A 10 year old honda accord would be about $3500. There's too much bells and whistles for my liking in the buick- to much could go wrong.
I Loved my 94 Le Sabre and then bought a 97 Park Ave. Great cars and a great value on the used car market. They were less than half the price of a Honda from the same year. I Had been involved in a collision with the 94 Le Sabre. I survived due in no small part to the mass and strength of the superstructure of the Le Sabre.
I get roughly the same mileage that my co workers get with there Honda's at half the purchase price, better crash protection, much larger and much more comfortable. I love these cars!
Bought a 97 Park Avenue Ultra in 2002 with about 25,000 on it.
Maintenance has included: the fuel pump (twice, and the dealer had previously replaced it), brake pads, a water pump, alternator, a bushing in the supercharger, and a crack in the hot side of the radiator tank, its gone to 98,000 running fine.
I do most of my own work so I am only out a small fraction of the cost these fixes would be at a dealer.
The driver's window is slowly failing (now it runs slow going down, if its cold not at all).
The performance is great, I love blowing away BMW's and Porches trying to pass on the right at a light, its such an "old man" car they don't see the 'supercharged' flags and it moves.
Gas mileage (on premium) has been 16-18 in town 25-28 highway (at 85 usually).
I love the heated leather seats, stereo and interior. If I could get a 2004 with a diesel and convert it to veggie like my wife's 85 Mercedes, I would buy it again.
I bought my '97 in '99 for $26,000 (CDN). The price new in Canada in '97 was $49,750.
It is a lovely driver on highway and in city. It now has 255,000 kilometers (about 154,000 miles) and runs well.
Problems included antifreeze coolant leaking into the motor and causing a blown gasket on a trip to Texas (Rimrock Buick in Billings, Montana, did a superb job of getting me rolling again).
Had electrical problems with dials on the dashboard. Gas gauge flips to the right, past full, and sticks under the empty peg. Motor temp gauge did the same thing. I still enjoy driving it by checking mileage to keep track of the gas tank level.
Rocker panel trim is deteriorating. Button for opening and closing driver's window broke off.
This car is much inferior to my other car, a 1985 Olds Royale Brougham, which I bought new and still use as my daily driver, and which has 440,000 kilometers on the odometer.
FYI, it is not difficult to remove the instrument cluster from the dash, and pop off the plastic panel on the cluster and fix the needles. You just remove the wood trim piece by taking the screws out on the driver's side of the dash, and the plastic trim that surrounds the cluster, then it just pops off.
The cluster is held in place by 4 or 5 screws, and just pulls out once you take them off. As long as you have the needles to the left far enough when you start the car, they will correctly register again. I did this several times on my '99, which had the same issue with the fuel gauge and RPM gauge. Not hard at all, and I am not mechanically inclined at all.
It is easiest if you angle the steering wheel all the way down, and put the gear selector all the way down so you have more room. If you do that though, you may want to disconnect the battery, as this may take about a half hour, and could drain the battery.
I have also heard of using a magnet to return the needles to the proper position, but never tried it. Let me know if you do this, and how it turns out.
Thank you so much for your info. I, too, am not all that mechanically inclined, but I will try it. The needle flipping first happened in Oregon on a trip to California in '05. A Buick dealer in Portland told me that the problem was irreparable and the answer was a new dash, about $3000 at that time. I'll let you know how it went.