What's New for 2000
Park Avenue gets StabiliTrak, GM's advanced vehicle stability control system.
While some auto analysts see a rebirth of the coupe segment on the horizon, nobody can argue with the viability of a well-executed, fully equipped large sedan in today's market. Clean design is the first thing you notice about the Park Avenue. Classy and dignified, there are no tacky add-ons or exaggerated styling themes here. Sure, a coupe this big would look downright silly (did somebody say Riviera?), but a sedan body looks right at home on this massive platform.
Ever think that redesigning a car to have larger exterior dimensions could cause some key interior dimensions to shrink? Well, such is the case with the Park Avenue. With that curvy body it gained in 1997 came the loss of a little front legroom and a whole cubic foot of cargo capacity. To compensate, Buick increased head-, rear leg- and hip room, while improving the liftover into the trunk. Powertrains remain unchanged, and that's not a bad thing. GM's award-winning 3800 Series II V6 provides V8-like power. The 240-horsepower supercharged version is a joy. Luckily, it comes standard on the Ultra, which, when fully loaded tips the scales at a hefty two tons.
There are two trim levels, the well-equipped base Park Avenue and upscale Ultra model. A variety of goodies are standard or optional on either, such as rain-sensing wipers and a head-up display that projects speed, turn signals, high beams and idiot lights onto the bottom of the windshield. There's also "personal choice" and "convenience plus" option packages, as well as a "gran touring" package, which adds programmable-effort steering, a beefier suspension, larger brake rotors, 16-inch alloy wheels riding on 225/60 blackwalls and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Topping the list of improvements for 2000 is StabiliTrak, an advanced integrated vehicle stability control system, which is standard on Ultra and optional on Park Avenue. StabiliTrak helps the driver maintain control by electronically comparing what the driver wants the car to do with information from sensors indicating how the car is actually responding. If the car is in danger of sliding or skidding, StabiliTrak slows and stabilizes the car to help the driver maintain control. Safety is further enhanced this year with standard seat-mounted side airbags for the driver and right-front passenger, and rear child seat-tether anchors. As on most premium GM models, buyers can opt for the dealer-installed, hands-free OnStar mobile communications system.
Don't fix it if it ain't broke. Buick adhered to that wisdom for 1998-99 and again this year by making only minor modifications to the Park Avenue, a quiet, comfortable automobile with solid build quality. It's no surprise to us that it garners high praise as a good value from auto reviewers, especially when compared to the sky-high price tags of some imported luxury sedans.