New Car Review

OLDSMOBILE CUTLASS SUPREME CONVERTIBLE

by: BILL RUSS

Oldmobile's Cutlass Supreme Convertible is unique among convertibles in a couple of respects. It is Old's only soft-top, and one of only a very few in the entire General Motors lineup. Also it is the only American production convertible with a built in roll-over bar. This limited production model is derived from the Supreme Coupe, and its prominent roll-over bar serves two purposes: it adds structural strength and rigidity to its platform, and it provides a margin of safety in the event of an accident that flips the car over. When the top is down it is definitely an open car, but when the snug-fitting top with its interior liner is up this particular Cutlass Supreme is almost as quiet as a coupe.

For those who desire greater performance from their Cutlass Supreme Convertible, Oldsmobile now offers the 3.4 liter, Twin Dual Cam, 24-valve, multiport fuel injected V-6 as an option. This improved engine develops a hearty 200 horsepower and 215 foot pounds of torque at just a modest decrease in EPA fuel economy, and quite an increase in the fun quotient of driving.

APPEARANCE: This mid-size convertible is well-lighted in front with six low-profile headlamps surrounding the Olds logo, plus two driving lights in the integrated bumper. A wide plastic bumper strip extends down each side, and offers parking lot protection as well as a styling cue. Michelin all-season tires are installed on special five-spoke alloy wheels. The door handles are on the B pillars, which are structurally tied into the prominent roll-over bar. The tight-fitting top is easily raised or lowered at the touch of a button, but installing the boot is a bit of work. The flat rear deck hides a not-too-spacious trunk that loses some space that is needed for storing the soft-top.

COMFORT: The convertible is equipped with the same conveniences as the Cutlass Supreme coupe, and has the added advantage of top- down driving when desired. However, when getting in or out of the rear seats do not forget about the overhead structural support, and remember its there for your protection. Front seating is quite roomy, and custom comfortable for the driver with the 6-way power seat. When the top is up the rear seat armrest can be transformed into a passthrough for carrying skis or other long items. Windows, locks and mirrors are powered, but an excess of control buttons adorn the dashboard. This makes the optional tilt steering wheel mounted remote controls for the sound and climate systems quite desirable. In hot weather the air conditioner comes in handy even when the top is down, and it works well when its up, too. Additionally, the AM/FM/CD unit provides good fidelity and tone to the front and back seats. The "rally" instrument display is complete, informative and easy to read.

ROADABILITY: The convertible is fitted with the same newly revised four-wheel independent handling and touring suspension package as other deluxe Cutlass Supreme models. The structural rigidity added by the roll bar makes it ride and handle just as well as the hard tops. Its ride is fairly smooth and not too firm, and it tracks well through curves and turns. Four-wheel disc brakes are standard. The anti-lock system is optional but worthwhile as it only takes one quick and safe accident avoidance stop to pay for it.. With the top up rearward vision is restricted, but the large side mirrors offer some improvement.

PERFORMANCE: The 1993 convertible can be optionally updated with improved horsepower and performance from GM Powertrain's proven 3.4 liter Dual Twin-Cam V-6. Its increase of 60 horsepower provides the added pep that was lacking in earlier models. The console-mounted, electronically controlled four-speed Hydra-Matic transmission delivers smooth shifts up and down the gear ranges, and "hunting" while climbing grades is virtually eliminated., and driving pleasure is enhanced.

SUGGESTIONS: Add front seat air bags. Replace the door-mounted front seat belts with height adjustable B pillar shoulder straps. Develop an easy to install boot cover for the top when down.

ECONOMY: EPA mileage are 17 city/26 highway. My overall average for the week was 22.7 mpg.

CONCLUSIONS: The Olds Cutlass Supreme Convertible is in a class by itself! It's an American-built, well-powered, excellently equipped, and quite comfortable four-passenger soft-top sporty vehicle that can be fun to drive in a wide variety;y of weather conditions. Oldsmobile's Leading Edge program practically guarantees owner satisfaction for 3 years or 36,000 miles encompassing a wide variety of events.

PRICE AS TESTED: $ 27,148, including option package 1SC, plus leather, ABS and more.

BASE PRICE: $ 22,699, with the 3.1 liter V-6, and many value items.

SPECIFICATIONS:
OLDSMOBILE CUTLASS SUPREME CONVERTIBLE

           Base Price              $ 22,699    
           Price As Tested         $ 27,148
           Engine Type             V-6. dohc - 24v, mpfi
           Engine Size             3.4 liter/204 cid
           Horsepower              200 @ 5000
           Torque (ft/lbs)         215 @ 4000
           Wheelbase/Length        108"/194"
           Transmission            four-speed automatic w/od
           Curb Weight             3680
           Pounds per Horsepower   18
           Fuel Capacity           16
           Fuel Requirement        Unleaded regular (89 oct)
           Tires                   Michelin XGT H4 P225/60R16 
           Brakes                  anti-lock optional  disc/disc
           Drive Train             front engine/front drive     
           
                        PERFORMANCE
           
           EPA Economy - miles per gallon,
             city/highway/observed  17/26/22.7
           0 to 60 mph              8.5 sec
           1/4 mi (E.T.)            16.6 sec

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