What's New for 2002
Buick's top-of-the-line luxury sedan remains virtually unchanged for 2002. Minor updates include wood grain trim on the doors and instrument panel and two new exterior colors.
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. When it comes to Buick's flagship Park Avenue, lean design is the first thing you notice. Classy and dignified, the sedan sports 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 2002 remain unchanged, and that's not a bad thing. The 3.8-liter V6 offers both solid performance and great gas mileage, while the 240-horsepower supercharged version really gets things moving in a hurry. Luckily, this upgraded powerplant comes standard on the Ultra, which, when fully loaded, tips the scales at a hefty 2 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 head-up display that projects speed, turn signals, high beams and warning lights onto the bottom of the windshield. There are also the Prestige 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 225/60R16 blackwall tires and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Last year, the Park Avenue introduced Ultrasonic Rear Park Assist, an advanced vehicle parking distance system. The device 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 optional 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.