1997 Buick Riviera Supercharged 3.8L V6 from North America


Gorgeous and distinctive, but lots of little problems


Transmission went out completely at about 52,000 miles -- very surprising. Fortunately an extended warranty covered the cost of replacement. Since then transmission has been flawless.

Electrical items act up, but not all the time (such as the memory seat feature and the side mirror which tilts down in reverse gear for parking.)

BIGGIE: sending unit on gas tank showed defect at about 50,000 miles, so gas gauge is only accurate for about 1st 1/2 of each tank. Replacement cost was estimated at $800 by dealer, so I just use trip odometer. Very disappointing (and apparently unusual.)

Slow oil leak in engine since about 60,000 miles (add about a quart every month or two), but has not caused any problems.

Drivers window shorted out at about 72,000 miles, repair was about $180.

Lots of little problems adding up.

General Comments:

In spite of the problems, I have loved the car. Even though there are many small problems, the car has not let me down and still rides and runs like new, in most respects. The engine is as smooth and quiet as new. The car handles great, and the ride is super smooth.

The styling is A+ -- one of the most distinctive cars on the road. It combines Buick heritage with a futuristic look and doesn't look that out of date even though the design is approaching ten years. It looks expensive, but there are not many around so people usually don't know what it is. Interior, especially dash, is also gorgeous and distinctive, and the leather seats are amazingly comfortable, even on long drives. Very easy on the back.

Climate control system is amazing -- cools automatically and quietly and I've had no problems with it. Just set the temperature and forget about it.

Stereo sound quality of the combo AM/FM - tape - CD unit is very good, and the controls easy to operate, but the system could use more amplification. Fine with windows up. The center console was not designed with CDs in mind, so it's a hassle fitting them in there without rattling around.

One of my favorite features are the steering wheel controls for the radio -- very convenient! Power antenna seems like a breakdown waiting to happen, but so far so good. Newer cars have antennas integrated into the rear windows instead, for good reason.

On the down side, the resale value has dropped precipitously. Also, the large size of the car makes it tricky to park in many situations.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 21st May, 2003

3rd May 2007, 09:12

I also love this car! Its fast, and has a lot of neat options. I’m sorry to have to throw it away at 140,000 miles. The gas gauge stopped working, the transmission is making a lot of noise, bearings replaced, the heat and ac stopped working, the sunroof is very tricky to operate, it eats belts every 25,000, the trunk paint has always been different then the rest of the car, the supercharger is making a noise "needs to be rebuilt" and the air ride is starting to leak. since I liked this car so much, I was tempted to fix it all, but my friends told me to sack up and buy a new car. so off to the junk yard she goes.

1997 Buick Riviera 3.8 Supercharged V6 from North America


A great car


I bumped my rear-view mirror loose and to completely repair it, it would need to be replaced. Cost - almost $600.

For some reason the Goodyear tires on this car seem to have major problems (abnormal wear on one tire alone, early belt separation). But I don't blame this on the car itself.

General Comments:

Beautiful outside. Inside is almost as great as the outside, a little boring.

Engine performance is excellent for the size of the car. Not the fastest car on the road, still fairly quick. Good gas mileage.

A little uncomfortable to drive if you're tall, as is any car though. Any Riviera that you keep in good shape and maintain will stay a beautiful, great running car forever.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th April, 2001