1997 Buick LeSabre

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1997 Buick LeSabre

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Available in 2 styles:  LeSabre 4dr Sedan Custom shown
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Asking Price Range
$1,039–$5,663

Estimated MPG

19 city / 30.1 hwy


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Expert Reviews

    Expert Reviews 3 of 6

By 

The Morning Call and Mcall.com

In many ways, America's best-selling full-size car, the Buick LeSabre, is a lot like a pair of those beltless pants with the elastic waistband: comfortable to wear, traditionally styled.

Maybe that's why it's one of the Lehigh Valley's favorites (the car, not the pants).

For the LeSabre, the '96 model year was short. You'd almost swear that GM was trying to remake the calendar. Now arriving on dealer lots is the '97 model.

For those looking for big changes, look again.

The front end has been refashioned with a new grille and hood. New halogen headlamps are the latest look and impart a modern feel. Body side moldings have a cleaner appearance, while out back, the tail lights have been changed. The Buick badge moves from the trunk lid to the rear bumper. Inside, the fake wood trim has a new pattern and the seats get a new design.

So basically, this Buick gets a facial.

The LeSabre is built on the same platform as the Pontiac Bonneville and Oldsmobile 88/LSS. But it has a much more traditional, big-car character. The ride is cushy; the steering, power assisted; the suspension, soft. A 3.8-liter V-6 is the only engine offered. Powering the front wheels, this overhead-valve design produces a healthy 205 horsepower at 5,200 rpm and 230 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. This is only 10 fewer horses than a Mustang GT. Needless to say, power is plentiful and comes on smoothly. Hitched to a four-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission, it dishes out the shifts in seamless fashion.

The soft suspension muffled road intrusions well, although there was some float, despite the firmer Gran Touring suspension option. The body leaned through corners, but the magnetic variable-effort steering has a more progressive feel and comes with the firmer suspension. That said, the total package still tilts toward the comfortable side of motoring and the firmness is relative. If you like this type of car, but want a more sporting demeanor, GM offers similar cars that are more athletic.

Braking was adequate, courtesy of front-disc, rear-drum brakes with anti-lock. Traction control is optional.

Inside, driver and passengers alike are treated to a soft, quiet interior that sees only modest changes from previous years. A new seat design makes the seat more supportive over long drives. Although enthusiasts might find them too soft, most drivers will find them comfy. The dash is as flat as Kansas, with most major controls easy to use and operate. There's still some chrome trim and fake wood, but most controls are decked out in pleasing black plastics.

Especially endearing are GM's steering-wheel mounted radio and climate controls, which are convenient to use. The climate control has separate regulation for driver and passenger, something that might save a few marital arguments. GM's turn-signal/cruise control/wiper-washer stalk is still as cheap and flimsy as ever, but othe rwise this car had a pleasing quality to it.

The trunk had lots of room for quite a few boxes.

A new feature available this year is Personal Choice. It allows two drivers using two keyless entry fobs to set the memory door locks, delayed locking, security feedback and perimeter lighting features.

Overall, this car offers most of the luxury that Buick's Park Avenue offers, but at a lower price. Some options, such as heated seats, power moonroof, supercharged engine and bigger trunk, are not available. But if you can live without some of these frills, this Buick will be a comfortable, traditional choice for a full-size car that'll fit many people's lifestyles. Just like those beltless pants.

Buick LeSabre Limited for '97 Standard: 3.8-liter V-6, four-speed electronic automatic transmission, dual airbags, antilock brakes, memory door locks, twilight sentinel, remote keyless entry, tilt steering wheel, aluminum wheels, air-conditioning, rear window d efroster, auto-dimming rear view mirror, lighted vanity mirrors, AM/FM cassette stereo, power six-way driver and passenger seats, power windows.

Optional: Automatic leveling control, electric mirrors, split bench seats with leather seating surfaces, Gran Touring Package (3.06 axle ratio, gran touring suspension, blackwall P215/60R16 touring tires), power cassette-CD, steering wheel radio controls.

Base price: $25,505.

As tested: $27,966.

EPA rating: 19 mpg city, 30 mpg highway.

Warranty: Three-year, 36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper.


    Expert Reviews 3 of 6

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