The Buick Riviera is a full-size sedan that was first introduced for the 1963 model year. The vehicle was the first to feature a 2-door pillarless hardtop design.
Following the 1999 model year, the Buick Riviera was discontinued with no direct successor. During its production run, the vehicle went through eight generations of body design. The final version of the vehicle competed with such full-size luxury sedans as the Cadillac Eldorado, Lincoln Continental Mark VIII and Ford Thunderbird.
Buick Riviera Styling
The eighth and final generation of the Buick Riviera debuted in the 1995 model year. The new design was larger than the previous model, with a length that grew by nine inches and a width that grew by 1.9 inches. The vehicle's exterior also featured a much more rounded design, with sloping hood and oval fenders. The sedan's skeleton was based on the GM G-body platform, which was also used for the Oldsmobile Aurora.**** Overall dimensions for the Buick Riviera include a length of 207 inches, width of 75 inches and height of 55.2 inches.
Buick Riviera Trim Levels
The Buick Riviera was only available in one trim level. However, several upgrade packages were available. Standard features on the sedan included power mirrors, power locks, power steering, power seats, keyless entry, air conditioning with dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, stereo system with cassette player and 16-inch alloy wheels.
A Luxury package added such features as automatic headlights and theft-deterrent system. The Prestige Package was another popular upgrade and featured traction control, front seats with lumbar support and steering-wheel radio controls. Standalone upgrades included a moonroof, heated seats and driver memory seat.**** In the final year of production, approximately 200 Rivieras were released as Silver Arrow models. This limited edition version included unique silver exterior paint and special badges.
Buick Riviera Performance
The Buick Riviera came standard with a 3.8-liter V6 engine that delivered 205 horsepower at 5,200 rpm and 230 lb-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm. A supercharged version of the same engine was available as an optional upgrade. The upgraded engine produced 240 horsepower at 5,200 rpm and 280 lb-ft. of torque at 3,600 rpm. Both engines were mated to a 4-speed automatic transmission. Supercharged Rivieras came with an EPA-estmated 18 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. The base engine offers an approximate gain of 2 mpg in both EPA categories.
Buick Riviera Concept
A Buick Riviera concept car was unveiled at the 2007 Shanghai Auto Show. The American auto industry later got an up close look of the vehicle at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show. The design featured gullwing doors, carbon-fiber body panels and a 2x2 seating layout. While there are no current plans to mass produce the Buick Riviera Concept, the nameplate may follow the revival of the Buick Park Avenue and be reintroduced to international markets such as China.