What's New for 1997
Buick freshens the LeSabre with new front and rear styling. Redesigned wheel selections, new seats on Custom models and walnut instrument panel appliques round out the visual changes. Structurally, the LeSabre now meets side-impact standards.
The LeSabre is the most popular full-size car sold in America today, and has been for four years running. It isn't hard to understand why. This award-winning Buick has a reputation for trouble-free, comfortable motoring with accommodations for six passengers, front-wheel drive, and a torquey V6 engine pulling the whole package around town.
LeSabre is available in Custom or Limited trim, and we recommend the Gran Touring Package, which includes very handsome alloy wheels, a more competent suspension, magnetic variable effort steering and automatic level control.
This year, changes to the LeSabre appear substantial, but, in reality, are nothing more than a styling freshening. Expected early last year, Buick delayed the new sheetmetal until winter of 1996. A new hood with integral grille, revised headlamps, and a new front bumper fascia are the most obvious changes. Also new are wheels, moldings, taillights, rear bumper, and nomenclature. The rear license plate surround now has a handy pull-down surface. Inside, a larger coin holder makes life more convenient for tollway drivers, and redesigned seat belt buckles are easier to unlatch. LeSabre Custom gets revised front seats for improved comfort. Like all 1997 models built after September 1, 1996, the LeSabre sports beefed up side-impact protection.
Pathetically, two reminder chimes are standard. One tells the driver that the parking brake has been engaged for more than 50 feet. The other reminds the driver that the turn signal has been blinking for nearly a mile. These features are scary commentary on the abilities of the average driver in America.
Priced in the 20's, LeSabre competes with such cars as the Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis, both of which offer V8 power, larger interiors and rear-wheel drive. We like the Gran Touring model of the LeSabre, but sporting drivers may prefer the bigger rear-wheel drive Crown Vic or the slick Pontiac Bonneville.