2003 Buick LeSabre

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starting MSRP

Key specs

Base trim shown


Body style


Seating capacity

200.0” x 57.0”


Front-wheel drive



2 trims

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2003 Buick LeSabre review: Our expert's take

By Cars.com Editors

How do you last 100 years in the auto industry?

The formula is simple: Do everything well, even if nothing spectacular.

That’s why Buick celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2003, and does so with a full-size LeSabre Celebration Edition rather than a cake.

You might expect that ’03 would have been a great year to bring out a new LeSabre or Park Avenue. Or maybe a Regal if not a Century.

Of course, a new Century might not have been all that fitting because it’s scheduled to go away soon as a separate model and become an option package on the next-generation Regal for ’05.

Oh well, at least Century made the first century.

But we digress.

Word is that when Bob Lutz arrived and took over advance product development at General Motors, one of his first tasks was to survey vehicles planned by each division.

When Lutz visited the Buick studios to see future products approved by Ron Zarrella, former head of GM’s North American automotive operations, he ordered the designers chained to their computers and locked in their cubicles until their imaginations were resuscitated.

Lutz’ philosophy is that a vehicle’s design must have enough emotion to entice a human being to become indebted for 24 to 48 months to satisfy his or her passion.

Before Lutz arrived, Buick’s advance products stirred emotion, but, it has been said, the emotion was melancholy. So future products, such as the next-generation LeSabre and Regal, were pushed back a year while others, such as the open-top Bengal tribute to Buick ad spokesman/golfer Tiger Woods, were shelved.

So rather than an all-new vehicle to commemorate 100 years in the business for ’03, you’ll have to settle for a LeSabre with body-colored lower fascias/rocker-panel moldings and chrome-plated aluminum wheels.

Doesn’t get the heart palpitating, but it could be worse. Just ask Oldsmobile.

But we digress again.

Reportedly Buick’s game plan calls for the next-generation LeSabre/Regal due out for the ’05 model year, with Regal up early, LeSabre later in the year. And a final decision has to be made on the LaCrosse concept replacing the Park Avenue after ’05. With Olds going out of business, Buick reportedly will inherit the Silhouette minivan for ’06–with a new name.

Still to be determined is whether Buick will add a new sedan/sport-utility crossover originally dubbed Centurion. The concept, renamed Centieme, French for 100, will be on this year’s auto-show circuit to test public reaction to an all-wheel-drive machine with three rows of seats. First thing showgoers should do is petition GM to hire someone sober to pick new names.

To give Buick a token new product until reinforcements arrive, a V-8 powered Rainier midsize sport-ute companion to the Rendezvous will bow as an ’04 model next fall. It’s built off the midsize Chevy TrailBlazer, not the extended length EXT version with three r ows of seats.

Digressed enough.

We tested the ’03 LeSabre Celebration Edition. Styling is Buick conservative. Two-tone seats and chrome plated wheels do little to liven up the look.

But LeSabre is function over flash.

To sum up, it is big, roomy, comfortable and quiet, just like it has been year after year after year.

Front- and rear-seat room is cavernous, as is the trunk, which will hold not only the golf clubs, but perhaps even the electric cart as well.

Smooth ride and precise handling, too. Smooth ride isn’t surprising, because you’d expect–no, demand–that in a premium sedan. The precise handling is a pleasant benefit, considering LeSabre is not just a premium sedan, but a really big, full-size premium sedan that you’d expect to float in corners and turns. It stands its ground.

Of course, the addition of StabiliTrak helps. That’s the Cadillac stability-control system that keeps you pointed in the right direction and revents lateral wandering to avoid slip, slide or skid regardless of road surface.

LeSabre is a full-size sedan able to climb inclines, merge swiftly into traffic and pass gray hairs slumbering in the center lane, yet it delivers 20 m.p.g. city/29 m.p.g. highway, a rating some vehicles half its size would love to carry on their window sticker.

The 3.8-liter, 205-horsepower V-6 teamed with 4-speed automatic delivers ample power, though some would argue that a supercharged V-6 would be even more desirable. You have to move up to the Park Avenue to get one.

The Celebration package also adds a lot of fluff items, such as two-tone leather-trimmed seats, memory seats and mirrors, 16-inch chrome-plated wheels, redundant turn signals in the sideview mirrors, and head-up display to flash such information as vehicle speed in a screen along the bottom of the windshield in front of the driver.

Don’t know how well those redundant turn signals do in warning motorists behind that you are about to turn, but from the driver’s seat, they look like beacons that quickly catch your attention.

The head-up display allows drivers to keep hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. Though a benefit for old and young drivers alike, Buick said another goal for HUD is to add even more information because it then can eliminate gauges from the instrument panel.

An extra-cost item on the Celebration is XM satellite radio that offers 100 channels. In keeping with the character of the car being driven, we set the dial to tunes from the ’50s, though you can move up through the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s or lock into rap, an easy sing-along because nearly all the words are only four letters.

The LeSabre Limited sedan starts at $30,650. Add $1,885 for the Celebration package.

Standard equipment includes dual-stage front air bags and dual side bags, four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock, power windows/mirrors/locks/seats, traction control, OnStar, automatic leveling suspension, rear window defogger, remote keyless entry, moisture-sensing wipers, air conditioning, AM/FM stereo with cassette and CD changer and heated seats.

Only item added was the XM radio at $325, plus freight at $710.

LeSabre has a reputation as one of GM’s most bulletproof cars. Change the oil, and it runs forever. Only time you bring it back to the dealership is to trade it in on a new one. You’ll just have to wait a couple more years until that’s possible.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.7
  • Interior 4.3
  • Performance 4.4
  • Value 4.6
  • Exterior 4.1
  • Reliability 4.7
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Most recent consumer reviews


It's like driving a La-Z-Boy

I had purchased my first Buick in 2017 when my current vehicle bit the dust. I was a traveling journeyman electrician stuck in Des Moines, Iowa. I purchased the 2003 LeSabre for $500 and wasn't expecting it to last long. It had 87k miles on it and was used as a winter car only. It gave up in the spring of 2021 with 350k miles on the odometer. It was fixable, but I let it go. I'm about to purchase another, same year, same make and model, with a shade over 100k miles....


COMFORT!!! Died a tragic and premature death.

This was the most comfortable car I ever owned. Driving this car throughout college, I embraced the "old man" stigma that came with it. The nicest way to describe the interior styling is "simple." However, for 2003, the steering wheel controls and heated seats are a nice touch. The trunk can carry so much, and even tall passengers can use the back seat with no issue. This car takes some getting used to. The hood seems to extend 20ft beyond the driver's seat, and it feels like floating over the road. However, if you are lucky enough to call this beauty yours, you will embrace what it is, and enjoy the floating boat way of driving down the road. I feel this review would not be complete without saying that my beauty tragically kicked it around 110,000 miles (not incredibly high) after the transmission started skipping and metal shavings were found in the transmission fluid upon investigation. As far as I know, this is not the norm.


just hit 200,000 miles

I am the fourth owner and after I purchased it I had some major issues, but pushed hard and got it fixed before my 30 days were up. It drives so smooth there are times I cant tell its running. I am now dealing with a slight oil leak that my mechanic says is normal with an older car, he says there is nothing I can do. I also get a weird tinny sound when the ac or heat aren't on, not always but often I hear this sound. The car is very comfortable whether sitting in the back or front, there is plenty of space. I paid 3000 for this car and it had 168,000 miles, I feel like I have totally gotten good use for the money.

See all 35 consumer reviews


Based on the 2003 Buick LeSabre base trim.
Frontal driver
Frontal passenger
Nhtsa rollover rating
Side driver
Side rear passenger


New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Buick
New car program benefits
36 months/36,000 miles
72 months/100,000 miles
36 months/36,000 miles
Roadside assistance
36 months/36,000 miles
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
5 model years or newer/up to 75,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
12 months/12,000 miles bumper-to-bumper original warranty, then may continue to 6 years/100,000 miles limited (depending on variables)
6 years/100,000 miles
Dealer certification required
172-point inspection
Roadside assistance
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

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