1997 Buick Riviera

  • 1997 Buick Riviera Base Coupe

    Base Coupe

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      3.8L V6
    • MSRP
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1997 Buick Riviera Review

A unique full-size coupe.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 1997 Buick Riviera provides one of the few large coupes available on the market. The design looks unique, and not everyone finds it attractive. It provides plenty of power and legroom. The pricing remains competitive and hard to beat. With a large array of options and plenty of standard features, the Buick Riviera offers plenty of value and personality.

The Range

Body Styles: coupe
Engines: 240-hp 3.8-liter V-6, 205-hp 3.8-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: Buick Riviera

What's New

The Buick Riviera sees minimal revisions for 1997. Several new color options enhance the interior and exterior trim. Some additional standard equipment makes the Riviera a better buy, and a few new options join the lineup. New standard features include PASS-key II theft deterrent, memory door locks, and flash-to-pass headlights. A larger coin holder also comes standard. New options include an electronic rear-view mirror with a compass and a parallel parking feature that tilts the passenger-side mirror to help the driver see the curb.


The oval and rounded design might be too much for some. The 1997 Buick Riviera comes in more than 30 paint colors. It represents one of the few large coupes on the market. Standard exterior features include keyless entry, tinted glass, power windows and locks, and 16-inch alloy wheels. Daytime running lights and power exterior mirrors come standard as well. Exterior options include a power moonroof, auto-dimming mirrors, and special factory paints.


The interior comes with a simple dashboard that sports round analog gauges. The wood inserts on the instrument panel and console use real wood and do not look overdone. Cloth seating comes standard on the 1997 Buick Riviera, but leather provides an option. Other standard features include air-conditioning and climate control. The front seats have power, and heated seats remain optional. Cruise control, power brakes, and power steering also provide standard features. Other interior options include rear bucket seats, a power driver’s seat with memory, and a split front bench seat.

Performance & Handling

The Series II 205-hp, 3.8-liter V-6 provides plenty of power for this large coupe. The engine creates 230 lb-ft of torque. The 1997 Buick Riviera accelerates extremely well, reaching 60 mph in less than eight seconds. The optional 240-hp, 3.8-liter V-6 offers even more power. Traction control remains optional for better handling. Power steering and brakes make handling smooth, and cruise control makes longer trips less taxing on the legs. The gas tank holds 20 gallons, and with decent fuel economy for a large car, this means less fill ups during extended drives.


The 1997 Buick Riviera comes standard with a four-wheel anti-lock brake system for safer and quicker stops. Daytime running lights increase the visibility of the Riviera. The front passenger and driver airbags help to prevent injuries. Traction control and auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors serve as optional safety features. An anti-theft alarm system offers another optional safety feature. Unfortunately, the Buick Riviera shows no extensive or conclusive crash test information.

EPA Fuel Economy

Buick Riviera: 18/27 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Distinctive styling
  • Superb powertrain
  • Price
  • Large coupe

You Won't Like

  • Ugly, rounded styling
  • Front drive
  • Dashboard layout

Sum Up

A unique full-size coupe.

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