Expect the 1999 Buick Century Limited to get more attention now that Oldsmobile will drop its cousin, Cutlass, which was built off the same platform, after the '99 model run.

The only drawback was the wife's comment, "It's an old-people's car," made when her husband was behind the wheel, not when she took command.

Century offers more room and more comfortable seats than Sonata or Accord, though a little trickery was used in back. The rear seat butt bowl is very deep. As such, your legs are forced closer to you to provide more rear-seat legroom without being scrunched against the backs of the front seat. Clever.

The 3.1-liter, 160-h.p. V-6 in Century is livelier, of course, than the Accord's 4 and even the Sonata's 170-h.p. V-6 because there is immediate response to the pedal. The mileage rating is 20 m.p.g. city/29 m.p.g. highway.

Like Accord, Century offers ABS as standard, but Century adds traction control to help move into the intersection without hesitating when the pavement is covered with slop.

Smoother, quieter ride than Sonata or Accord, with crisper steering response.

Base price is a respectable $20,145, or more than $700 less than Accord.

Standard equipment includes daytime running lamps; remote keyless entry; tire air-pressure monitor; speed-sensitive power steering; tilt steering; 15-inch all-season radials; air conditioning with cabin air filtration system; dual heated power mirrors; power windows/locks; AM/FM stereo with clock; and two features you can quickly grow to appreciate--lock-out prevention in which the power door won't lock if you leave the key in the ignition and "starter grind prevention," which disengages the starter if you forget the quiet engine is running and turn the key again, so you don't experience the embarrassment of listening to metal grind.

Unlike the Accord, there were a number of options, including a prestige package for $1,800 that upgrades the sound system to include cassette/seek-and-scan/controls in the steering column; cruise control; automatic dimming rearview mirror; rear seat armrest with cupholders; dual climate controls; and power driver/passenger seats; $625 for leather/vinyl seats; $375 for aluminum wheels; $75 for a body stripe; and $200 for a CD player with next/last tracking and automatic tone control; plus $560 for freight.

So, unless you can do without some of the gadgets, Century is a larger, roomier machine with the benefit of traction control, which, in the case of the test cars, ran about $2,000 more than Accord.