The "Best Selling Family Sedan" in America has a new look for model year 2000. The Buick LeSabre wasn't broke, so the General Motors division didn't fix it -- per se. "Our customers gave us a short list of things they wanted to see changed,"
said Robert J. Higgins, assistant brand manager-product for LeSabre. "Most of our customers keep coming back, over and over again." He said bigger side mirrors was on that list, "so we made them bigger. And they said to get rid of that fake vent
window on the driver's and front passenger's side -- and we did. "And they said it would really be nice if you gave us a bigger speedometer with bigger numbers." The speedometer in the past generation of LeSabres, he explained, was in a big
rectangular space in the instrument panel that was designed for a digital cluster. But, before the car went into production, analog instruments became popular again. The new speedometer has only one set of numerals on it. Most others have a an outer
ring that registers in miles per hour and an inner ring of smaller numerals denoting kilometers per hour. The new LeSabre speedometer can switch from mph to kph at the touch of a button. If you're driving down the road doing 60 mph and push the
button, the needle will quickly jump to about 100 kph. Hit the button again and the needle will drop back to 60 mph. Consumers asked for more storage space inside the car, so the 2000 LeSabre planners held a brainstorming session and tossed around a
variety of ideas. "The Hughes Aircraft Company provided us with a driving simulator and we put all of our ideas into a simulated car and then drove it," Higgins said. "Some stuff that sounded good in the brainstorming session just didn't work
out. Like the tissue dispenser on the underside of the center armrest. When driving, it was difficult to reach the tissue, so we scrapped that idea. "We thought: How about a pocket or pouch on the front side of the driver's seat cushion? That didn't
work either because it distracted the driver when he tried to fish something out of it." Mechanically, the 2000 LeSabre is powered by the same 3.8-liter sequential port fuel-injected Series II V-6 engine that propelled the previous generation
LeSabre. It's mated with a four-speed electronic automatic overdrive transaxle. There's a new standard suspension system that does a better job of smoothing out the bumps while still giving good ride control. The LeSabre for a 800-mile road test
was outfitted with the Gran Touring suspension system that includes a 3.05 axle ratio, touring tires and magnetic-variable steering, which is worth the extra cost. "We've lowered the Gran Touring suspension price substantially," Higgins said. Now,
it's an almost insignificant $185. That Gran Touring suspension makes the LeSabre a real joy to drive on freeways or mountain highways. The responsive 205-horsepower engine is more t
han adequate for most needs and it provides very good fuel economy. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy estimates are 19 miles per gallon in city driving and 30 mpg on the highway. I averaged 25.4 mpg for about 60 percent highway
and 40 percent urban/suburban driving. Higgins said the 2000 LeSabre is priced about the same as its 1999 predecessor. The test car was the upscale LeSabre Limited, which had a base price of $26,695. Adding $2,110 worth of options and a $615
destination charge brought the bottom line on the window sticker to $29,420 before taxes and any dealer-added items. The 2000 LeSabre is larger both inside and outside than its predecessor. The trunk has 18 cubic feet of space, which can accommodate
luggage for five on a vacation trip. All of this made the $29,420 total price on the window sticker seem reasonable. It sure looks like Buick will have the "Best Selling Family Sedan" for the eighth straight year.