Buick Riviera (1997)
Great highway car. The Riviera we test-drove was a Series II 3.8liter V6 with a supercharged engine. Suffice it to say, there was noshortage of power in this car. On the open road, it was very comfortableand quiet. Ray took it on a couple of long trips, and it was very sweet onthe highway.
Unfortunately, it's a lousy car off the highway. This car was a completepain in the butt on secondary roads. The Riviera was all over the place. Ithas that famed Buick "QEII" handling package--that is, it is very "sloshy,"to use a technical term. Buick owners have loved and cherished thisquality for generations, and if you like it youll feel right at home inthe Riviera. If it were us, though, we'd rather not have to worry aboutowning a big car that's going to careen into the guardrail every time yougo around a curve. This car could definitely benefit from a much stiffersuspension, but we're sure many of the prospective ownerslike it just the way it is.
What about the looks of the new Riviera? Well, there's just one word wecame up with to describe this car: suppository. Sorry if we offendedyou, but the fact of the matter is that this car looks like...a suppository.Why, consarn it, would Buick design a car to look like a suppository? Theonly rationale we came up with was that this car was designed for olderfolks. And, to be blunt, the designers at Buick probably realized that oldfolks would recognize the shape and feel comfortable around it. Yougot a better theory?
The Riviera is your classic old-style American coupe: much bigger on theoutside than it is on the inside. All in all, it was an unimpressive car.If you like Buicks and classic old-style Buick handling, fine. This mightbe a car for you. But if you've come to appreciate more precise handlingand a greater feel for the road, we'd pass on the Riviera.
One final note: two-door cars should be outlawed. Why? They're carwreckers. The door on the Riviera feels as though its about 20 feetlong. When you're getting out of the car in a parking lot, it's simplyimpossible not to ding the door on the car next to you. The design isabsolutely ridiculous. If manufacturers are going to persist in making carslike this, we're going to insist that they set aside special parkingspots for two-door cars.
View cars.com model report on this vehicle.