Vehicle Overview
New Southern Walnut woodgrain trim decorates the instrument panel and doors of Buick’s top model. Traction control now comes with the most popular Park Avenue option group. A new convenience console is included with five-passenger seating in the Ultra model.

If any Buick model is going to disappear in the next few years, there’s speculation that the Park Avenue might be the leading candidate. The full-size, front-drive, near-luxury sedan is similar to the Buick LeSabre, but the Park Avenue measures nearly 7 inches longer and comes with more standard features at a higher price. Although it’s built from the same basic design as the LeSabre, Cadillac DeVille, Oldsmobile Aurora and other full-size cars from General Motors, each model has its own unique styling and features.

The Park Avenue’s optional ultrasonic parking assist uses sensors in the back bumper to detect obstacles while backing up; the system notifies the driver with audible and visual warnings.

The Park Avenue is bigger in dimensions but has the same basic look as other Buick sedans. At 206.8 inches long overall, it is almost 7 inches longer than the LeSabre — Buick’s lower-priced, family-oriented full-size model. The Park Avenue rides on a 113.8-inch wheelbase, measures 74.7 inches wide and stands 57.4 inches high.

Both Park Avenue models display a traditional Buick-style grille with vertical chrome bars, but the Ultra sedan has less chrome trim than the base model and different aluminum wheels.

Seating for six occupants is available in the roomy interior. Not only is the front bench split 55/45, but it is actually shaped for two occupants and comes with a folding center armrest that contains cupholders and storage space. That feature may make a sixth occupant less than comfortable.

Leather upholstery is standard in the Ultra and optional for the base model. The Ultra has genuine wood trim inside and comes with optional front bucket seats. The trunks in both Park Avenue models hold a spacious 19.1 cubic feet of cargo. GM’s OnStar communication system is standard on the Ultra and comes as a factory-installed option for the base model.

Under the Hood
The base engine is a 205-horsepower, 3.8-liter V-6, while the Ultra packs a supercharged version of that engine, which is rated at 240 hp. The base engine runs on regular gasoline, but the Ultra’s supercharged V-6 commands premium fuel. Both engines work with a four-speed-automatic transmission.

Traction control and StabiliTrak — GM’s electronic stability system — are standard on the Ultra and optional on the base model. Both models have antilock brakes and side-impact airbags for the front seats.

Driving Impressions
Genuine driving pleasure is the rule in a Park Avenue, which serves as an excellent road car for long trips. Occupants can expect a smooth and easygoing ride in a comfortable and spacious interior. While the driver shouldn’t look forward to sports-car maneuvering, the Park Avenue is an exceptionally easy automobile to operate. Drivers of the Park Avenue will enjoy handling that is a cut above the big-car norm.

Acceleration is smooth and easy with either engine. The extra horsepower in the Ultra delivers an additional helping of confidence when passing or merging, but the base model’s V-6 should fully satisfy most drivers. Though it’s not as modern or advanced as some competitors, the Park Avenue has a lot to offer the conservative-minded owner who appreciates strong performance and a sizable load of comfort and convenience features.

Reported by Jim Flammang  for;
From the 2002 Buying Guide;
Posted on 4/15/02