What's New for 2001
Buick's full-size Park Avenue gets minor refinements in the areas of safety, convenience and colors for 2001. The biggest news is the addition of the Ultrasonic Rear Park Assist system, improving safety while backing up.
While the coupe segment is seeing a rebirth of sorts, 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.
Powertrains for 2001 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 the upscale Ultra model. A variety of goodies are standard or optional on either, such as rain-sensing wipers and a heads-up display that projects speed, turn signals, high beams and idiot lights onto the bottom of the windshield. There are also the "presteige" 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 2001 is Ultrasonic Rear Park Assist, an advanced integrated vehicle parking distance system, which is optional on Ultra and prestige package-equipped vehicles. The system helps the driver to judge the distance between the rear of the vehicle and objects behind the car. Safety is further enhanced 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, the OnStar mobile communications system is standard on the Ultra and available on the base model.
Don't fix it if it ain't broke. Buick adhered to that wisdom again this year by making only minor modifications to the Park Avenue, a quiet, comfortable automobile with solid build quality. The Park Avenue is a good value, especially when compared to the sky-high price tags of some imported luxury sedans.