Premium large car; Built in USA
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,200 – $2,800*


1991 Buick Park Avenue


1993 Buick Park Avenue Ultra


1991 Buick Park interior


1995 Buick Park Avenue


1994 Buick Park Avenue interior

Pros:
  • Acceleration
  • Antilock brakes
  • Automatic-transmission performance
  • Passenger and cargo room
Cons:
  • Climate controls (early models)
  • Fuel economy
  • Steering/handling (base suspension)

Park Avenue has sold well and is certainly worth a look. Take note, though: LeSabres offer many of the same features at a lower cost.

Overview

Taking over the spot in Buick’s lineup vacated by the Electra sedan, the Park Avenue wore a new body on an updated front-drive chassis with the same wheelbase, but eight inches longer overall. Oldsmobile’s Ninety Eight uses the same design. Base and more posh Ultra editions came with antilock braking, a driver-side airbag, height-adjustable seatbelts, and Pass-Key theft-deterrent system. New tuned port induction helped boost horsepower of the 3.8-liter V6 engine to 170, and torque to 220 pound-feet. Also new was GM’s electronic 4-speed automatic transmission, whose computer integrated controls for the transmission, engine, and cruise control.

Yearly Updates

1992 Park Avenue
A supercharged Ultra edition went on sale for ’92, and Park Avenues could have traction control as an option.
1993 Park Avenue
Park Avenues earned a slightly stronger base engine, as well as new grilles and taillights. For the first time, regular and Ultra editions had different styling touches. Automatic ride control became an option, adjusting suspension damping in three modes.
1994 Park Avenue
Dual airbags were installed for 1994, and the Ultra’s supercharged engine gained 20 horsepower. A dashboard switch could turn off the traction-control system. New options included a heated driver’s seat and steering-wheel controls for the radio and climate systems.
1995 Park Avenue
Base Park Avenues got a much stronger engine this year: a Series II edition rated at 205 horsepower. Base cars also got a new grille, bodyside moldings, and fascias. New instrument clusters went into both models, while climate controls got larger buttons and brighter graphics.
1996 Park Avenue
Park Avenue Ultras gained 20 horsepower, courtesy of a Series II supercharged engine. Both engines got long-life coolant, plus 100,000-mile spark plugs. A new Personal Choice feature went into models with keyless entry. The remote-entry transmitter could adjust driver’s mirrors, door locks, lighting, and other accessories to either of two settings. Also new was magnetic variable-assist steering.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

A 170-horsepower, 3.8-liter V6 engine was the sole Park Avenue engine at first. In its second season, that engine was joined by a supercharged version. Supercharging, also used on the Pontiac Bonneville SSEi and Olds Ninety Eight Touring Sedan, aimed to increase power without lag or non-linear delivery–two drawbacks associated with turbochargers. The 205-horsepower supercharged V6 powers 1992-93 Ultras. It got a boost to 225 horsepower for 1994-95, then 240 horses for ’96. Meanwhile, the base engine gained a bit of torque for 1993, but kept the same 170-horsepower rating. A 205 horsepower Series II 3.8-liter V6 became standard for ’95.

ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.8/231
Engine HP 170
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 200-225
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

18/27

21.4

ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.8/231
Engine HP 205
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 230
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

19/29

Supercharged ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.8/231
Engine HP 205-240
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 260-280
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

18/27

19.7

Road Test

Although the initial engine in this heavyweight sounds harsh at full throttle, the sedan is fairly brisk and smooth, as the V6 responds quickly. Engine flaws are more noticeable because the transmission shifts so beautifully–and doesn’t slip repeatedly into and out of overdrive like so many 4-speed automatics. The Ultra edition’s supercharger does its job well, with a noticeable increase in passing ability. Step on the gas and you get a spirited, satisfying response–but in an understated manner with no hint of raucousness. Adding 35 horsepower to the base engine in 1994 gave it ample power for most situations. Neither engine is particularly economical, but they could be worse. A base Park Avenue registered an average of 21.4 mpg in a long trial. Mileage around town, however, was in the 15-18 mpg neighborhood. An Ultra averaged 19.7 mpg, and the supercharged engine demands premium fuel.

The Park Avenue’s ride is comfortable, even cushy, with a soft feel from the base suspension. The car gets bouncy and floaty over wavy surfaces, and leans heavily in turns, which yield plenty of tire howling. The automatic ride control introduced in ’93 reduces the floating sensation. Expect some firmness with the Gran Touring option, which got wide tires for better grip and handling, with only slight sacrifice in ride comfort. Steering in both the base and Ultra editions is too light, and doesn’t center well after turns.

Four adults sit comfortably in pillowy seats, with generous head and leg room all around. Even six can ride without undue squeezing, helped by space under front seats for rear occupants’ feet. Wide doors permit easy entry/exit. Automatic climate controls in the Ultra (optional on base model) are arranged in two rows of seven small buttons, mounted low and away on the dashboard, thus hard to reach. That situation improved in 1994.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1996 Buick Park Avenue

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 6
60%
Fuel Economy - 4
40%
Ride Quality - 7
70%
Steering/Handling - 5
50%
Quietness - 6
60%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Front - 8
80%
Room/Comfort Rear - 6
60%
Cargo Room - 5
50%

Other

Value - 8
80%

Total: 61

Specifications

4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
110.8 205.9 74.1 55.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
20.3 18.0 6
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.9 37.9 42.7 40.7
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1996 Park Avenue 4-door sedan

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Front Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 77
Injury 38
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Automatic transmission
Description: 4T60E transmissions may drop out of drive while cruising, shift erratically, or have no second, third, or fourth gear because of a bad ground connection for the shift solenoids. (1991-94)
Coolant leak
Description: The 3.8-liter V6 may leak coolant into the engine from the intake manifold. A new gasket kit, revised throttle body nuts, and sealing compound is available. Redesigned manifolds are also available in the aftermarket. (1993-96)
Coolant leak
Description: Coolant loss via plastic intake manifold is corrected by installing upgraded manifold and gaskets plus new PCV kit. (1995-96)
Cruise control
Description: If the cruise control doesn’t stay engaged or drops out of cruise, the brake switch can usually be adjusted. (1991-95)
Cruise control
Description: Cruise control doesn’t stay engaged, or drops out of cruise. (1991-95)
Engine knock
Description: Bearing knock was common on many 3.8-liter engines due to too much clearance on the number one main bearing. (1992-94)
Engine noise
Description: An intermittent rattling noise at start up is often caused by automatic-transmission pump starvation or cavitation, or a sticking pressure-regulator valve. (1991-95)
Oil consumption and engine knock
Description: Models with the 3.8-liter engine are prone to excessive oil consumption often accompanied by spark knock during normal driving conditions due to failure of the valve-stem seals. (1993-95)
Steering noise
Description: The upper bearing mount in the steering column can get loose and cause a snapping or clicking, requiring a new bearing spring and turn-signal cancel cam. (1994-96)
Transmission leak
Description: The right front-axle seal at the automatic transaxle is prone to leak and GM issued a revised seal to correct the problem. (1992-94)

Recall History

1991
Description: Parking-brake lever assembly may release one or more teeth when applied, reducing cable load to rear brakes; parking brake might not hold the vehicle, allowing it to roll.
1992-93
Description: Transmission-cooler line in cars with certain powertrains sold in specified states can separate at low temperature.
1995
Description: Driver-side headlamp lens has incorrect aim pad number; if headlamps are reaimed using those numbers, result would be out of specified range.
1996
Description: Cars were assembled with one or more incorrect safety belt and/or buckle ends, so belt may not latch properly.
1996
Description: “Key in the Ignition” warning chime, driver seatbelt-unbuckled warning, and other functions may not operate properly.
1996
Description: Backfire can break upper intake manifold, resulting in possible fire.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.