The Buick Roadmaster began in 1991 as a station wagon built on the Chevrolet Caprice chassis. By 1995, it existed as both a station wagon and sedan. The 1996 model showcases the Corvette’s 5.7-liter, eight-cylinder engine. The Caprice-based chassis often struggled to simply keep up with or stop the robust engine. In addition to the two basic body styles, an up-market Limited version was developed. Called the Estate, the wagon offers plenty of room for the whole family, and manages quick acceleration for a station wagon due in no small part to the implementation of the Corvette engine. It is built at Buick’s facilities in Arlington, Texas. Named for a classic from the 1930s, it was discontinued in 1996.
Body Styles: sedan, wagon
Engines: 5.7-liter eight-cylinder
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: Buick Roadmaster, Buick Roadmaster Limited, Buick Roadmaster Estate
For 1996, the Buick Roadmaster converts to an electronic automatic transmission over the old analog-controlled model. Production of the Buick Roadmaster ceased after the 1996 model was released.
The 1996 Buick Roadmaster is, for better or worse, representative of vehicles of its era and class. The Estate version is often seen trimmed with faux wood grain body side-moldings. All versions feature 15-inch wheels. Factory alloy wheels are also an option across the lineup.
The interior of the 1996 Buick Roadmaster is one of the primary areas where fault is found in the design. Owners report disappointment over cheap, plastic interior elements, false wooden facades, and an unintuitive dashboard control-layout. Nevertheless, stock features include bench seating, air-conditioning, power windows, power door locks, and cruise control. The stock stereo is an AM/FM Cassette model with an optional CD player. Leather seating and a power driver’s seats are also optional.
Performance & Handling
The powerful Corvette engine gives the 1996 Buick Roadmaster incredible acceleration for its size. A four-wheel anti-lock braking system (ABS), and overall rigid suspension make it a solid, confident ride. However, the ride is somewhat lacking in comfort. Optional self-leveling suspension softens the ride, and is among the most desirable upgrades.
Front driver and passenger airbags are standard for the 1996 Buick Roadmaster, as is an anti-lock braking system (ABS). An anti-theft system rounds out the safety considerations afforded to the car.
EPA Fuel Economy
Buick Roadmaster: 15/24 mpg city/highway
- Roomy cabin
- Powerful engine
You Won't Like
- Substandard interior materials
- Poor mileage
- Station wagon stigma
A sturdy, family-oriented American ride.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Ford Taurus
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