1997 Buick Century Review

Pros & Cons

  • Tight construction, 6-passenger capacity, optional integrated child seat, standard dual-zone air conditioning
  • No engine upgrade available, staid styling, no traction control option
List Price Estimate
$777 - $1,899

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Vehicle overview

How many of us know someone who owned a Buick Century between 1982 and 1996, aside from Avis or National? Buick moved more than two-million A-body Centurys during this period, which means that more than one out of every 150 Americans brought one of these no-nonsense sedans home during the past 15 years. Wow. That's almost scary, isn't it?

For 1997, Buick trots out an all-new Century sedan that puts the 1996 model to shame. More room inside, more trunk volume, a more ergonomic interior, and a solid structure are the core improvements to the new model, but one look at the smooth exterior shape of the 1997 model speaks volumes about the Century for the next century.

Wayne Kady, chief exterior designer of the new car, was looking for a shape that would have a long shelf life. "We purposely avoided anything that could be considered trendy," said Kady. No duh. The new Century is about as exciting to look at as a Dan Ackroyd movie. The most distinctive feature is the traditional chromed oval grille up front. Closer examination reveals a hand-me-down from the Riviera and Park Avenue; a character line running from the forward edge of the hood to the decklid along the bottom of the windows lends the Century a bit of class. Inside, the Century boasts contemporary styling, with large and legible gauges and controls facing seating for six passengers. Rear seating is elevated theater-style, lending an airy feel to the interior.

Two flavors are available. Custom comes fully loaded, unless you want a remote decklid release, retained accessory power, automatic ComforTemp climate controls, and speed-sensitive steering. For these items, you've gotta pop for the Limited model. The wagon disappears, like Brontosaurus into the La Brea Tar Pits.

Hardware includes a 3.1-liter V6 engine good for 160 horsepower. A four-wheel independent DynaRide suspension and four-wheel antilock brakes are also standard. Battery rundown protection means the car won't suffer a meltdown in extremely cold weather. Families benefit from an optional integrated child seat, and side-impact protection exceeds 1997 standards. Oddly, the smaller Buick Skylark comes standard with traction control, but this feature is not available on the Century at any cost.

Buick has a competent sedan with the 1997 Century. However, GM stablemates Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac have similar vehicles that differ mainly in terms of styling and content. The Chevy Malibu LS is an amazing value. Ditto the euro-flavored Oldsmobile Cutlass. The new Olds Intrigue is simply gorgeous, and Pontiac's Grand Prix is one of our favorites of the new year. Buick Century brand manager, Anthony H. Derhake, says Buick's new sedan is "classic and contemporary without being trendy. It has a clean, enduring design with classic Buick themes..." That's the essence of the Buick Century, according to the marketing whizzes, so if this is what you're looking for in a mid-sized sedan, step right up.

1997 Highlights

Buick redesigns its bread-and-butter midsize sedan, dropping the wagon variant in the process. A 3.1-liter V6 engine, roomier interior, larger trunk and traditional Buick styling cues highlight the new Century.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1997 Buick Century.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Great Car
Quiet and comfortable, we bought this car used and have been happy ever since. Replacing factory tires with Goodyear Regatta-2 improved handling and ride beyond belief. Great family car, reliable and inexpensive to operate.
Iris Flower,07/31/2002
The vehicle has been reliable. No problem starting, no stalling. Rides comfortably on rough roads. Has ABS that work well in inclement weather. Automatic lights at dark are convenient and the daylight running lights are a safety factor. Instrumentation is convenient. Trunk is roomy and has a net to hold small items.
No Bells or Whistles
I bought this Buick against my style requirements out of cost and necessity. I have not a single complaint about this car from 35000 to 159000mi. It was not attractive but more than functional. I sold it to my sister to buy a Maxima and miss that Century in every way other than styling and pick up. Excellent, comfortable transportation that owed me nothing.
Ride your living room couch!
I love this car! It has all the bells and whistles and has been very reliable. The only problems we've had have been from zero maintenance the first 75000 miles before we bought it. After a transmission rebuild it's been flawless.

Features & Specs

See all Used 1997 Buick Century features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger3 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger3 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 1997 Buick Century

Used 1997 Buick Century Overview

The Used 1997 Buick Century is offered in the following submodels: Century Sedan. Available styles include Custom 4dr Sedan, and Limited 4dr Sedan.

What's a good price on a Used 1997 Buick Century?

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Which used 1997 Buick Centuries are available in my area?

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Can't find a used 1997 Buick Centurys you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Buick Century for sale - 7 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $19,399.

Find a used Buick for sale - 4 great deals out of 6 listings starting at $24,037.

Find a used certified pre-owned Buick Century for sale - 8 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $9,298.

Find a used certified pre-owned Buick for sale - 1 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $16,708.

Should I lease or buy a 1997 Buick Century?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Buick lease specials
Check out Buick Century lease specials