It was initially based upon the rear-wheel drive A-body platform. When the lower-trim Cutlass models, along with the A-body, were redesigned and became front-wheel drive, the Cutlass Cruiser remained rear-wheel drive, on the rechristened G platform along with the Cutlass Supreme.
In 1984, it was downsized to the Cutlass Ciera's body, sharing the front-wheel drive A platform with the very similar Buick Century, Pontiac 6000 and the Chevrolet Celebrity. From 1984-1988 its wheelbase was 104.5inches (2,654mm), when the GM A platform was updated for 1989, its wheelbase increased to 104.9inches (2,664mm). The Cutlass Cruiser was mildly restyled in 1989. This included a new grille, new taillights, and new, more aerodynamic composite headlights. The Cutlass Cruiser, like its siblings, proved to be an economically sound choice for consumers. With many engine choices being from a 2.5L Iron Duke I4 engine all the way up to a 3.8L V6. From 1990-1994, the Cutlass Cruiser came in two trim levels: S and SL. In 1995, the S was dropped. With many options, including power windows, air conditioning, cassette player, and deluxe cloth, the 8-passenger Cutlass Cruiser sold well until its discontinuation.