Last reworked for the 1997 model year, Buick’s mainstay midsize front-wheel-drive Century sedan has usually been the company’s most popular model. Older buyers, in particular, tend to like the Century’s front bench seat, which offers space for three occupants.
Following a body freshening in 2003, the Century gets three new package options for 2004: Standard, Custom and Limited. Each group combines a number of popular features. All-disc brakes are also new for 2004, and two new body colors have been added.
Constructed from the same basic design as Buick’s sportier Regal, the four-door Century is more conservative in appearance, which helps account for its appeal to older buyers. Beneath the hood sits a 3.1-liter V-6 engine, which is tamer than the Regal’s 3.8-liter power plant.
For years, the Century has been a rival to the full-size LeSabre in the race to be the most popular Buick. In 2003, the Century earned the top spot. With its standard front bench seat, the Century provides six-passenger capacity, which is offered in only a handful of midsize models.
Even though its styling is related to that of the jauntier Regal, the Century has a different grille, rear styling features, body trim and wheels. That makes it relatively easy to tell the two apart at a glance. Both Buick sedans are 72.7 inches wide, stand 56.6 inches tall and ride a 109-inch wheelbase, but at 194.6 inches long overall, the Century is a little shorter than the Regal.
Other than the Century’s bench seating and the Regal’s sportier front bucket seats, these cars’ interiors are very similar. The Century comes in a single trim level, but three option groups are available. The Standard Package includes dual-zone climate control, remote keyless entry, power programmable door locks, a CD player, an air filtration system and power windows. The Custom Package adds a six-way power driver’s seat, cruise control, lighted visor mirrors, rear assist grips, color-keyed floormats and a trunk cargo net. Leather-appointed seating surfaces, steering-wheel radio controls and chromed wheel covers make up the Limited Package.
All versions of the Century have a three-place front bench seat with a folding center armrest that includes storage space. Trunk capacity totals 16.7 cubic feet. GM’s OnStar communication system is a factory-installed option.
Under the Hood
A 3.1-liter V-6 engine produces 175 horsepower and drives a four-speed-automatic transmission. The higher-performing Regal, by comparison, holds a 3.8-liter V-6 that yields 200 or 240 hp.
All-disc antilock brakes are optional. A side-impact airbag for the driver’s seat is available in models equipped with leather-appointed seating surfaces.