2000 BUICK PARK AVENUE ULTRA
Used Car - 2000 Buick Park Avenue Ultra in Dodge City, Ks
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2000 Buick Park Avenue ReviewThis car review is specific to this model, not the actual vehicle for sale.
Muscular grace, athletic response and lots of room.
Buick Park Avenue offers refinement and elegance, but it's a practical car. Quiet and luxurious, the Park Avenue provides a roomy cabin and a big trunk. Excellent road manners with surprisingly good dynamic capabilities make for an enjoyable driving experience.
StabiliTrak is now available on the Park Avenue. StabiliTrak is designed to help the driver maintain control when the car is in danger of sliding or skidding, and it comes standard on the 2000 Park Avenue Ultra. Further improving safety are side air bags, which come standard on Park Avenues, along with new rear child seat tether anchors.
Two models are available: Park Avenue and Park Avenue Ultra.
Park Avenue ($31,800) comes with a 205-horsepower 3.8-liter V6 engine. It comes trimmed in cloth with power windows, power mirrors, climate control, cruise control, automatic headlights and other convenience features. Anti-lock brakes and side air bags are standard.
Park Avenue Ultra ($36,800) gets a 240-horsepower supercharged version of the same V6. Trimmed in leather and wood, the Ultra adds heated front seats, mirrors with parallel park assist, a compass, moisture-sensing wipers and other features. In addition to its more powerful engine, the Ultra comes with StabiliTrak, traction control, a heavy-duty transmission and magnetic speed-sensitive power steering.
Park Avenue presents a muscular grace that Buick designers want their cars to project, particularly in the slightly more aggressive looks of the Ultra. Park Avenue prioritizes comfort over style. Its cabin and trunk are the roomiest in the class and big doors make getting in and out easy. Park Avenue packs these virtues in a shape that's graceful and quietly elegant.
The Park Avenue offers more interior room in both the front and rear seats than the Lincoln Continental or Chrysler LHS. Getting in and out is devoid of the simultaneous duck-and-bend movement required in swoopier designs. The trunk is slightly larger than that of the LHS and Continental.
The interior looks clean and tasteful. The cowl curves modestly over the main instruments. Besides offering a contemporary appearance, this design allows room for a big speedometer and tachometer that are easy to scan. The dashboard shows sharp color contrasts between secondary controls (sound and climate control systems) and the main interior colors. Wood trim accents the door trim panels. Audio and climate controls use big buttons that are easy to find and operate when the car is in motion.
The Ultra includes a full array of luxury goodies - premium CD sound system, leather, power everything - that make the going more pleasant. A trip computer allows the driver to calculate fuel economy and miles to empty. It also provides tire pressure, oil level and coolant level information. Two trip odometers are provided, which can be useful on long trips.
Next Generation (reduced force) dual front airbags are standard and side airbags are optional. The Park Avenue offers a strong safety cage construction and the doors are designed to automatically unlock within 15 seconds of an airbag deployment. The Park Avenue offers low insurance costs when compared with other cars. It also offers good fuel efficiency: an EPA-estimated 19 miles per gallon city, 28 mpg highway for Park Avenue and 18/27 for the supercharged Ultra.
The Concert Sound III stereo system, which comes standard on the Ultra and is available as an option on the Park Avenue, come with nine speakers, an amplifier and an integrated antenna system.
The Park Avenue uses one of the stiffest chassis in the entire GM warehouse. That's a big plus. A stiff chassis helps the suspension engineers create ride and handling traits appropriate to a particular car's target market. It also makes it easier to keep noise out of the car, and pays long-term durability benefits.
Given this trait, it was interesting to see the handling distinctions between the basic Park Avenue and the flagship Ultra. The ride and handling traits of the standard Park Avenue are indistinguishable from its predecessors, traits that have earned big Buick sedans a stodgy image over the years - floating ride quality, pronounced body roll and vague power steering.
We prefer the livelier performance of the Park Avenue Ultra. With its supercharged engine and touring suspension, it can easily take on the best Lincoln and Chrysler have to offer. If the Ultra's extra performance isn't important to you, the standard Park Avenue may be the way to go. The Park Avenue comes well equipped and stacks up as an exceptional buy among large cars.
GM's 3800 Series II V6 offers enough smooth, quiet power to provide brisk acceleration. Available in 205-horsepower normally aspirated (Park Avenue) and 240-horsepower supercharged (Ultra) versions, the 3800 delivers lots of low rpm getaway power, instant throttle response, and plenty of punch for passing.
Power is transferred to the front wheels through one of GM's butter-smooth electronically controlled 4-speed automatic transmissions. They're among the best in the business. Anti-lock brakes come standard.
Its optional Gran Touring suspension further improves the responsiveness of the Park Avenue by replacing the standard Dynaride suspension with stiffer suspension components. The Gran Touring Package is available for the Ultra ($200) and includes special 16-inch aluminum wheels and 225/60R16 Goodyear Eagle LS Touring tires. When ordered for the Park Avenue ($335 or $285 when purchased with the leather package), the package also includes dealer-programmable magnetic variable-effort steering and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The steering system, which is different from the basic Park Avenue, varies the amount of power assist as vehicle speed and/or steering wheel angle increases, providing a significantly better sense of where the front wheels are pointed. The stiffer suspension package reduces ride height slightly and yields much sharper responses in quick maneuvers. The tradeoff in ride quality from the standard Park Avenue is minuscule.
All in all, the Ultra's enhanced control and firmer ride lends a contemporary feel that's a pleasant step forward for Buick.
Quiet operation has always been a top priority for Buick sedans, and here too the Park Avenues represent a step forward. Wind noise has been reduced to a mere whisper, and the unitbody does a superior job of keeping road noise out of the cabin. The supercharged engine is audible at full throttle, but we think it's worth a little extra noise to have its superior thrust.
Add roomy seats with real move-around comfort, and the going becomes positively serene, particularly in freeway cruising. The Park Avenue isn't quite as quiet as a Lexus LS 400, but the distinctions are academic in most operating situations - unlike the distinction in price.
Buick has characterized itself as a purveyor of 'Premium American Motorcars,' and the Park Avenue is its ambassador for this theme with subdued good looks, class-leading roominess, and many luxury features. It's also an excellent value for a car in this size and price class.
The Park Avenue is no sports sedan, but the Ultra with the Gran Touring Suspension is surprisingly athletic.
Park Avenue ($31,800); Ultra ($36,800).
Options As Tested
Power moonroof ($1095); Gran Touring Suspension ($200).
Park Avenue Ultra ($36,800).