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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

Buick version of Equinox/Terrain CUV spied testing... with autonomous gear?

Wed, 12 Jun 2013 19:59:00 EST

Let's get the most pressing bits of this story out of the way right off the bat: What we see here appears to be a new compact crossover from Buick. According to the spy photographer, this machine may be a little bit smaller on the outside than the current Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain 'utes, which makes sense since recent rumors suggest GM's small crossovers will migrate to a new platform that will mark a convergence between the automaker's Delta (Chevy Cruze, Buick Verano) and Theta (Equinox, Terrain) platforms. This Buick would likely use this new D2UX platform.
We've been expecting Buick to unleash a crossover to slot between the very small Encore and the very large Enclave, and various rumors have indicated that the model may be known as either the Anthem or Envision. It's worth mentioning that Buick had planned, back in 2009, to release a vehicle in the compact CUV market, but abandoned those plans after a particularly poor reception.
And now for something completely different... Take another look at the spy shots above, and pay special attention to the cylindrical device mounted to the vehicle's roof. We can't say for sure what it is, but our spy photographer opines that it looks quite a bit like the 360-degree Lidar camera equipment used by Google for its autonomous cars. Is General Motors working with Google on autonomous car technology? We don't know, but you can definitely consider us intrigued.

GM to offer 2 years free maintance on most 2014 models

Thu, 06 Jun 2013 15:45:00 EST

A day after Ford announced it was scaling back the complimentary maintenance program for its Lincoln brand, General Motors has gone in the completely opposite direction, offering most of its 2014 lineup with free maintenance. Since 2011, Cadillac models have all come with a four-year/50,000-mile complimentary maintenance program, but Chevrolet, Buick and GMC vehicles will now come standard with free maintenance for two years or 24,000 miles for the 2014 model year.
The program will give vehicle owners and lessees free oil changes, tire rotations and 27-point inspections following the recommended maintenance schedule laid out in each vehicle's owner's manual. We contacted GM to see which vehicles were eligible for the program, and a spokesperson got back to us with the following comment:
"All 2014 models are eligible, it's just that the included services vary by model, e.g., Spark EV would not need oil changes, Corvettes don't recommend tire rotations."

OnStar RemoteLink mobile app coming standard on all new GM vehicles

Thu, 06 Jun 2013 09:28:00 EST

As an evolution and improvement of its OnStar technology, General Motors has announced that it will be expanding the RemoteLink Mobile App on most 2014 model year Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles. The new, aptly named RemoteLink Key Fob Services will allow users to remotely operate all of the same systems as the car's key fob, including locking and unlocking the doors and remote starting (on vehicles equipped with a factory remote starter) using a smartphone.
These Key Fob Services will be free for five years - starting from the vehicle's delivery date - but the full suite of RemoteLink features will continue to be offered only with a subscription (trial or paid). These premium features include contacting a live adviser, getting turn-by-turn directions and remotely monitoring the vehicle's diagnostic systems.
Scroll down below for the complete press release with all the details.

2013 Buick Encore nets strong IIHS, NHTSA safety scores

Wed, 05 Jun 2013 18:31:00 EST

After being crushed from every which way and rolled over like a labrador, the 2013 Buick Encore has been named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. To earn the accolade, a vehicle must achieve the highest rating of "Good" in each of the institute's four main crash tests: Front Moderate Overlap, Side, Rollover and Rear. The Encore aced those four tests with "Good" ratings, but missed out on the coveted Top Safety Pick+ designation by receiving a Poor rating in the institute's new Front Small Overlap test. To be named a Top Safety Pick+, the Encore would need to score at least an "Acceptable" rating in the new test, as well as "Good" in all four original crash tests.
Despite the miss, the Encore joins the Enclave, LaCrosse, Verano and Regal as Top Safety Picks all. If you count only the Encore with all-wheel drive, then all five Buicks have also earned five-star overall ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration, making Buick one of the few manufacturers to offer a full lineup with high scores from both safety rating organizations.
The front-wheel-drive Encore, despite performing equally as well as the all-wheel-drive version in NHTSA's crash tests, only earned four stars overall. As far as we can tell, the discrepancy between the two is because some safety equipment, like Forward Collision Warning and Lane Departure Assist, are optional features on the FWD Encore and standard on the AWD model.

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.