 miles per hour in just a smidgen over eight seconds. The electronic transmission adjusts with a push button from normal shifting performance, holding each gear higher in the rev range and downshifting easier.

Aurora’s all-independent suspension has been worked over for ’98 to improve ride and cornering, making it a better handler without compromising its luxury ride. Handling is balanced and predictable, with minimal body sway and without harshness or jounce.

The Aurora/Riviera platform was something of a tour de force for GM engineers, making these cars especially quiet and tractable and permitting the springs and shocks to be tuned more toward performance. The platform is so good that Cadillac has begun using it as the underpinnings of its Seville performance sedan.

The Aurora’s steering could use a little finesse, though, feeling too numb relative to the handling capabilities of the suspension. The steering does not have to feel like something from a sports car, but even for a big luxury car, it needs to be sharper, with more feedback.

Speaking of luxury, the interior really is nice, well-designed and straightforward, with clear gauges, good proportions and a super stereo. (I am especially fond of GM’s Delco-Bose systems.) The leather seats are soft and cushy, like easy chairs in a family room, while still being supportive on curves.

The back seat is commodious; the trunk is huge.

Inside the Aurora is where you find evidence of Oldsmobile’s goal of attracting mid-40s drivers from their Volvos and BMWs. It has a European aura, right down to the Mercedes-like switches on the doors to adjust the seats.

An electronic glitch in our test car rendered the passenger’s seat adjuster useless. In fact, the lumbar adjustment on the passenger door changed the driver’s seat instead. Too weird.

The seat belts need to be height adjustable, a fairly common feature, for safety and comfort.

Although the Seville shares Aurora’s platform, the Olds borrows something just as good from the Caddy: the four-cam, 32-valve North-star engine, a refined performer that pulls like a drag racer without the rough edges of a muscle car.

The Aurora, which first appeared in 1994, began a string of hits for once-beleaguered Oldsmobile, including its new midsize car, Intrigue.

As luxury sedans go, the Aurora has it all. Except the price tag. Certainly not cheap, but here’s a well-appointed, good-driving and, lest we forget, great-looking automobile that starts fully loaded at $36,000.

Although Oldsmobile might not have the prestigious cachet of, say, Cadillac, Lincoln, Lexus, Jaguar or Mercedes-Benz, it has just about everything else.

1998 Oldsmobile Aurora

Vehicle type: Five-passenger, four-door sedan, front-wheel drive. Base price: $36,625. Price as tested: $38,000. (approx.) Engine: 4.0-liter V-8, 250 horsepower at 5,600 rpm, 260 pounds-feet of torque at 4,400 rpm. Tr ansmission: Four- speed automatic. Curb weight: 3,967 pounds. Length: 205.4 inches. EPA fuel economy: 17 mpg city, 26 mpg highway. Highs: Sharp styling. Sparkling performance. Excellent value. Lows: Numb steering. No seat-belt adjustment. Electronic glitch.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.6
  • Interior design 4.7
  • Performance 4.0
  • Value for the money 3.9
  • Exterior styling 4.5
  • Reliability 3.9

Most recent consumer reviews


Amazing Car!

Since I saw this car in 95, I fell in love with the design! I think that it is one of a few cars ever built that have absolutely beautiful front, side, and rear! It is such a revolutionary design that even in 2019 it stands out among modern cars. People are constantly approaching it with curiosity and complements. After 25 years, still drives and looks like new!


Designed by an artist,not a technition

I bought mine for $9,700 @101,000 miles.All options except heated seats,autobahn package(very rare option)or the upgraded stero.The seats spoil you for life.The bolstering and quality of the leather is better than current car s.The room inside is huge in all dimension s.The way the Windows curve into the roof can make some think it has less room than it has,but l love that style.The top of the Windows have no frame,so rain well leak in more easy.Each time you park it,check to make sure all windows are rolled up fully,they will sag down on their own. The trunk is huge,18 square feet.It is difficult to reach in to back,just put stuff in cargo bags with a handle on the end to pull it out,easy access.l had to replace the suspension arms that support the trunk,a little expensive. I got hit in the rear very hard in gridlock traffic,4 times in a row!!! In about 20 seconds!The car that hit me was hit from behind,a Malibu,it was totaled!I thought my Aurora was too,but just scratched paint!Took to dealer,said it undamaged! This is not a sports car,but it is fun in wide,sweeping turns.The suspension is soft and will wallow in tight turns.But on the freeway the ride is perfect.The rear suspension lowers down for a better ride.l had the air compressor run to the point of killing the cars battery a few times.Jacked up the rear of car,this is when l am done with work and car has been parked 8 hours!The cure was to disconnect the battery each time l parked the car for awhile.Ackward to do since battery is under the rear seat! I went out of state for 2 weeks with battery disconnected,never had that issue again. When you park the car don,t make my mistake,l would always be afraid it would be hit in parking lot,so l would pull all the way forward over curb till tires touch.There is a rubber air dam underneath that would be struck,folded over and block the air passage to the radiator.(no air vent above)The one tinny bolt that holds it in place would be knocked out.Now it will overheat bad!Take a look under there from time to time! This car is terrible as far as turning radius,be ready for awkward parking lot situations.The visibility is excellent,except if you have an early 1995 model,the rear window has bad distortion.lf you put tinted windows on the rear window can,t have top 3-4 inches tinted,factory sticker there. Since it is front wheel drive with a Cadillac North Star v8,it get,s good traction in rain,at least with my driving style.Great sound to the motor when peddle to the floor.The rear seat fold down center console is the best designed l have still ever seen.open cup holders(simple and effective)with inside storage!(good place to hide your wallet when go to gym,but fold the center cosole in the up position before) I drove my aurora 101k -232k,got hit by a pick up truck.lf they made it now l get it again.10 years,every 2 weeks take it to the brown bear drive through car wash,fresh wax each time!Oil changes every 3 k miles.First 5 years not leak much oil,last few leaked it did.Put cardboard under the motor at least an hour to find out. Now it will be hard to find one in great condition,but worth it if you can!Price will be dirt cheap!A future collectors item?!!!


The only car I?ve had an emotional attachment to

I loved the design of this car from the moment I first set eyes on it. I never thought I could afford one, but in 1998, I was able to buy a new one. Deep emerald green with black interior. How I?ve babied it over the years, only driving it on special occasions. It?s never given me a bit of trouble, and today at 20 years old with 75,000 miles on it, I still own it. All my other cars could burst into flame and all I?d do is break out a bag of marshmallows. But there?s something about this car that while I?m driving it, gives me a deep, almost visceral pleasure. Butter-smooth transmission, and seeming to float over bumpy roads. Yeah baby, I?ll have this car until I die.

See all 11 consumer reviews

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