Kelley Blue Book ® - 2004 Buick Century Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2004 Buick Century Overview

Body
Buick Styling on a Chevy Budget

The Century is Buick's most affordable car. It offers room for six people, a rather large trunk and all the traditional creature comforts Buick owners have come to expect from their cars. What the Century doesn't carry is the lofty entry fee of the larger LeSabre and Park Avenue. With a base price just shy of $22K, the Century should easily fit into most budgets, with enough money to spare for some additional options.

If you think the Century bears more than just a passing resemblance to the more upscale Regal, you would be correct; the two cars share the same underpinnings and sheetmetal. The Regal's mission diverges from that of the Century with its sportier suspension, larger wheels and tires and more powerful engine. The Century is meant to ride softer and its modest 3.1-liter V6 engine is designed more for comfortable cruising than drag strip racing. This is not to say that the Century is slow; its 175-horsepower engine is more than adequate to pull it onto busy freeways and help dart across double-lane intersections. The standard four-speed automatic effectively manages the low-end gears to help make the most of the engine's torque. Once you reach highway speeds, the Century's engine drops into light-duty mode to help conserve fuel. With its 17-gallon fuel tank and EPA estimated 29-mpg highway rating, the Century provides a cruising range of almost 500 miles.

Over the last few years, Buick has tried to improve upon the Century's one weak spot: its interior. Despite the addition of some wood trim and freshened seat fabrics, the Century's interior still leans toward the conservative-but in a very straightforward, no-nonsense sort of way. The instrument cluster houses a speedometer flanked on either side by a large fuel and temperature gauge. The audio controls reside high in the center of the dash where they are easy to reach and read; an optional package adds steering-wheel mounted controls so you don't have to remove your hands from the wheel to change stations or adjust the volume. The Century's standard dual-zone climate control allows the driver and passenger to select their own temperatures. This system actually works better than you might think; while the Century's interior is not large enough to truly have significantly differing temperatures within two feet of each other, the temperature of the air blowing on your face or feet is noticeable. That's where the comfort of the dual-zone system comes in handy.

The Century's seating is soft with no restrictive or confining contours to cramp you; there is no sporting intention implied with this car, so the sofa-like comfort the Century provides is exactly what Century owners want. There is also room for six, though in reality five would be a much more comfortable figure. Interior room is about average for this class, though the raked angle of the front seat backs does eat into knee space for taller rear-seat passengers.

Buick has simplified the Century line for 2004 by offering only three trims: base, Custom and Limited. Buyers shopping the base model will find they are not left with a stripped-out shell; that is not the Buick way. Standard equipment on the Century includes keyless entry, dual-zone climate control, power windows, an AM/FM stereo with CD and programmable power locks. The next step up is the Custom model that adds a six-way power driver's seat, cruise control, rear assist straps with lights and color-keyed floor mats. The ultimate Century is the Limited model, with its leather seating, steering-wheel mounted audio controls and chrome wheel covers. Among the more notable options available include anti-lock brakes, side-impact airbags (Limited only) and the OnStar system.

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