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Buick Park Avenue, page #7

Buick Park Avenue Price Analytics

About Buick Park Avenue

Park Avenue. Monopoly buffs and New Yorkers hold that name dear. And so do those whose automotive tastes run toward old-school American luxury, the kind that's reflected in the Buick Park Avenue. To these folks, soft, pillowed seats, smooth and quiet powertrains and a ride quality that shields occupants from the nasty noises and jolts of the outside world are of paramount importance.

Originally introduced in the mid-1970s as a super-posh trim level for the Electra model, the early Park Avenue boasted velour upholstery so thick and soft you'd swear you were sitting on Queen Victoria's sofa. Other hallmarks of this 455-cubic-inch, V8-powered, disco-era bruiser included more faux wood trim for the cabin and more chrome trim for the body.

Downsized in 1977, the Electra Park Avenue was still a big car that could be powered by a large V8. A more serious downsizing program took place in the mid-'80s that saw the big Electra morph into a slimmed-down, squared-off sedan that was much shorter and lighter. The powertrain did an about-face as well, as the new Buick flagship adopted front-wheel drive and exclusively used fuel-efficient V6 power.

The dawn of the 1990s saw the Buick Park Avenue transition from a trim level to its own model when it replaced the Electra. Slightly larger than the boxy '80s version, this Park Ave boasted an elegant, softly curvaceous body. An available supercharged V6 sated the appetites of those who longed for the thrust of the distant past, while luxury features such as dual-zone climate control kept the hedonists happy.

For 1997, a more polished Park emerged and loyalists of the isolationist school of auto design were not disappointed, as the big Buick still prioritized a plush ride over precise handling. For the new millennium, however, Buick's managers decided a changing of the guard was required. The Park Avenue (and the LeSabre) was replaced by the Lucerne.

Most Recent Buick Park Avenue

The most recent Buick Park Avenue, produced for the 1997-2005 model years, served as the brand's flagship large sedan. This model's stiffer platform improved ride and handling characteristics and also minimized the chance of any squeaks and rattles as compared to the previous generation. Styling was evolutionary, with the same silhouette shaped with smoother body sides and crisp fender peaks. The cabin redesign included larger gauges and more easily used controls, though storage spaces were in short supply and the radio still had too many small buttons.

Base and Ultra trims were offered, with the latter providing additional luxuries such as leather seating, a power passenger seat and an upgraded audio system. With the front bench seat, the Park Avenue could seat up to six passengers.

Engine choices were a tried-and-true pair of 3.8-liter V6s. The standard Park Avenue came with the naturally aspirated version (205 horsepower), while the Ultra boasted the supercharged version (240 hp). Both models drove their front wheels through a four-speed automatic.

In a review of the Buick Park Avenue Ultra, we lauded the car for its strong acceleration (zero to 60 mph in 7.6 seconds, surprisingly good steering and traditional ability to gobble up vast amounts of Interstate in supreme comfort). Noted downsides included disappointing interior build quality and mediocre braking performance. Some drivers will also find the car's ride quality to be overly floaty, especially if the car isn't equipped with the suspension-stiffening Grand Touring package.

Key upgrades through the years include available OnStar communications in 1998, stability control (standard on Ultra) in 2000, available park assist in '01, and a new grille, 17-inch chrome wheels and the addition of fender "portholes" for the '03 Ultra.

As a used car consideration, the Park Avenue fares respectably. Draws include relatively low pricing, a roomy interior, good engine performance and fuel economy, and the pride of owning something that truly fulfills the "rides like a Buick" cliché. Potential buyers might want to also check out the Toyota Avalon, as it provides very similar traits.

Past Buick Park Avenues

The previous generation of the Buick Park Avenue was produced from 1991-'96. Well-equipped base and more luxurious Ultra versions were offered. With its curvaceous body and (on the Ultra) supercharged V6 power, this Park Avenue was a showroom star for the tri-colored-shield division of General Motors.

Initially, both Park Avenues came with Buick's bulletproof 3.8-liter V6 that made 170 hp, but for 1992 the Ultra received a supercharged version that pumped out 205 hp. There were a few other upgrades during this model's run as well. In '94, the Ultra got 20 more hp and heated seats were a new option. The base Park Avenue got its power boost for '95 so it made 205 hp. The last year ('96) of this generation saw the Ultra receive the Series II supercharged V6 (with 240 hp) and variable-assist steering.

Whether one chooses the standard Park Avenue or the Ultra, this Buick is a solid choice for a used luxury car thanks to its comfortable ride, power and admirable fuel efficiency.

Prior to this Park Avenue was the 1985-'90 version, which marked a major downsizing of the model and a switch from rear- to front-wheel drive.

Auto blog

NHTSA may greatly expand GM airbag recall

Wed, 05 Jun 2013 16:30:00 EST

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is pondering whether to dramatically upscale a pair of airbag recalls on General Motors vehicles. The two existing campaigns, one launched in the fall of 2012 and the other in January of this year covered just 6,845 vehicles, but the government agency is considering whether to boost the recall to around 400,000 units.
The existing recalls involve the the closely related 2012 Buick Verano (shown) and Chevrolet Cruze sedans, along with Sonic and Camaro models. The root of the problem is a shorting bar in the inflator module of the steering-wheel-mounted airbag that may contact the primary state airbag terminal, a condition that could prevent deployment in an accident. Dealer technicians have been replacing the steering wheel airbag coils to fix the issue.
According to a post on NHTSA's website, the root cause, said to be a production issue, may not have been completely isolated - particularly for the second recall, which was for the Camaro. According to Automotive News, GM says it is cooperating with the government investigation, but won't say whether or not it knows the true origin of the problem.

38k GM eAssist hybrids recalled for circuit board, fire risk

Mon, 06 May 2013 13:27:00 EST

General Motors has issued a recall covering 38,197 2012 and 2013 model-year Chevy Malibu Eco, Buick LaCrosse and Regal sedans equipped with eAssist, and sold in the United States. The automaker will check the generator control module for proper operation. Only vehicles built before December 2012 are being recalled.
According to the automaker, a malfunctioning generator control module could slowly drain the battery, causing an indicator to light up in the dash. If that indicator is ignored, the driver may experience a stalling engine, and in some cases, "a burning or melting odor, smoke, and, in rare instances, a fire in the trunk."
GM says the issue is not with the eAssist battery pack; the smoke and fire comes from overheating of the control board. One trunk fire has been reported, but no injuries are known. Scroll down below for the official press release from GM.

Buick picks top 11 highlights from first 11 decades

Sun, 21 Apr 2013 17:58:00 EST

Buick has taken the time to highlight some of the company's personal points of pride from the past 110 years. Those include everything from the automaker's very first vehicle, the 1904 Model B, to what Buick claims is the world's first concept car: The 1938 Y Job (above). That one also walked away with the worst name for a design study.
All told, the automaker has sold 43 million vehicles through the end of last year, and those include the lusty 1963 Riviera. That model celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2013, and remains one of the brand's most iconic designs.
Of course, Buick is rightfully proud of its quickest model, too. The 1987 GNX managed a 4.6-second bolt to 60 mph in tests by Car and Driver, and it also took the honor of being one of the automaker's rarest creations at just 547 units. You can check out all 10 in the gallery above.

GM China President says automaker could export vehicles from China to US

Sat, 20 Apr 2013 12:44:00 EST

At a press conference on Saturday at the Shanghai Motor Show, General Motors announced plans to further expand its presence in the Chinese market. Among those commitments are plans to build four new plants by the end of 2015, giving the automaker the capacity to produce around five million vehicles a year in the country.
In order to make the most of that expansion, GM is adding 400 dealerships in China this year alone (for a total of 4,200 sales points), and it's eyeing 5,100 dealers by 2015. Yet not all of that production will stay in China - GM is planning to increase exports as well. Officials estimate the company will export somewhere between 100,000 and 130,000 Chinese-built vehicles this year - a record. And it's gunning for more.
Autoblog asked GM China president Bob Socia (above) if that means the company might eventually export new vehicles built in China to the United States, and he responded:

Buick Riviera Concept hits the floor in Shanghai

Sat, 20 Apr 2013 02:15:00 EST

Here we have a concept in the true sense of the term. The Buick Riviera you see here - the name of which was last used in production back in 1999 - is said to preview Buick's future styling direction, which means we should expect to see more flowing body shapes to go along with new versions of the marque's classic waterfall grille design. Oh, and we don't believe there's a single porthole in sight.
Powered by Buick's so-called dual-mode wireless plug-in hybrid electric vehicle propulsion system (we'll stick with the W-PHEV acronym) that allows the car to be charged wirelessly just by driving atop a special charging mat on the ground, the car's powertrain is just as futuristic as its exterior shape.
Other high-tech bits include holographic projections on the windshield showing the driver what's around him, with input coming from 10 high-res cameras and 18 micro high-precision sensors. The car also sports 4G wireless connectivity so that its occupants are always connected.

Buick Riviera Concept debuts in China

Fri, 19 Apr 2013 10:14:00 EST

It's nighttime in China, and Buick has just concluded an evening event the day before the first - and only - press day of the Shanghai Motor Show. The star of this evening's party was the Buick Riviera concept vehicle, a plug-in electric hybrid coupe that the automaker says gives a glimpse at its future design direction, not to mention resurrecting some nomenclature from the brand's history that includes a similarly named concept from 2007.
The shape of the Riviera is said to be inspired by water. While the traditional Buick "waterfall" grille is present, the front end gains a more aggressive note thanks to what appear to be vertical air inlets below each headlight.
As for the concept's drivetrain, Buick says it uses General Motors' new dual-mode wireless plug-in hybrid electric vehicle propulsion system, or W-PHEV for short. The keyword there is 'wireless,' as the Riviera can charge its onboard battery packs with a traditional cable or wirelessly via a "sensory recharge panel" underneath the car.

GM warning 800,000 owners that their cars may need oil changes more frequently than they say

Fri, 05 Apr 2013 18:32:00 EST

The days of changing your engine oil every 3,000 miles are long gone thanks to most cars having automatic oil monitoring systems, but about 800,000 General Motors vehicles apparently have incorrect monitoring software that is leading to premature engine component wear. According to Autoweek, certain 2010-2012 Buick LaCrosse, Regal, Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain models equipped with 2.4-liter four-cylinder engines could be going too long in between oil changes resulting in a higher-than-normal number of warranty claims for the engine's balance chain. The balance chain links the balance shaft to the crankshaft, and a worn one can produce higher noise levels.
As a fix, GM dealers will be reprogramming the software for the monitors in an effort to reduce the interval between oil changes, which varies based on driving habits and conditions. Through February 2015, the software update will be done at no cost to vehicle owners, but since this is not a recall, after that point, it will be up to the discretion of dealers as to whether or not they will charge for the service. What isn't immediately clear is whether GM plans on giving assistance to out-of-warranty customers who are experiencing engine issues from the worn chain.

Small number of 2013 Buick Encore models recalled for loose steering wheel

Thu, 04 Apr 2013 08:43:00 EST

General Motors has issued a recall and a stop sale for the 2013 Buick Encore due to an issue that could result in the steering wheel falling off on certain models. In a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, GM says that 144 Encores equipped with heated steering wheels could have been incorrectly retrofitted due to a parts shortage.
Needless to say, a loose or separated steering wheel would likely cause an accident if it happened while the vehicle was in motion. The recall doesn't go into effect until April 12, but concerned Encore owners can use the official recall notice (attached below) to contact GM.

KBB 2013 Brand Image Awards has some obvious and oddball winners

Sat, 30 Mar 2013 08:58:00 EST

The sixth edition of the Kelley Blue Book Brand Image Awards have crowned a wide range of winners - in a couple of cases the recipient of the laurels might say more about KBB users than they do about the actual winner. Compiled from the responses of more than 12,000 shoppers on KBB.com over the past year, there are 13 categories broken into non-luxury, luxury and truck segments "representing the combined wisdom of the American car-buying public."
The award categories have been revamped this year, with some dropping off, some new ones appearing and at least one other given a new term. What isn't surprising is that Honda won Most Trusted Brand for the second year running, Best Value Brand for the third year in a row and took Best Overall Brand, which wasn't on last year's list of awards.
On our own shores, in the non-luxury categories Chrysler got Most Refined Brand and Buick took Best Value Luxury Brand. Neither one of those marques won anything in last year's Brand Image Awards, while Cadillac, which won Best Interior Design Brand and Best Comfort Brand last year - those awards disappeared this year - went home without a single accolade.

2014 Buick LaCrosse steps up to the big leagues with plenty of luxury

Wed, 27 Mar 2013 09:30:00 EST

Following the introduction of the updated 2014 Buick LaCrosse and Regal, the oldest vehicle in Buick's lineup will be the Verano, which was just introduced last year. Having such a fresh product mix bodes well for Buick as it tries to create a new image in the US, and after checking out the amount of luxury being stuffed into the new LaCrosse for 2014, GM's awkwardly positioned brand may finally have the ability to stand out.
Granted, the model unveiled was the all-new, top-of-the-line Ultra Luxury Interior Package, but this package brings top-notch leather and soft suede covering everything above the beltline as well as real ash wood accent trim throughout the cabin. While there was no mention of price, we don't expect this model to come cheap in terms of what we expect from Buick, although it will likely be competitively priced with similarly equipped rivals like the Acura TL or Lexus ES. Adding even more to the LaCrosse's interior, dual eight-inch displays make up the gauge cluster and center stack, and the number of buttons on the center stack have been greatly reduced, creating a cleaner look for the instrument panel.
Another big change is the next-generation of Buick's IntelliLink infotainment system that brings with it all of the recent enhancements of the Cadillac CUE and Chevrolet MyLink systems. Differentiating itself from other GM infotainment systems, the new Buick IntelliLink stands out by allowing users to customize the apps they can add and not just being limited to what GM sees fit.