Wikicars, a place to share your automotive knowledge


Jump to: navigation, search
Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera
General Motors
Production 1982-1996
Class Intermediate
Body Style 2-Door Coupe
4-Door Sedan
5-Door Wagon
Length 190.3"
Width 69.5"
Height 54.1"
Wheelbase 104.9"
Weight 2700-3200 lbs
Transmission 3-Speed Automatic, FWD
4-Speed Automatic, FWD
Engine 2.2L (134 cid) I4 (1993-1996)
2.5L (151 cid) I4 (1982-1992)
2.8L (173 cid) V6 (1982-1989)
3.0L (181 cid) V6 (1982-1985)
3.1L (191 cid) V6 (1994-1996)
3.3L (204 cid) V6 (1989-1993)
3.8L (231 cid) V6 (1986-1988)
4.3L (262 cid) Diesel V6 (1982-1985)
Power 90-160 hp
Similar Buick Century
Chevrolet Celebrity
Pontiac 6000
Platform A

The Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera was one of GM's new front wheel drive A-bodies introduced in 1982 along with the Buick Century, Chevrolet Celebrity and Pontiac 6000. The A-body was based on the Chevrolet Citation X-body platform, but thankfully didn't share many of the X-body's mechanical woes nearly as much. The Cutlass Ciera was originally intended to be a replacement to the larger, rear-drive Cutlass Supreme, but the Cutlass Supreme remained one of Oldsmobile's strongest sellers, and not about to mess with success, it was decided that there would be plenty of room for both the Cutlass Ciera and Cutlass Supreme. In the mid-1980s, the Cutlass Ciera would become a strong seller in its own right, often being the second most popular selling A-body behind the Chevrolet Celebrity. Only the Cutlass Ciera and Buick Century would survive after 1991. The Cutlass Ciera and Century both would continue being a strong seller with older conservative buyers (and especially with rental car fleets) until its final demise after 1996, being offered for 15 years with only minor year-to-year changes to the same basic body design.

Here's a quick rundown:


1982 models started off with the trusty 92 hp 2.5L (151 cid) "Iron Duke" I4 engine as standard, with the 110 hp 3.0L (181 cid) V6 and the 90 hp 4.3L (262 cid) diesel V6 as options. The 112 hp Chevrolet-built 2.8L (173 cid) V6 was on the options list, but it is believed that that engine was for California-only use (at first). A 3-speed automatic transmission was the only transmission for all engines. Like its other A-body corporate mates, it was available in either a 2-door coupe or a 4-door sedan. The Cutlass Ciera may have been a big departure from traditional chrome-laden rear-drive land-yacht Oldsmobiles of old, but it did have very distinctive "Oldsmobile" styling touches, and it didn't take long for the buying public to embrace it. 1983 models differed very little from the 1982 models, and in 1984, a station wagon model was added in either 6- or 8-passenger variations. Grilles were revised a little this year also, but drivetrain choices remained the same.

In 1985, a new nose was added with a slightly elongated front end with the quad headlights in four individual slots. Taillights were slightly revised also. A new GT model was added, which was Oldsmobile's version of the Pontiac 6000 STE and Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport. The GT had a 125 hp 2.8L V6 as well as full instrumentation, ground effects and unique 2-tone paint as standard. By this time, the Cutlass Ciera was a hit, averaging well over 100,000 sales a year, and no doubt helping Oldsmobile become the 2nd most popular GM division behind Chevrolet. 1986 models got the standard Center High Mounted Stop Lamp (it had become an option a year earlier), and the reverse lights had a clear lense that now stretched all the way across. Also, this year the coupes got a handsome new sloped rear roof design, one not shared with other A-bodies. The 3.0L V6 was dropped in favor of the larger 150 hp 3.8L (231 cid) V6 (standard in the GTs), which also brought about a 4-speed automatic. The smaller 2.8 V6 continued and got fuel injection this year. The Iron Duke I4 also continued, but the largely-ignored diesel was finally dumped. 1987 models had no appreciable changes, but this year the Cutlass Ciera finally surpassed the almighty Cutlass Supreme in sales and was now Oldsmobile's most popular model.

1988 Cutlass Cieras soldiered on with very little change, but the Cutlass Ciera would be slightly restyled for the first (and only) time in 1989, becoming more rounded in the front and rear (in the same vein as the Buick Century and Pontiac 6000) - and finally getting composite headlamps. The 3.8L V6 was dropped this year, being replaced by a smaller 160 hp 3.3L (204 cid) V6. The Iron Duke I4 got an hp boost to 110, and the 130 hp 2.8L V6 would hang on for one more year. 1990 models were visually identical to the '89s, but the 2.8 V6 was no more - the Iron Duke I4 and the 3.3 V6 remained. 1991s had slightly revised taillights (they now had 3 slim body-colored ribs across them), that was pretty much the only change. 1992s wouldn't change much either, but the coupe models would be dropped this year (along with the International Series), leaving only the 4-door sedan and station wagon. This would also be the last year for the Iron Duke I4 engine.

1993 models got a new I4 engine, a smaller 110 hp 2.2L (134 cid) unit, and the 160 hp 3.3L V6 carried on for one more year. A driver's side airbag was now standard. And, now that the Chevrolet Celebrity had been replaced by the Lumina and the Pontiac 6000 had been replaced by the Grand Prix sedan, the Cutlass Ciera and the Buick Century were the only remaining original A-bodies. It was at this time the Cutlass Ciera and Century would become popular with older, more conservative buyers, not to mention become darlings of many rental car fleets. In 1994, the 3.3L V6 gave way to the Chevrolet-built 160 hp 3.1L (191 cid) V6, and the 2.2L I4 got a hp boost to 120. Not many changes at all for the 1995 models, but despite the fact that the Cutlass Ciera was now 14 model years old and had been introduced during President Ronald Reagan's first term, it still averaged over 100,000 sales a year, which is probably why Oldsmobile didn't see much need to mess with success. Plus, despite the rising popularity of minivans and SUVs, this was one of the few models left that still offered an old-school station wagon model (it still had wood paneling too if one so desired). In 1996, the biggest change was that the "Cutlass" name was finally dropped, and the car became simply "Ciera".

Despite the car's continued success as it was, the Ciera, known by some as "the car that just wouldn't die", was finally dropped after 1996, being replaced by an all-new Cutlass sedan in 1997, which was a twin to the Chevrolet Malibu.


Main Competitors

image (between 170-190 pixels)

General Motors Co.

Buick | Cadillac | Chevrolet | GMC | Holden | Opel | Vauxhall | Daewoo | Saab


40 · 53 · 66 · 88 · 98 · 442 · Achieva · Alero · Aurora · Bravada · Curved Dash · Custom Cruiser · Cutlass · Cutlass Calais · Cutlass Ciera · Cutlass Cruiser · Cutlass Supreme · F-85 · Firenza · Intrigue · Limited Touring · Omega · Series 60 · Series 70 · Series 90 · Silhouette · Starfire · Toronado · Vista Cruiser · Fiesta


Golden Rocket · Aerotech · Starfire Concept · F88 · Cutlass Concept · 88 Delta · F88 II · Mona Lisa · Fiesta Carousel · F88 III · X-215 · J-TR · El Torero · Toronado Granturismo · 422 Apollo · Toronado XSR · Incas · Aerotech II · Aerotech III · California Trofeo · Expression · Achieva Concept · Anthem · Hammer · Antares · Alero Alpha · Bravada X-Scape · Recon · Profile · O4 · FE3-X Firenza · FE3-X Calais · FE3-X Hurst Olds Cutlass · Tube Car

Include notable internal links here

Ransom E. Olds Corporate website A brand of the General Motors Corporation