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|Also called||Buick Somerset Regal
|Assembly||Lansing, Michigan, United States|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||2-door coupe
4-door sedan (1985 only)
|Layout||Transverse front-engine, front-wheel drive|
Pontiac Grand Am
|Wheelbase||103.4 in (2,626 mm)|
The Somerset was one of a number of down-sized cars built on GM's N-body. Destined to replace the Buick Skylark, the Somerset name badge failed to resonate with the buying public. Initially launched as the Somerset Regal in 1985, the name was shortened to Somerset in 1986, when a four-door sedan version of the car was added under the Buick Skylark name.
The Somerset did not do as well in the marketplace as the Pontiac Grand Am which was based on the same platform. The Somerset did have some interesting features such as an all-digital instrument cluster, passive restraints, and a surprisingly luxurious interior despite its small size.
Nonetheless, there were some problems with the Somerset Regal. The factory alternator was unable to adequately handle the electricity demands of the all-digital dashboard, often resulting in charging system failure.
The standard I-4 "Iron Duke" engine also was criticized as being too underpowered and noisy, even for an entry-level personal luxury car.
Another was the awkward design of the radio. Rather than the standard in-dash unit, the radio was mounted on a pod that rose above the heater and air conditioning controls on the center console. This made it extremely difficult and expensive for owners who wanted to upgrade the factory system to an aftermarket one.
Starting in 1988, the Somerset name was discontinued, and all models were called Skylark.
The Somerset was entered in the Trans Am Series using an aftermarket V8 engine.
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