Friday, May 26, 2000

MODEL: Oldsmobile Intrigue GL
VEHICLE TYPE: Four-door sedan
MILEAGE: 19 city, 29 highway

Ever hear of a Precision Control System? This feature is available on the 2000 Oldsmobile Intrigue, a first for any midsize sedan.
Something similar to PCS was introduced on Cadillac cars a few years ago under the name StabiliTrak. Other luxury-car manufacturers have similar versions of a stabilizing device to prevent oversteer and understeer when the driver is confronted suddenly with a quick-turn maneuver. Unfortunately, this type of safety feature was available only on high-priced vehicles until now.
The Intrigue is not a high-priced luxury sedan. It’s an affordable five-passenger sedan with a base price of $23,720. Even with leather seats, 16-inch chromed wheels, an upscale sound system and PCS, the total, including destination charges, is $26,765. This means another desirable safety device has filtered down to a car where most buyers can afford it.
PCS, a $595 option, has four components: four-wheel speed sensors, steering angle sensor, integrated yaw sensor and hydraulic control unit. If the vehicle begins to skid, slide or whip out of control because of a sudden turn at high speed, PCS jumps into action and, in most cases, brings the car under control. We’ll never know its full value because records will never be available for accidents that never happened. But believe me, this system, like anti-lock brakes and the air bag, is worth its weight in gold. In addition, the Intrigue also has traction control, which is another form of safety device.
Safety isn’t the only thing that makes the Intrigue sparkle. It has a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that produces a modest 120 horsepower. It’s an all-aluminum engine that produces 19/28 mpg. Harmoniously linked to a four-speed electronically controlled transmission, the engine and transmission work smoothly without noise or effort. I was surprised when I learned the engine only produced 120 horsepower; the Intrigue seemed to have much more giddyap than I needed.
Another area most manufacturers are focusing on is rigid structure and the Intrigue is no exception. A car with a rigid subframe is more capable of producing a smooth, pleasant ride because the components of the suspension system aren’t compromised. The coil springs, gas-charged struts, stabilizer bars, wheels and tires each can do the job intended. As a result, the Intrigue is a real pleasure to drive. Incidentally, without a good suspension, the PCS would not have been possible.
The wheels and tires were the first to catch my eye when I saw this beauty. The chrome wheels glisten and the tires are big. Offsetting the sparkling wheels is a thin strip of chrome around the door windows that adds to the car’s eye-catching appearance.
The interior also has attractive features, starting with the leather seats. Even the steering wheel is wrapped in leather, which is a nice touch. The driver’s seat is power-operated and both sun visors have illuminated mirrors. In addition, these sun visors have pullout extensions.
All the buttons and dials are within easy reach, especially the ones that are laid out on the driver’s door armrest. The rear seat has a pull-down center armrest plus a child-seat top strap. Other features: one-touch down power windows plus a keyless remote lock system. The Intrigue also has a solar-absorbing windshield and rear window and tinted side windows.
The sound system is top-of-the-line and includes cassette, compact disc and automatic sound control.
No matter how you look at it, the Intrigue, equipped with PCS, is an attractive value.

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