Category Archives: Buick

2000 Buick Century Limited Sedan (313)

Overview:

This 2000 Buick Century Limited Sedan is the car of choice of lots of older drivers. That has been true for many years. When I was a kid, only old folks drove Buick cars except for one younger guy I knew who also rode a Harley motorcycle. What a contrast, eh? Roy was also a musician and rather different for lots of reasons.

Something that always comes to mind when I think of Buick cars is that they used to put the letters B – U – I – C – K on the radio buttons and Roy pulled the buttons off and put them in order to spell C – I – K – U – B. When the girls would ask what that meant he’d answer Can I Kiss You Baby. I wonder what ever happened to Roy.

Well, today you’re beginning to see a younger set buying Buick because the image has changed and it’s not the “Boat” it used to be, even if it still rides like one at times. This is a great car for the young exec that’s on his or her way up.

Handling & Performance:

Surprisingly fast and comfortably smooth. But then with a smooth ride, you give up “road feel” and “stability” in the curves. The power steering is too loose for my taste on the highway because it causes a deadening of road feel. And although it’s comfortable, that old Buick ride brought about the saying that it rides like a boat. You know, that up and down motion like your shocks are real bad.

Styling:

Clean lines and nothing like the Buick “old man O’dell” used to drive in my youth. That Roadmaster (some called it a Road Hog) was big and bulky. Remember, the front fender hole facades that must have been designed to make it look racy, I guess.

Fit and Finish:

Nice. Good old American ingenuity comes to play here. For the money we simply do a better job.

Conveniences:

The way this car comes standard is just fine, but if you want to add a power seat for the passenger and have CD and Cassette players, leather seating, cruise control, steering wheel controls for the radio, split folding rear seat, a Special Edition appearance and a few other goodies, you can add $2,608 to the MSRP below.

Cost:

It doesn’t get any better. This is a standout car for the money.

Recommendation:

I would test-drive this Buick, the Toyota Camry and the Nissan Maxima first because this is a long list to get through. It is just right for the young executive who needs to balance price with family needs while providing a good business appearance. Buick has it all.

The Competition:

Chevrolet Malibu $16,535-19,215, Ford Taurus $18,260-21,535, Honda Accord $15,350-24,550, Mazda 626 $18,515-22,715, Mercury Sable $19,035-21,435, Mitsubishi Galant $17,557-24,007, Nissan Maxima $21-049-26,249, Oldsmobile Intrigue $22,210-25,840, Pontiac Grand Prix $19,935-24,610, Subaru Legacy $19,195-24,295, Toyota Camry $17,518-26,198, Volkswagen Passat $21,200-27,655.

Good News:

Bob Barker says The Price is Right. I agree where this care is concerned. It is perhaps the best-priced car out there for the quiet luxury car ride and appointments you get. Good gas mileage, large trunk, roomy seating area and fast.

Bad News:

Spongy ride like riding on a waterbed, over active power steering at highway speeds that causes loss of road feel.

Styling:

3.1 liter 175 horsepower V6 engine, 4-speed elect., transmission, dual air bags with driver side bag, power ABS brakes, theft deterrent system, traction control, power steering, tilt wheel, air conditioning and filtration, dual power and heated mirrors, power windows and door locks, AM/FM radio, 6-way power driver seat, remote trunk release, theatre lighting.

Gas Stats:

20 City and 30 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP $21,975.

2000 Buick Regal GS Sedan (296)

Overview:

This Buick Regal GS 4-door sedan’s overall feel translates into a lot of car for the money. Some Buick models have been characterized as a poor mans Jaguar. That is more true of the Park Avenue, but it was especially true of the 1998 year model.

I have long touted the price differential of American versus imports as a reason to re-visit American manufacture red cars. But if you’ve noticed the spread is narrowing. Perhaps that’s because the manufacturers are becoming more global in nature. Pretty soon we’ll have homogenous car makers in keeping with the fact there are fewer and fewer differences in the cars we have to choose from. The nationality of the cars from around the world are losing their unique personalities. 

Ford, General Motors and Chrysler have manufacturing plants in other countries and most if not all Japanese auto makers have plants here in the U.S. With the good comes the bad and it would appear there is more good than bad. The good is that all cars are more reliable and affordable. The bad is we’re losing the wide range of personalities and diverse developments that come from diverse cultures. It would appear that soon the only thing that will allow us to express our individuality is the price difference of models and cars. Or are we there already?

On the other hand it would appear we are starting to see a swing in direction from cookie cutter cars produced by cloned car companies.  For example, has Chrysler had a vision? Perhaps they know something others don’t. Consider the Plymouth Prowler and now this year the Chrysler PT Cruiser. These are examples of how Chrysler is responding to our need to be different and express our individuality. There may be hope for a revitalization of the auto industry after all, and I can fall in love again.

Handling & Performance:

Outstanding. The touring suspension adds comfort for those longer journeys. It is well behaved in the corners and it gives you a good sense of control. The supercharged V6 is Dyne-O-Mite. It provides all the power you’ll need without getting you into trouble. I love speed and acceleration, so I rate it higher than those “Slugs” that have trouble passing traffic on the highway.

Styling:

I like it a lot. It has a touch of class for a mid-sized affordable sedan.

Fit and Finish:

Good, but needs to be better. I hope the Quality Control people at GM read this.

Conveniences:

It borders on being a luxury car considering all the goodies and gadgets.

Cost:

American car pricing is still good relative to the competition. When it comes to operating cost, the price of gas is becoming a more significant factor in the overall cost of ownership. The supercharger gives the car lots of spunk but that comes at a price. Gas consumption ranged from 18 to 22.6 mpg. That doesn’t mean you won’t do better because I have a heavy foot. And at the pump you still find prices at just under $2.00 per gallon. And don’t give me that argument that compared to the world price of gas ours is cheap. I’ve been there and paid the high prices. I’ve also seen the way people live in many of those countries and I was happy to get home for a lot of reasons, of which cost of living was only one.

Recommendation:

I could see myself owning this car if I were in the market for a good mid-size passenger sedan. Of the competition, I compare it most closely with the Impala, Galant and Intrigue.

The Competition:

Chevrolet Impala $18,890-22,790, Chrysler Concorde $22,245-26,485, Ford Taurus $17,885-21,085, Honda Accord $15,350-24,550, Mazda 626 $18,445-22,645, Mercury Sable $19,035-21,435, Mitsubishi Galant $17,357-23,757, Oldsmobile Intrigue $22,210-25,840, Pontiac Grand Prix $19,935-24,610, Suburu Legacy $19,195-24,295, Volkswagen Passat $21,200-27,655.

Good News:

Well priced for all the standard equipment, outstanding performance, comfortable ride, nice styling, and superb handing.

Bad News:

Tight legroom for the back seat folks, fit and finish not as good as foreign competitors.

Standard Equipment:

3.8 liter Supercharged V6 engine, 4-speed automatic transmission, front and side airbags, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, leather wrapped tilt wheel, power steering , touring suspension, traction control, air, cruise control, 6-way power driver seat, power windows and locks, keyless entry, power mirrors, radio with cassette and split folding rear seat.

Gas Stats:

18 City and 27 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP $25,185.

1999 Buick La Sabre 2000 (251)

Overview:

The 2000 Buick LeSabre Limited is a full-size 4-door 6-passenger sedan. And with a base price of $22,890 – $26,695 it is pure American ingenuity. When we want to be competitive we can, and American cars continue to be the best value for your car-buying dollar.

I was among the first to stop buying American built cars back in the early 1960’s because they were overpriced and the free market place allowed me to buy a Datsun station wagon. They got better gas mileage, cheaper to buy and fun to drive. I must say, I was influenced by trips to Japan, but I was more impressed by the fact that I couldn’t justify spending more for transportation. A house was priority one back then.

But stepping into this Buick, just when my memory was fading, I pulled up to a stop right behind a 1956 Buick Roadmaster, blue with a white top. Boy, what memories were stirred up. Of course back in 1956 when that car was made we called them “Road Hogs”. But Buick is following suit with the more sleek lines of today’s aerodynamic designs, and I suspect we’ll never see “Fins” on cars again either.

This “year 2000” version of the LeSabre has exterior measurements that are even a bit shorter and narrower than the 1999 model. Isn’t it weird to be talking about a 2000 model? But even with the narrower exterior, the interior is actually roomier. There are other subtle changes such as less chrome and more body-color molding, giving LeSabre an even more up-to-date look. The new dashboard includes large, easy-to-read gauges for people with failing eyesight. Just kidding. I’m not saying that this is an older person’s car even though that’s the group Buick used to appeal to. But times have changed, and the baby boomers weren’t around to know that’s how Buick was perceived back in the “good old days”.

Speaking of the 1950’s, the LeSabre name was first used in 1951 on a concept car, and finally in 1959, the LeSabre name went on a production model, and sold 165,577. GM says since then, more than six million have been sold and it continues to be Buick’s bestseller.

LeSabre is available in two trims: Custom and Limited. They are available with front and side airbags and the 3.8L V6 205-hp engine is light years ahead of that old “Road Hog’s” big V8 that was truly the slug of its time. Remember the old Dynaglide transmission? That was the main reason for it being sluggish. Well, today’s 4-Speed Automatic transmission is nothing like that boat anchor. It is a good companion to the new V6 engine, and together they produce outstanding power and performance. And another plus for we Americans is that it is assembled right here in the United States. What a novel idea; an American car made in the USA.

The Competition:

Chevrolet Impala $18,705 – $22,365, Chrysler Concorde $21,640, Dodge Intrepid $20,020 – $22,865, Ford Crown Victoria $22,005 – $24,120, Toyota Avalon $24,698 – $28,708, Volvo S70 $27,385 – $33,520.

Good News:

Luxurious roomy comfort, at compact prices, and compact fuel economy to boot.

Bad News:

I didn’t find any…. So I guess that’s more good news.

Standard Equipment:

3.8-liter V6 205 horsepower engine, 4-speed automatic trans, dual front and side airbags, anti-lock brake system (ABS), daytime running lights, child safety locks, air conditioning, power windows and door locks, cruise control, intermittent wipers, security system and AM/FM stereo system.

Gas Stats:

19 City and 30 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP $$22,890 and the upgrade of dual-zone climate control, an air-filtration system, dark walnut trim, a driver information center, power front seats, a premium stereo system with cassette, and 15-inch aluminum wheels, a rear stabilizer bar, higher rate springs, variable effort steering, and 16-inch aluminum wheels brings the price to $26,695.

1998 Buick Park Avenue Ultra (191)

Overview:

The Park Avenue Ultra is elegant and it’s American as apple pie and Chevrolet. My friend Jason is from Detroit and says his dad would kill him if he bought a foreign car.

He respects his dad and his loyalty to MO-town, the town that survives because of such passion. And why not! I spend a lot of time in Golden, CO. – the home of Coors – and I’m appalled at the bar scene there because they seem to drink Bud in defiance of what should be their home town hero, Coors.

Well, Jason’s dad is right on, and as I keep preaching, the best buys in most American towns today are American cars. They’ve paid for their sins and earned the right to another chance. This country has a rich history dominated by great automotive innovation and we’ve had a love affair with the automobile for over a hundred years. Few affairs can boast of such durability in Bill Clinton’s world. Isn’t it nice to know folks in Detroit still hang in with old faithful- well at least their indiscretions don’t make the news.

Buick has lost its baby fat and its styling is lean and mean. Remember the 50’s when Buick helped coin the term “Road Hog” with the release of the Roadmaster model? They were tanks and even if no bigger and heavier than others of the day they somehow looked bigger.

The Park Avenue is Buick’s flagship sedan that replaced the Electra, is slightly larger and on the same platform as the Riviera and Oldsmobile Aurora. The supercharged Ultra should appeal to young professionals with an eye to traditional American cars with great performance. The instant acceleration you get from a supercharger is awesome. And this flagship is heaped with features that are very expensive options with many competitors.

Good news: It’s American. The ride is smooth. Well appointed – you get more features than the competition for the money.

Bad news: Cars like Mercedes-Benz has great engineering too and I believe the stiffest competitor listed below. The Volvo would be my second choice in the competitive line-up.

The Competition:

BMW 5-Series $53,300, Infiniti I30 $31,500, Lexus ES 300 $30,790, Mazda Millenia $36,595, Mercedes-Benz C-Class $35,400, Mitsubishi Diamante $33,050, Volvo S70 $34,010.

Standard Equipment:

3.8-liter 205 horsepower V6 boosted to 240 with the supercharger, 4-speed auto trans, air conditioning, power steering, door locks, windows and mirrors, tilt steering wheel, cruise control, AM/FM stereo cassette and CD, moisture-sensing wipers, traction control, 6-way dual power heated front seats, leather, illuminated keyless entry, dual airbags, anti-lock brake system (ABS), child safety locks, computer information center, theft deterrent system, delayed lights and locking system and tinted glass.

Gas Stats:

EPA numbers are 18 City and 27 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP base retail price is $30,675 for the 4-door sedan and the Ultra base is $35,550. The model I drove added special wheels, trunk mounted CD changer and a few other goodies that brought the price to $38,410.