If you are reading this review, you might be shopping for a Park Avenue. Have you noticed most of them on the market have 120K-170K miles? Original owners don't seem to want to let go of one until it has racked up impressive mileage!
These are easily one of the best used car bargains on the market. Built to a very high standard, they typically have had very careful owners who drive them gently and give them proper care. Proper care is made simple by various alerts. Keep clean oil in the engine and coolant in the radiator, and most engines will run forever. Park Avenues tell you when the oil needs changing, whether you are a quart low or not, and whether the coolant level has dropped. As a result, most have been kept in good working order. Few people realize how small the overall cost of ownership is on these cars, or know about their surprising economy of operation. So they settle for some bleak, anonymous, similarly priced Toyota or Honda sedan.
I searched for six months for the "right" one. Found a flawless 42k mile Ultra in Madeira Red Pearl with a matching RED leather interior. Had to have the red leather because it was the last time a red interior was offered on any American sedan. Dropped from the option choices by 2000, later Park Avenues only came with mouse grey or mouse beige innards. Buyers who want something unique should realize that the 1997-99 models had a choice of medium blue, dark red, sage green, grey or beige interiors.
My car has the only two of the four available options I would have ordered: Gran Touring suspension with the beautiful road wheels, and the moonroof. (The other two options are the heads up display, and center console, neither of which I particularly want.) It had a seven page CarFax showing religious dealer service. The original owner had even put red rubber floormats over the factory embroidered Ultra carpet mats. Definitely the right car!
I wanted an Ultra because they all come loaded with every option (save the 4 mentioned above), have a nicer interior with real wood trim on the door panels, and of course, the high performance drivetrain.
I love this car. Previous car was a 95 LeSabre Limited, and this Park Avenue is a completely different animal. The assembly quality is impeccable. Consistent tight shutlines everywhere. All panels and trim line up perfectly, the paint is deep and lustrous, everything fits as it should.
This car has the strongest body ever made by GM - an upgraded development of the Aurora chassis, previously the strongest. The result is a strength and solidity that keeps the car free from vibration, chassis quiver, and rattles. Along with the use of lightweight aluminum suspension arms, this tight body allowed the suspension to be tuned for maximum comfort and performance - especially so with the Gran Touring option. Also, with all the discussion of plastic intake manifold issues, know that the supercharger manifold is metal, and the issue does not occur on Ultra models.
The performance of the Ultra is all that one could ask of a family luxury sedan. Although it doesn't feel much more powerful than my spritely old LeSabre off the line, if you are on the highway doing 60mph and need to pass, just a light push on the pedal will drop you into 3rd gear and the rpm sweet spot for the supercharger. You really feel the difference then! Feels as strong as my Roadmaster with its Corvette-derived LT1 V8. But it doesn't use gas like my Roadmaster. Around town I get 17-18. On the one long trip I have taken thus far, it averaged 29mpg. The only downside is that premium gas is a must. The ride and handling are almost Jaguar-like in its ability to smother bumps and go around a corner. And the car is whisper quiet at all speeds.
One favorite feature is the standard RainSense wipers. They come on when the rain starts, constantly adjust to the amount of rain falling, and turn off when the rain stops. The driver memory feature is also great. Each key fob can be programmed for seat position, side mirror position, favorite radio station, HVAC setting, door lock process (horn beep or no horn beep, all doors or just driver).
So there you are. LOVE the car. Only the waterpump/serpentine belt replacement process is a pain, and beware of seat motor gear issues. Otherwise, these cars are essentially bulletproof, and quite simple and inexpensive to maintain and operate.