2003 Buick Park Avenue Overview

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2003 Buick Park Avenue Overview

Buick is trying to hide the fact that its full-size top-end luxury Park Avenue sedan hasn't been updated in six years by going retro with some new design elements. The 2003 Buick Park Avenue leaves its base model alone this year, but perks up the Ultra with a bigger, bolder vertical grille and new shield that takes its cues from a 1938 design by Harley Earl. Along with larger 17-inch aluminum wheels, the previously optional Gran Touring package is now standard on the Ultra, adding a stiffer suspension, larger brakes, and a rear stabilizer bar, for optimal road handling and performance. The most noticeable addition are the "Ventiports," which haven't been seen since 1983. Three portholes on either side of the top front fenders recall Buicks of old, but supposedly do help to cool the engine.

The Ultra features a supercharged 3.8-liter, 240-hp V6, while the base Park Avenue's 3.8 V6 hits 205-hp. Both are coupled with a 4-speed automatic. The 2003 Park Avenue is incredibly roomy, and its doors open wide for comfortable and easy access. There is seating for six in two rows of bench seats, but the front seat can be modified to two bucket seats with a center console. ABS brakes, traction control, and dual front-side airbags are standard, helping the 2003 Park Avenue to earn four-star crash test ratings. The Ultra adds OnStar, StabiliTrak and rain-sensing wipers, all of which are options for the base. A parking assist system is optional on the Ultra. The base model is well equipped with power features, power front seats with memory, leather upholstery, and remote entry. The Ultra adds on auto-dimming rearview mirrors, a CD player, and leather and wood trim.

No one buys a Park Avenue for a thrilling driving experience, but the supercharged engine is lively and powerful, say drivers. What attracts owners to the 2003 Park Avenue is its smooth and comfortable ride, easy handling, and high-end features. The styling is classy, if not subtle. They like that you get a Cadillac experience at a lower price. There are complaints about the quality of the interior materials and some highway vibration. The Ultra sacrifices some smoothness to the rougher ride of the Gran Touring package.

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