Posted on 10/23/2002
Vehicle Overview
Last reworked for the 1997 model year, Buick’s mainstay midsize front-wheel-drive sedan has 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.

Antilock brakes are no longer standard for the 2003 model year. The Century’s body gets a fresh look with a new graphite/chrome grille, chrome door-header openings, and new body-colored fascias and side molding. Additional interior trim padding aims to improve head-impact protection. New wood-grain switch plate covers are installed, and two new body colors will be offered.

Constructed from the same basic design as the sportier Regal, the four-door Century is more conservative in appearance, which helps account for its appeal to older buyers. Beneath the hood is a 3.1-liter V-6 engine, which differs from the Regal’s 3.8-liter power plant.

The Century has been a long-time rival of the full-size Buick LeSabre in the race to be the most popular Buick model. In its regular form, the Century’s front bench seat provides six-passenger capacity, which is offered on only a handful of midsize models.

Although 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 — vs. the Regal’s sportier front bucket seats — these cars’ interiors are very similar. The Century comes in a single trim level, but Custom and Limited option groups are available. 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.

Standard equipment includes dual-zone air conditioning, a tilt steering wheel, remote keyless entry, an AM/FM radio, and power windows and door locks. The Custom package adds folding power mirrors, cruise control, a cassette stereo and a six-way power driver’s seat. The Limited sedan features leather-surfaced seat trim and chrome wheel covers. 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.

Antilock brakes with traction control are optional. A side-impact airbag for the driver’s seat is optional with a leather-trimmed interior.

Reported by Jim Flammang  for
From the 2003 Buying Guide