New Car/Review

Buick

2000 Buick LeSabre Limited

SEE ALSO: Buick Buyer's Guide


by John Heilig

Buick Full Line Video footage (10:07)
SPECIFICATIONS

MODEL:                   2000 Buick LeSabre Limited
ENGINE:                  3.8-liter V-6
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE:       205 hp @5200 rpm/230 lb-ft @3700   rpm
TRANSMISSION:            Four-speed automatic
FUEL ECONOMY:            19 mpg city, 30 mpg highway, 22.7 mpg test
WHEELBASE:               112.2 in.
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT: 200.0 x 73.5 x 57.0 in.
CURB WEIGHT:             3591 lbs.
FUEL CAPACITY:           17.5 gal.
LUGGAGE CAPACITY:        18.0 cu. ft.
TIRES:                   P215/70R15
INSTRUMENTS:             Speedometer, tachometer, fuel gauge,
                             water temperature, digital clock,
                             fuel management computer, systems monitor.
EQUIPMENT:               Power windows, power door locks, power mirrors,
                             power seats, heated seats, cruise control,
                             air conditioner, AM-FM stereo radio
                             with in-dash cassette player and
                             in-dash CD player, anti-lock four-wheel
                             disc brakes, dual front air bags,
                             side air bags.
STICKER PRICE: 

Buick has established an identity with its complete line of cars. They all have fairly similar styling and none of them have changed that drastically over the past few years. Buick must be doing something right. They have a good share of the market. And while they may not be appealing to Generation X drivers, they have a good solid cadre of mature drivers who seem to like their products.

The car in question this week is the 2000 Buick LeSabre Limited. And as with most of the solid line of Buick cars, no one is going to be surprised when they get into this car. It has all the features one would expect from a Buick and none of the bad surprises you don't expect.

The LeSabre Limited is powered by a 3.8-liter V-6 engine. This 3800 Series II engine puts out 205 horsepower and is exceptionally smooth. This engine has had many years of development which result sin its being one of the best V-6 engine sin the business today. Of course, Buick was the American manufacturer which pioneered the use of V-6 engines in its products, so if Buick can't do it right then something is wrong.

This engine is connected to a four-speed automatic gearbox with a column-mounted shifter. The column-mounted shifter is, I think, a virtue. Unfortunately, the virtues of a column mount (no need for a shifter on the floor), are obviated by the inclusion of a large center console on this car, which makes it a five-seater instead of a six-seater.

The two front seats are flat individual buckets that offer little side support. They are, however, comfortable, and with the seat-mounted shoulder belt they hold you in well. I would have preferred more side support.

That console gives you support in the center of the vehicle, but it is nice to have support on the outboard side as well.

Since I've mentioned the console a couple of times, what does it contain? In the front is a fold-up section very similar to what you'll get on a Taurus that contains cupholders and a storage area underneath. On the top of the rear section is one of those little clipboards if you like to keep notes when you're driving. Under that is a good-sized storage area.

Besides the two cupholders and the console there is a tray in the center of the dash that can hold smaller objects. It also has a rubber bottom so objects won't slide all over the place. We used this area for coins and keys.

This LeSabre Limited has many goodies, such as heated seats, memory seat, a trunk lock-out feature is you park your car with attendants, a fuel management computer that told us we averages 22.7 mpg, which I thought was excellent, and a sound system that included an AM/FM stereo radio with in-dash CD and cassette players. Both sound system and HVAC controls were also locate don the steering wheel. I liked these, especially because they were lighted and could be found easily at night.

For the years 2000, Buick made some subtle styling changes that served to further differentiate it from the Park Avenue, while still retaining corporate similarities. Buick also strengthened the body's understructure for safety and added side seat-mounted airbags, again for safety.

Buick's styling continuity serves the brand well, but it also hurts. There are many people who, when they buy a new car, want it to look like a new car. Buick's look like the corporate model. The other virtue is that you know what your car looks like and it's not going to have ultra-modern styling that will look old ina year or two.

While Buick may not appeal to X-Generations, the company is working hard to build its reputation among us greybeards, and it's doing well.

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