Strengths: Looks, comfortable ride, great hwy fuel economy- most importantly- solid feel to whole car
Weaknesses: repairs, repairs.....hubs, brakes, tensioner, harmonic balancer, idler pulley,tensioner pulley, superchargers,cv axles, steering racks, window regulators, air ride suspension...where the fu*k does it end?
Summary: well..read most reviews carefully...almost all have similar repairs. don't get me wrong; awesome looking and riding car. great fuel milage, solid car. Too many repairs..front hubs, brakes, cv shafts, tensioners and harmonic balancer. I have always been a GM fan, but this is a perfect example of what is wrong with them- once they get ride, power, look and fell just right...the parts don't stand up....Sure the Japs can make a longer lasting car...but they will never feel or ride like these buicks.....you have to decide what you want...looks/power/comfort and most importantly a solid feel--or no repairs but driving what feels like a tin can....
Strengths: Roominess, Low maintenance, High seating position, 4.3 liter with plenty of torque, needs first repair at 6 years old, no endless small repairs like my '87 Astro had. Paint and interior have held up very well. Has never stranded anyone or needed tow. 27 gallon gas tank gives 550+ mile range on trips, easy on tires and brakes. Only 3 or 4 warranty trips during first 3 years. Very nice ride. Plenty of power. All things considered, to have only 2 non-maintenance items fail for a total cost of about $1000 in 6 years is easily made up for by the $6500 discount I got when I purchased it. Engine still like new at 68K mi.
Weaknesses: Transmission has defect that manufacturer knew about, came with cheap battery that terminal was designed to fall off of at 50001 miles. Dealers only stock vans with roof racks that make lots of wind noise. All of these vans come from factory slightly out of allignment, but still managed 62000 miles out of orig tires. Cheap carpet these days is 1/8 inch thick. These things depreciate fast. New ones are up from the $25k this one stickered at, and they drop about $18-20k in 6 years, if you pay full sticker.
Summary: Loved this vehicle for first 5 years. I got a loaded, extended length van with great seats, reliability and gas mileage for the same as what my friend paid for a stripped, manual trans, bottom of the line Honda Civic the same month. The van stickered for $25k and with negotiating, a $3500 rebate, and my $1600 GM card earnings, I got it for 18,500. It came with dutch doors, front and rear a/c, am/fm/cd, Power windows, Power Door Locks and mirrors, remote entry, 4 cap't chairs,V6, auto trans, tilt and cruise. It delivers 24 mpg on the highway, fully loaded up. The biggest problem so far is: At 4.5 years old, I found out that the transmission has an aluminum control module housing that warps and causes an undetectable slippage that the vehicle computer can detect and responds to by taking away the clutch for shifting. Repair is $750. but I haven't done it yet. My friend's has same problem. About 9 months after I bought mine, GM eliminated the aluminum part (went to steel) and fixed problem, but they will not make any reparations for suckers who already own them. Should have been a recall. Mine went at 48000 miles, 12000 out of warranty. Why is the computer programmed to screw up the transmission operation by putting it in a 'Limp' mode for a slippage so slight that the van is still getting 23 mpg on the highway? It's not even rated to get over 21 on the highway, so what is slipping?
Next disappointment is a/c not working this spring at 6 yrs old, 68k mi., when checked. This van doesn't compare to my '87 Astro for major item reliability. There have been no other repairs ever done after warranty expired, so the a/c will be the first. If we want to take the van out of state, we have to fix the trans too. Roof rack is noisy from wind at highway speeds. I planned to keep this van for 10 years when I bought it, as my previous Astro was 11 yrs old when I bought this one. Now the previous one is 17 yrs old and I CAN take IT out of state. I would buy another because they have fixed the trans problem starting in Jan '99.
Similar Products Used: 1987 Astro purchased in 1990 and 174000 miles on it now and still runs good and is still used weekly. I commute 100 miles a day and just got 21.6 mpg with it this week. It has same 4.3 liter V6 and has never needed a drivetrain repair. Nor has it ever had an engine oil or trans fluid leak.
Rating Reviewed by: John (Unregistered User)
Review Date July 22, 2003
Overall Rating 4 of 5
Value Rating 4 of 5
Used product for 3 Months to 1 year
Visitors rate this review 4.70 of 5,
Review 4 of 49
from Camp Chev
Year / Model Reviewed: 1998 Buick Riviera
Strengths: Comfort, Luxury
Power, Speed....with silence.
Mirrors adjust automatically when reversing
Weaknesses: Back seat does not fold down.
Loose suspenion provides smooth ride, but worsens tight cornering
To many buttons for simpletons to use (I like buttons)
Lights are always on. I like to be able to turn them off (daylight running lights)
American made cars still fail to guarantee their products like competitors do.
Summary: The many features make the Riviera a luxerous ride...that can beat an Accord, Civic, or Corolla S in a one block race (1/4 mi?). Once that Supercharger kicks in its all over, I rarely have to wind up past 3k rpm to dust most people. And your passengers in their comfortable leather seats usually fail to notice you just smoked a rice-burner on the green light. You usually have to cruise around 90 for your passengers to notice you happen to be travelling rather fast.
The rear-passengers (under 6') have plenty of room, with comfortable seats.
Similar Products Used: Test Drove many vehicles. Mustang(V6) to small and weak. Accord small and overpriced. Dodge Stratus, Intrepid...not impressed. Oldsmobile...umm not. Pontiacs were nice, Grand Am, Grand Pre, Bonnaville
Strengths: It has a pretty gutsy engine, but I was expecting more. Leather seats are comfortable, but I dont want a car to just make my ass feel good.
Weaknesses: Sound system is weak. Engine needs more juice. Already changed the fuel pump, fan belts, and alternator. Next on the list is the transmission because its shot too. Rather drive a Honda or Nissan.
Summary: This car is a big piece of junk. My 2000 Honda Accord V6 kicks the crap outta it. And my 350Z is one in a million in comparison to the Buick. Buick did some things right with this car, the seats and and quietness of the engine but that is all. I would rather drive a japanese car ANYDAY.