General Motors can lay claim to two of the most noteworthy examples of automotive downsizing. On the success side is the Impala/Caprice redesign for 1977. Leaner and more fuel efficient, the downsized big Chevys found the proverbial market sweet spot, and sold like crazy to full-size-car shoppers looking for something trimmer than they had been driving (but not too trim).
On the failure side falls the E-Body redesign for 1986. The E-Body platform, which included the Buick Riviera, Cadillac Eldorado, and Oldsmobile Toronado, underwent a complete redesign for ’86, with each car losing about a foot and a half of length, and more than 500 pounds of curb weight.
Unlike the Impala/Caprice redo, many buyers wanted nothing to do with the downsized E-Body cars, and sales tanked. Blame the lack of a V8 engine, the oddly proportioned styling, and significant price increases for the retail resistance.
Sales of the Toronado, for example, fell by a startling 62 percent, which Eldorado sales plunging even more dramatically.
Presented here is Consumer Guide’s original review of the 1986 Oldsmobile Toronado, complete with the new FE3 sport suspension.
If you have any memories of the ’86 Toro, or any of the downsized E-Body coupes, please share them with us. The place for comments is down below.