1991 Buick Park Avenue

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    Expert Reviews 3 of 3
1991 Buick Park Avenue 3.7 3
$ 620-4,176
July 9, 1990
The men from Olds are Galant, the guys from Buick are simply a tease.

A 1991 Buick Park Avenue arrived for a test drive. Make that a test lope- around a few blocks, over a few bridges, a few sweeping turns and a couple of chances to accelerate and brake.

It was hardly a true test of the car, and we reserve final judgment on the Park Avenue once it`s around longer than for a coffee break.

But even in the brief time we had the car, we can tell you that:

- The new 170-horsepower, 3800 V-6 is quiet yet quicker than the former 165-h.p., 3800 V-6. It seems like more than a 5-h.p. spread. The new electronically controlled 4-speed automatic also is mighty quiet.

- With its new rounded aero style for the 1991 model year, the Park Avenue looks about as long as your run of the mill aircraft carrier. You probably could land a Skylark on the hood. Though the wheelbase remains 110.8 inches, the overall length has grown to 205.2 inches from 197 inches.

- The increased length was devoted to rear-seat passenger and trunk room. The rear seat has the limo feel; the trunk is ample enough for a couple sets of clubs plus a caddie or two.

- Though a front-wheel-drive, four-door sedan, the new rounded sheet metal for 1991 makes the Park Avenue look very similar to the rear-wheel-drive 1991 Chevrolet Caprice now on the market. The car we drove was finished in Ice Blue, a steel blue that looks very rich and makes the car appear even bigger. - The interior instrumentation is new and a few features that quickly catch your attention are the light control switches in the driver`s door-yes, the driver`s door-and the front seat passenger`s air/heater controls in the passenger`s door-yes, the passenger`s door. The light/temperature switches are up front at the top of each door. They take getting used to, but it cleans up the dash.

The passenger air/heat controls are especially clever. The passenger now can warm up or cool off without relying on the driver.

- If you loved trying to stretch from the driver`s seat to the glove box to reach the hidden trunk/gas lid pop open buttons, you`ll be disappointed that both are conveniently in the lower dash to the left of the steering column.

- That added length provides limo-like room for rear seat occupants. Dynaride suspension and road-hugging, 15-inch, all-season radials contributed to a smooth, quiet ride.

- General Motors Corp. long has maintained that thinner is better for bodyside moldings. Thin moldings look good but do little to protect the body from parking lot dents or dings. The Park Avenue moldings are wide and thick and should keep the sheet metal from suffering a terminal case of acne.

- Among the standard equipment, you`ll appreciate antilock brakes and driver`s side air bag. As an added safety feature, you can`t shift from ``park`` to ``reverse`` without depressing the brake pedal.

- If it`s power controlled, it`s standard in the Park Avenue, with a few added touches such as a radio system that automatically boosts the sound level when you increase vehicle speed and solar glass to reduce the rays entering the passenger compartment.

For 1991 the Electra name has been dropped and the big Buick sedans are called the Park Avenue and the top-of-the-line Ultra. The Park Avenue is priced at $24,385, up $2,635 from the `90 version, and the Ultra starts at $27,420, down $405 from `90.

The 1991 Park Avenue being shipped to dealers and the companion C-body 1991 Oldsmobile 98, which arrives this fall, have been redesigned. The third member of the C-body trio, the Cadillac DeVille, was redone in 1989.

    Expert Reviews 3 of 3

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