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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

Facelifted Buick LaCrosse caught in China

Tue, 01 Jan 2013 14:02:00 EST

Back in September, General Motors promised nine new or refreshed models for its Buick and GMC brands within 12 months, and while we've already seen what the updated 2014 GMC Sierra will look like, we're now getting our first look at what appears to be the facelifted 2014 Buick LaCrosse. Judging by a set of spy shots posted on Autohome showing a Chinese-market model, the updated sedan is getting a pretty big makeover, including a completely redesigned interior and a refreshed exterior.
From the outside, all of the usual midcycle updates have been made to the LaCrosse, including new lights and fascias. The new front end features a larger, reshaped seven-sided grille, LED-trimmed headlights and Buick's signature portholes are now mounted on the side edges of the hood to be more visible. The rear view has similarly small yet refined changes such as the new decklid with a chrome brow that stretches the full width of the car, to a more squared-off rear fascia with exhaust outlets pushed out to the corners. From the single shot we can see, the LaCrosse's new rump looks very similar to the Hyundai Equus.
The second-generation LaCrosse helped reestablish Buick as a near-premium automaker with its interior quality, and the next model could very well up the stakes even more. The new cabin design ditches the wraparound wood trim on the instrument panel and door panels for a smoother, more contemporary look. While it's hard to make out all of the changes, we can instantly see that the center stack is now more upright with fewer buttons, but the biggest news might be the cabin technology the 2014 LaCrosse might offer. Checking out the shot of the center console, we see what looks to be a pad similar to the handwriting recognition technology used by Audi, which would make this a first for GM.

Buick Verano to go turbo-only for 2014?

Sat, 22 Dec 2012 16:58:00 EST

If VIN tags recently posted online prove accurate, the 2014 Buick Verano may be getting a new base engine. Presently the Verano makes use of GM's 2.4-liter Ecotec four-cylinder engine in non-turbo trim; 2014 documentation appears to indicate that GM's entry-level luxury compact will instead feature a 1.6-liter turbocharged mill.
If this is the same engine seen in Europe, GM Inside News suggests it may offer 192 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque - useful improvements over the larger naturally aspirated mill's 180 hp and 171 lb-ft. More importantly, the downsized engine would likely improve on the Verano's current fuel mileage estimates of 21 city and 31 highway.
We like the Verano in both of its current iterations, but the 1.6 turbo engine sounds like a worthwhile upgrade if this reports turns out to be true. Plus, if more performance is your bag, baby, there's always the Verano's optional 2.0 turbo engine with an impressive 250 horsepower and 260 lb-ft from just 2.0 liters of displacement.

2013 Buick Encore

Mon, 10 Dec 2012 11:57:00 EST

City, Slicker
We admit it. We have no earthly idea how this whole thing is going to shake out.
Typically, after driving a new car or truck, we come away prepared to hazard a guess as to whether said model has a good chance of being a sales success. We've amassed enough time watching the industry, scrutinizing the competitors, and so on, to make a reasonably educated bet. Yet here we are, days removed from driving the new 2013 Buick Encore, and we still have no bloody idea.

Movie Review: Black Air: The Buick Grand National Documentary

Thu, 06 Dec 2012 15:01:00 EST

As Buick currently claws and scratches its way back into relevance to compete against luxury brands like Lexus and Acura, it's hard to believe that not too long ago, the brand had a car that was mentioned in the same breath as Corvette, Lamborghini and Ferrari. That car? None other than the Buick Grand National. All black with a turbocharged V6 and some of the quickest acceleration of its time, the Grand National, in today's standards, is along the lines of a 2013 Shelby GT500 with both cars essentially being a working man's supercar.
The last Grand National rolled off the assembly line in Flint, MI on December 11, 1987, and to mark the silver anniversary of that somber occasion, Black Air is a documentary of the Grand National from the perspective of the enthusiast, the collector, the media and even from those at General Motors responsible for creating such a sinister legend. Like the car itself, Andrew Filippone Jr. shoots the documentary in a raw fashion, and it definitely helps to show why a low-volume muscle car from the 1980s is still the object of obsession for many automotive enthusiasts to this day.

J.D. Power: Mini, Lexus again offer most satisfying sales experience

Thu, 29 Nov 2012 11:29:00 EST

JD Power has released its annual Sales Satisfaction Index Study, and once again Mini and Lexus have taken top honors. Overall, buyers are more satisfied with the auto-buying sales experience than they were last year, with those surveyed reporting an average score of 664 points on a 1,000-point scale. That's up from 648 in 2011. Dealer satisfaction also increased by five points over last year as well.
All told, Lexus brought home an index score of 737, which was high enough to put it atop the luxury brands for the second year in a row. JD Power says Infiniti came in second in that category with a score of 728 and Cadillac rounded out the podium with it's rating of 725. Speaking of Infiniti, that brand saw the single largest jump in sales satisfaction of any brand on the survey, popping up 52 index points over 2011.
Among mass-market brands, Mini ranked highest with a score of 712, followed closely by Buick with 706 and GMC farther down the line with 683. You can check out the full press release below for more information.

Submit your questions for Autoblog Podcast #310 LIVE!

Mon, 26 Nov 2012 20:30:00 EST

We record Autoblog Podcast #310 tonight, and you can drop us your questions and comments regarding the rest of the week's news via our Q&A module below. Subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes if you haven't already done so, and if you want to take it all in live, tune in to our UStream (audio only) channel at 10:00 PM Eastern tonight.
Discussion Topics for Autoblog Podcast Episode #310
Buick GN and GNX will return

Buick dusting off Grand National, GNX and T-Type nameplates

Mon, 26 Nov 2012 18:33:00 EST

Inside Line reports Buick is planning to bring back some of the more storied names from the company's past, including the Grand National, GNX and the T-Type. Those cars rose to prominence in the 1970s and '80s to become performance legends of their day.
The new models will reportedly make use of the rear-wheel drive platform that currently underpins the Cadillac ATS and all would arrive as sedans - according to an unnamed source familiar with the initiative. Odds are the T-Type and the Grand National would share a driveline, with honest money being on a new twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 as the engine of choice. Word has it the mill will be good for anywhere from 350 to 400 horsepower.
That leaves only the GNX. Inside Line seems to think that machine could get down the road with some help from the all-new GM LT1 small-block V8. The engineers behind the ATS platform have already told us the engine bay is large enough for to accommodate the big eight pot, and since GM is most certainly working on an ATS-V, a slightly less powerful, less luxurious Buick iteration makes some kind of sense. We can't wait to see these things in the light of day.

Buick might be getting a logo makeover

Fri, 23 Nov 2012 18:01:00 EST

General Motors has finished off an extensive model overhaul for its Buick division, but along with its updated cars, the brand might also be getting a new logo. According to the Detroit Free Press, GM North America President Mark Reuss indicated that the Buick tri-shield logo could be getting a makeover, but offered no further information.
It is unlikely Buick will completely redesign or replace its current logo, but the article seems to indicate that it might return to color; although all chrome now, the logo used to feature red, white and blue shields. Head on over to the Detroit Free Press article to look at some past Buick logos including one from 1904.

Why Buick's Encore wasn't a Chevy

Wed, 31 Oct 2012 16:21:00 EST

Buick is taking a gamble with its 2013 Encore. General Motors' near-luxury brand has enjoyed great success attracting conquest buyers to its larger Enclave crossover, but it has never offered something quite like this small CUV.
Very early signs suggest that the gamble might be working. According to Mark Reuss, President of General Motors, the automaker expected about 1,500 initial orders from its dealers for the Encore, but it's tracking closer to 9,000 units. Alluding to the fact that historically, Buick has shared similar products with GM's other brands, Reuss says that Buick dealers are "thrilled to have an exclusive." The automaker already markets almost identical models in other markets as the Opel/Vauxhall Mokka and Chevrolet Trax, but The General's other brands won't offer a twin to the new baby Buick.
The new Encore is based on the Gamma architecture that underpins the Chevrolet Sonic, and it shares the economy car's available turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine. With standard front-wheel drive and available all-wheel drive, GM says its Encore will be pitted against competitors like the BMW X1 and Audi Q3, both of which are much more expensive but also much more powerful.

2013 Buick Enclave

Mon, 29 Oct 2012 11:57:00 EST

GM's Flagship Lambda Is (Still) A Smooth Operator
Consumers shopping for a domestic full-size crossover have heard all about GM's triplets. The Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave are a very appealing and talented group of siblings. Entering their fifth year of production, albeit middle-age in the automotive industry, each is attractive, well-rounded and very capable on the paved dance floor. While all share nearly identical base DNA and the same basic running gear, subtle physical differences and unique personalities emerge between the trio when one digs a bit deeper.
The most polished of the threesome, without question, is the Enclave from Buick. Fresh off a mid-cycle update (as are its siblings), the flagship of the platform boasts a facelift, innovative new features and an upgraded demeanor for the new model year.