2003 Buick LeSabre Limited Sedan (414)

Overview:

This week I drove the 2003 Buick LeSabre Limited Sedan. Growing up I always got the impression Buick’s were for old people and that stigma has stayed with me to this day. However, when you review all cars you tend to be unbiased albeit jaded by the continual jump for one new vehicle to the next.

But this Buick has all but erased the old younger preconceived notions that only old people would like to drive a Buick. The past several years have served to impress me that Buick is looking to the new generation who has only come to driving age while guys like Golf Great Tiger Woods lets the younger buyer know it’s cool to drive a Buick.

I rather liked the “Heads up Display” of speed and turn indicators reflecting on the windshield right in front of your eyes.

General Info:

Parts –  USA

Assembly – Detroit, MI USA

Class:  – Large passenger car

Cars: Century, Le Sabre, Park Avenue, and Regal, Rendezvous.

Handling & Performance:

Steering was a little loose and took a bit of getting used to. Buick has always impressed me with engine performance and seemed incongruous since drivers usually tend to be older.

Styling:

Although the turn indicators on the outside mirrors aren’t really necessary they are “trick” and are definitely eye catching, because you don’t expect to see them there. The statement is that the Buick is designed with unique and useful gadgets and distinguished from the pack.

I didn’t much care for the Grey/Silver wood grain finish on the inside trim. Different but it cheapens the appearance.

Fit and Finish:

Very good.

Cost:

Buick definitely gives you a lot for the money. Therefore the price is reasonable for the quality car you get.

Consumer Recommendation:

American built cars today are still the best buy but that won’t last forever.

New Developments:

Event Data Recorders (EDR’s). Altadena, CA based accident reconstruction engineers, Stephen Blewett & Associates told me a little about how this device works. Many cars manufactured after 1996 come with a Black Box similar to the now famous Cockpit Recorders in aircraft. NASA and NTSB technology has now been applied to auto recorders to collect basic crash related data. This data is already making its way into courtrooms to corroborate findings of expert witnesses such as Blewett and Associates. Blewett says these EDR’s record such information as whether the brakes were applied, throttle open or not, engine speed, vehicle speed and information about the supplemental restraint system and air bag deployment. This will go a long way in the way we look at the causes of auto accidents and will also help improve car design.

Comments to Manufacturers:

Why aren’t EDR’s noted on the Standard Equipment?

The Competition: * (in order of ranking)

(1) Chrysler Concorde $23-29,000, (2t) Mercury Grand Marquis $24-29,000, (2t) Toyota Avalon $26-30,000, (3) Buick LeSabre $30,650, (4) Ford Crown Victoria $24-31,000.

* – Ranking is based on cost, cu ft, number of features, warranty and gas mileage.

Good News:

Cool heads up display, lots of features for the money, for cold climate buyers heated outside mirrors and “Bun Warmers”… the seats, that is.

Bad News:

Unappealing silver interior trim and loosey-goosey steering.

Standard Equipment:

3.8 liter V6 engine, 4-speed automatic trans, power steering, tilt and cruise control, auto level control, dual air bags front and side, 4-wheel abs disc brakes, power door locks, rear child security locks, theft deterrent, traction control, OnStar communications, battery rundown protection, remote keyless entry, headlight sentinel, moisture sensing wipers, power windows.

Gas Stats:

20 City and 29 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP $30,650.

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