Large car; Built in USA
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,100 – $3,100*


1994 Buick LeSabre Limited


1992 Buick LeSabre Limited


1996 Buick LeSabre Custom


1992 Buick LeSabre Limited


1993 Buick LeSabre 3.8-liter V-6 engine

Pros:
  • Acceleration
  • Antilock brakes
  • Automatic-transmission performance
  • Passenger and cargo room
Cons:
  • Radio and climate controls (early models)
  • Fuel economy
  • Steering feel

Pleasant to look at and to drive, LeSabre offers few surprises but carries on traditional Buick virtues. Buick’s popular LeSabre is a roomy family sedan that offers most of the features found in the Park Avenue at a lower price. Along with its siblings at Oldsmobile and Pontiac, it ranks among the best choices in a full-size sedan.

Overview

The redesigned 1992 LeSabre incorporated a more rounded look, with oval grille; wraparound headlamps, parking lamps, and side markers; and a reduction in the amount of exterior brightwork. LeSabre was still based on the same chassis as the Oldsmobile Eighty-Eight and Pontiac Bonneville. Measuring a full 200 inches, the new LeSabre was three inches longer than before, and showed gains in both interior room and cargo space. The interior borrowed many of the features found in the larger and plusher Park Avenue, including a standard driver-side airbag in a tilt steering wheel, GM’s Pass-Key theft-deterrent system, child-proof rear door locks, and standard power windows. Antilock brakes came standard on the Limited. The other major change was the elimination of the slow-selling LeSabre 2-door. A check under the hood reveals a completely revised powertrain. The 3.8-liter V6 got more power, delivering 170 horsepower and 220 pound-feet of torque. It also came mated to a new electronic 4-speed automatic transmission.

Yearly Updates

1993 LeSabre
Antilock brakes become standard across the board. In addition, an optional traction-control system is available on Limited models.
1994 LeSabre
Dual airbags become standard equipment in all LeSabres. Traction control on the 1994 Limited is revised so it reduces engine speed, in addition to applying braking power. In addition, the parking brake release handle has been eliminated. Other changes to the controls in the LeSabre include an inch of extra travel for the front power seat and a trunk release button than can be operated with the ignition off.
1995 LeSabre
New climate controls, a new family of radios, and optional steering-wheel controls for the stereo and climate system are the major revisions to the 1995 LeSabre. With the optional automatic climate control, the number of buttons has been reduced from 14 to nine, and a recirculation mode has been added.
1996 LeSabre
A new standard engine, the 3800 Series II V6, available in the 1994 Park Avenue last year, makes its way underneath the hood of the 1996 LeSabre. It produces 205 horsepower, 35 more than the old 3800 V6. The engine also has new coolant, spark plugs, and transmission, designed to last five years or 100,000 miles. Finally, the LeSabre has a new remote keyless entry system called Personal Choice (standard on the Limited, extra on the Custom) with a transmitter that automatically adjusts the security system, door locks, lighting, and other accessories to one of two settings. An antenna mounted in the rear window also comes standard.
1997 LeSabre
LeSabre was restyled and released in January 1996 as an early 1997 model. The basic shape was retained, but there were numerous minor appearance changes including a restyled grille, hood, front and rear fascias, and bodyside moldings. The interior also got a similar restyle. Dual airbags and antilock brakes remained standard.
1998 LeSabre
With a restyle in 1997, LeSabre saw little change for ’98.
1999 LeSabre
LeSabre celebrated its 40th anniversary in ’99 and continued as Buick’s best-selling model and the most-popular full-size car sold in America. Changes were few as an all-new model was scheduled to arrive for 2000.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Two distinct powertrain upgrades have occurred over the life of the 1992-96 Buick LeSabre. The first was the addition of the 3800 V6 in 1992, which raised both the horsepower and torque of this venerable GM powertrain. While horsepower received just a modest bump (165 to 170), torque jumped from 210 pound-feet at 2000 rpm to 225 pound-feet at 3200 rpm. Throughout the life of the LeSabre, the 3800 V6 has been mated to an electronically controlled four-speed overdrive transmission. In 1995, it began using transmission fluid that doesn’t need changing for 100,000 miles under normal driving conditions. With the switch to the 205-horsepower 3800 Series II V6 in 1996, the 100,000-mile change interval also includes the engine coolant and spark plugs. Naturally, with the new Series II V6 engine comes more power. The engine is now rated at 205 horsepower at 5200 rpm and 230 pound-feet of torque at 4000 rpm.

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

18/28

22.0

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

19/30

19.3

Road Test

Performance is brisk, from a standing start or on the highway. Transmission shifts go virtually unnoticed, and kickdowns come quickly. The 3800 Series II V6 found in the 1996 LeSabre is not only more powerful, it’s also smoother and quieter than previous versions of this engine. It delivers ample acceleration, and it’s mated to one of the smoothest transmissions available.

Power steering is over-assisted, deleting most of the road feel. Even so, handling and overall road manners best a number of rivals. With the base suspension, the LeSabre retains the smooth “big-car” ride that traditional Buick customers have come to expect. For those wanting less body lean and more precise steering feel, we recommend the optional Gran Touring Package. While the LeSabre’s handling will never be mistaken for that of a European sport sedan, the optional handling package is a welcome improvement, making this full-size car much more manageable and athletic.

Adults can sit upright easily in back, in a spacious interior. Pre-1995 models have awkward reach to climate/radio controls. Roomy trunk has a wide, flat floor and bumper-height opening.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1996 Buick LeSabre Limited

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 - 4
40%
Quietness - 6
60%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Front - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Rear - 5
50%
Cargo Room - 4
40%

Other

Value - 7
70%

Total: 55

Specifications

4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
110.8 200.0 74.9 55.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
17.1 18.0 6
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.8 37.8 42.5 40.4
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1999 LeSabre 4-door sedan

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Front Passenger Injury - 4
80%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 3
60%
Rear Passenger Injury - 3
60%

HLDI

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

Collision 71
Injury 56
Theft 13

Trouble Spots

Automatic transmission
Description: 4T60E transmission 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. (1992-94)
Automatic transmission
Description: 440-T4 automatic transmissions may shift late or not upshift at all. The problem is a stuck throttle valve inside the transmission. (All years)
Automatic transmission
Description: The 4T60-E automatic transmission can suddenly go into neutral at highway speeds due to a problem with internal shift valves. (1995-96)
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. (1993-99)
Coolant leak
Description: Coolant loss via plastic intake manifold is corrected by installing upgraded manifold and gaskets plus new PCV kit. (1995-99)
Cruise control
Description: If the cruise control doesn’t stay engaged, or drops out of cruise, the brake switch can usually be adjusted. (1992-95)
Engine knock
Description: Bearing knock is caused by too much clearance on the number one main bearing. (1992-94)
Engine knock and oil leak
Description: Models with the 3.8-liter engine are prone to excessive oil consumption often accompanied by spark knock due to failure of the valve-stem seals. (1993-95)
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. (1992-95)
Engine temperature
Description: Overheating and coolant loss may be due to rough surface on radiator filler neck. Neck should be sanded smooth and cap replaced. (1999-2000)
Horn
Description: The horn may spontaneously sound in cold weather. Airbag assembly must be replaced. (2000)
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. (1994-95)
Transmission leak
Description: The right front-axle seal at the automatic transaxle is prone to leak; GM issued a revised seal to correct the problem. (1992-94)

Recall History

1992
Description: Parking-brake lever assembly may release one or more teeth when applied, so parking brake might not hold the car.
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.
1996
Description: “Key in the Ignition” warning chime, driver seatbelt-unbuckled warning, and other functions may fail to operate properly.
1996-97
Description: Backfire can break upper intake manifold, resulting in no-start condition and possible fire.
1997
Description: Seatbelt might not latch properly.
1998-99
Description: A faulty fuel-pressure regulator may allow a fuel leak to enter the intake manifold, resulting in possible fire. Dealers will inspect and replace affected parts.
1999
Description: Clip that secures linkage of transmission detent lever can loosen and disconnect; indicated gear would then differ from actual state of the transmission.

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.