As we've often said, a car can change dramatically from one year to the next without having to start with new sheetmetal. The 1994 Buick LeSabre is a prime example of how a pinch here and there can lead to noticeable improvement.

For the new model year you can count the changes on one hand. The driver-side air bag is joined by a passenger-side bag as standard. And the traction control system has been upgraded.

Previously with traction control, if one of the drive wheels started to lose traction, the anti-lock brake system applied the binders to slow the spinning wheel. For 1994, Buick takes that a step further so a new powertrain control module also will cut back power from the engine until traction is restored. What that means is that ABS and the engine help prevent wheel slippage.

You probably won't notice the system's sophistication when you take off from the light on rain-glazed pavement, as we did, until you look at those around you doing a little rumba until the tires get a firm grip on the blacktop.

Also new is the addition of a Solar Ray windshield designed to reduce the amount of heat coming into the passenger cabin to hold down interior temperatures.

That's about it for newness in the '94 LeSabre Limited we tested. It still offers the same energetic 3.8-liter, 170-horsepower, V-6 teamed with a 4-speed automatic as in '93. And there's the array of standard comfort and convenience features such as air, power brakes and steering, rear window defogger, power door locks, power windows, dual mirrors, stainless steel exhaust, tinted glass, AM/FM stereo with power antenna and clock, and tilt steering.

Base price is $24,420. Traction control adds $175, tach and gauges $163, compact disc player $244, grand touring suspension package $399 (includes an upgrade from 15-inch to 16-inch Goodyear Eagle GA tires, leather-wrapped wheel and electronic level control), leather/vinyl seats $500, and a prestige option package $670 (driver passenger air controls, rear seat air ducts, cornering lamps, power passenger seat). The sticker came to $26,571. Add $575 for freight.

The Park Avenue promotes prestige, the LeSabre value. LeSabre's attraction is that it offers most of what you can get in the 5-inch longer Park Avenue (but not a hood ornament), yet saves you about $5,000.