This is an OK choice if you buy it used, or can't afford a Lincoln or a Cadillac.
It is a nice looking car, and has some neat features. I bought the car loaded, it has heated seats, dual climate zones, a sunroof, and a HUD. The HUD is a hologram that is projected on the windshield, so you don't have to look down at your speedometer, instead your speed is displayed right in front of you.
The reason I didn't get the supercharged Ultra trim line, is because I drove one and I didn't notice much more power than the standard 205 horse engine. I figure that on a 3900 pound car, it needs at least 300 horse if you want some performance.
You just can't compare this car to a Town Car or a De Ville. I know the Town Car only has 240 horse, like the Ultra trim line, but it feels a lot quicker. I have the touring suspension, and still I think heavier cars like the Lincoln and Caddy ride much much better. Don't get me wrong, it is a nice ride, but there isn't as much float to it as the other flagships.
Handling is interesting, because it is a front wheel drive car. My turning ratio is great turning one direction, but turning the other, it isn't as good. Still, it handles quite well, and is surprisingly low to the ground.
Performance ESTIMATES: 0-60 7 seconds, and I guess the 1/4 mile in about 17-18 seconds. Don't worry though kids, you can still spin the tires, you just have to stomp the pedal to the floor.
Despite the stereotypes, the car does not ride as well as it should.
It needs more horsepower and torque, preferably from an 8 cylinder engine. The supercharger is weak and is a waste of money. Also a pain if something breaks in it. Lots of money for 40 horsepower.
Less interior plastics, and a genuine wood trim wouldn't hurt; the one I have is plastic.
One thing I get a lot of complaints about, is that in the rear seats, there are no headrests. That is absolutely a must. The newer Park Avenues do have them though, but not having the neck support sucks if you want to sleep.
Weak air conditioning for the rear passengers.
Good sound system for being a stock setup.
The cabin is quite large, and can seat 3 adults in the back and 3 up front.
The trunk space is just awesome. That is one thing about having the front wheel drive, is you don't get the ridges and wasted space like in a rear wheel drive, where the tranny is sitting back there too. Trunk space is great, it also has a pass through, if you are carrying lumber (I don't know why you would in a nice car). I think it's about 19.5 cubic feet of flat useable space.
Handy steering wheel lets you adjust volume and air conditioning.
The front headrests are retarded, because unless you lean back in your seat, which most don't, they serve no purpose; they need to be further forward, so they can at least touch the driver's head.
Overall I like the car, but Buick had better make some more improvements to this car. I have heard rumors of Buick changing a lot with the Park Avenue. Check it out at motortrend.com. If you are too late, basically they said that the Park Avenue might be getting the 275 horse version of the Caddy Northstar engine, and switching to a rear wheel drive platform. Possibly a name change for it too. Then, since Buick would be using a Cadillac engine, Cadillac would only offer the premium 300 horse engine, or maybe bore the Northstar to a 5 liter.
I think Buick has always been better than Pontiac and Oldsmobile. But being a GM "luxury" car maker, they are in Cadillac's shadow.
In conclusion, this car is a good choice for the high 30 thousand range, but a better choice, if you are looking for ride and power, would be a Cadillac or a Town Car, or if you are a high roller, a Jaguar XJR.
Look for one used; the Park Avenue depreciates terribly. A '98 is only worth about 10 thousand according to the Kelly Blue Book.