Buick Park Avenue Review from Germany

1995 Buick Park Avenue Base 3.8 Liter V6

Year of manufacture1995
First year of ownership2001
Most recent year of ownership2002
Engine and transmission 3.8 Liter V6 Automatic
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Dealer Service marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.8 / 10
Distance when acquired75000 kilometres
Most recent distance89000 kilometres
Previous carFord Thunderbird

Summary:

American luxury cars don't get any better than this

Faults:

The original battery had to be replaced at 78,000 kilometers.

No other defects have occurred so far.

General Comments:

The Buick Park Avenue is the best car I have ever owned, in terms of reliability, affordability, performance, comfort, safety - you name it.

It's got all the advantages of a full-size American cruiser from the so-called "good old days", namely the 1950s and 1960s, but none of the disadvantages.

The Park Avenue is lavishly equipped with all the goodies anyone could possibly ask for, and more. It's quiet, roomy, highly comfortable, quick, and very, very, stylish in a suave, sophisticated way. So far, so good.

On the other hand, the traditional drawbacks of older American cars are simply non-existent in the Buick. It's big on the inside without being uselessly oversized on the outside. I once had a '73 Chevy Impala Custom Coupe which was a full 40 centimeters (15.7 inches) longer, 10 centimeters (4 inches) wider than the Park Avenue and had a wheelbase more than 21 centimeters (8.5 inches) longer to boot - not to mention the extra 500 U.S. pounds of weight on the Chevy. Still, the Park Avenue offers just as much room on the inside and even as much usable trunk space. Rear seat legroom is actually better in the Buick even with myself (I'm 6'4") in the driver's seat. The Park Avenue with its 205 inches of length is also much easier to maneuver and to park in our congested cities, although it's still a borderline case. After all, people over here don't buy small cars for no good reason.

The Park Avenue's ride is at least as comfortable as that of any of its full-size predecessors from 30 or 40 years ago.

Performance is fully satisfactory and certainly up to par with most of the big muscle cars from the Sixties. My car has the normally aspirated version of Buick's venerable V6 which dates back to 1962. It will go from 0-60 in less than 9 seconds and tops out at 127 mph on the autobahn. It's an export model with auxiliary engine and transmission oil coolers. That means it won't overheat during sustained high-speed runs, one of the long-time common ailments of American cars over here, as uncounted numbers of U.S. car enthusiasts in Germany have had to learn the hard way.

As far as the Park Avenue's handling is concerned, it's certainly no sports sedan in the BMW, Mercedes-Benz, or Jaguar manner, but then again, no big American sedan ever was or is or should be. Cornering ability is markedly lower than in good German sedans, but who cares? My personal preference has always been going towards the comfort- rather than driver-oriented suspension design that makes American cars so unique and desirable, in my view. I say, leave the sportiness to the Bimmers et al. and keep on cruisin'.

One of the most heartwarming aspects of owning the Park Avenue is fuel economy. Over here, a liter of unleaded regular costs 1.02 euros, which converts to approx. 4 dollars per gallon. I get 25 mpg on the highway (average speed 75 mph - I don't engage in too many high-speed runs) and 20-22 mpg in the city. European or Japanese cars of comparable size and weight can't do much better, either. The Buick is a surprisingly efficient automobile, something that not too long ago was a contradiction in terms when it came to American cars.

Fit and finish of the Park Avenue are definitely better than on any 1960s U.S. car, though not quite up to German luxury car standards. Some of the plastic inside the cockpit looks and feels cheap by comparison. The plastic is also rather hard and creaks from time to time. However, the Buick's much lower price is ample compensation for those imperfections.

I'm an automotive writer and an American car nut. In the last 20 years, I've owned and/or test driven around 300 cars, old and new, of all shapes and sizes, from all corners of the world. All in all, the Park Avenue is the perfect choice for me. It proves that nobody needs 4,000 pounds of steel to go from A to B comfortably, safely and quickly. It also proves that you don't have to pay 60,000 dollars for a car that will meet all the demands one could reasonably make in his or her everyday driving.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th May, 2002

9th Oct 2004, 21:25

I have a 1995 Buick park avenue and I get to 60 m.p.h. a lot faster then 9 seconds try 7 seconds. But the best thing is stepping on the gas at 70 and hearing the downshift and going like a bat out of hell. Can you say torque?

23rd Feb 2013, 07:23

Just a brief update from the owner who posted the original review. The '95 Park Avenue has been in my possession for 12 years now, I've put another 123,000 kilometers on it, and it still runs beautifully. I can say without hesitation that it's the best car I've ever owned.

It's a year-round daily driver and never lets me down. During my tenure of ownership, just normal repairs and replacements were needed.

At 100,000 kilometers, new front axle bearings were installed.

At 160,000 kilometers, new front shocks were installed. Fortunately, my Park Avenue does not have the electronically adjustable shocks, which cost a king's ransom to replace. The new shocks are aftermarket units because OEM shocks cost three times as much. I was less pleased with the shock absorption quality, though, because the new units were too harsh for my taste; goes with the Gran Touring suspension, I guess. Now, after a few years of use, they've smoothed out sufficiently to give me back the modern interpretation of the boulevard ride that I prefer.

At 180,000 kilometers, the rear bumper (the steel insert, not the plastic cover) had to be replaced due to rust out.

At 193,000 kilometers, the front wheel bearings were replaced.

The issues mentioned above are typical of front-heavy FWD cars like the Park Avenue, and were therefore no major concern of mine.

It seems to me that the alternator is slowly coming to the end of its service life now, and will have to be overhauled or replaced in the near future. That should be no problem at all, since spare parts are easy to come by, even here in Germany.

Well, that's all for now. I'll keep my Park Avenue in shape as long as possible, because I may never find another car as good, reliable and beautiful as this one.

Average review marks: 8.8 / 10, based on 1 review