Kelley Blue Book ® - 2004 Buick LeSabre Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2004 Buick LeSabre Overview

Body
Eleven Years At Number One

The LeSabre once shared its spotlight with a number of sister vehicles spread throughout GM's numerous divisions. There was the Delta 88 from Oldsmobile, the Caprice Classic from Chevrolet and the Catalina from Pontiac. All these companions are gone now, leaving the LeSabre as the sole GM offering for the traditional family sedan shopper. Perhaps that explains why this year will make the eleventh in a row that the LeSabre takes home the honor of best selling full-size car in the U.S.

One of the reasons the LeSabre sells so well is its reputation for outstanding build quality and durability. You can see it in the way the exterior panels line up, with the same narrow gap separating the fenders from doors and the trunk lid from body. The paint is deep and lustrous with no signs of orange peel (ripples in the paint) and the doors slam shut with a reassuring "thunk" that speak of solidity. When you're driving in a LeSabre, there is a feeling of absolute confidence, a knowledge that this car will never let you down.

This year, the LeSabre line includes the Custom, Limited and a carry-over model from last year, the Celebration Edition. An aging but still powerful 3.8-liter V6 engine provides power for all three trims. Rated at 205 horsepower, the 3.8 is more than capable of spiriting the LeSabre onto the highway with little fear of being trampled by oncoming traffic. Though it still employs an older pushrod design, the LeSabre's engine runs smooth and silent, only making its presence truly known to passengers under hard acceleration. The electronic four speed automatic is one of the best in the business; its shifts are nearly imperceptible upon acceleration and its smart enough to know to hold onto lower gearing when you're trying to climb or pass. Most impressive of all the 3.8-liter's virtues is it remarkable highway fuel economy, EPA rated at 29 miles per gallon (20-mpg city.)

The LeSabre's ride is definitely tuned more toward comfort than sporting intentions, although Buick does offer an optional Gran Touring package on the Limited models that somewhat beefs-up the LeSabre handling prowess. For the most part, The LeSabre's four-wheel independent suspension simply floats the car over most road surfaces, insulating all inside from the pavement below. The only time we felt unsettled was when encountering deep potholes and choppy roadways; in these instances, the LeSabre's suspension would tend to bottom out, sending a jarring wakeup call directly into the passenger compartment. To its credit, the LeSabre's self-leveling rear suspension helped avoid bumper scraping when the car was fully loaded. You'll find that the steering response is direct and precise, with just enough feedback to allow the driver some fun in the twisties. In bad weather, you'll be well protected by the standard StabiliTrak traction control that helps the driver regain control should the tires begin to slip. You'll also find that the LeSabre's brakes are excellent, with a firm pedal that requires only the slightest pressure to bring the car to a quick and controlled stop.

The LeSabre features seating for six, with a 45/55 split-bench front seat that features a folding center armrest and manual lumbar support for both driver and passenger. Limited and Celebration Editions come standard with leather seats separated by a folding center console that features a set of large pop-up cup holders. For the most part, the LeSabre's seats are akin to sitting on a comfortable sofa; they don't have much lower back and side support, even with the lumbar dialed in all the way. Rear-seat passengers will find similar accommodations but without their own head restraints. The LeSabre provides excellent head and legroom both front and rear, and can easily carry four adults in complete comfort for many hours.

The LeSabre's trunk features a low lift over front edge that makes it easy when loading the generous cargo compartment with a full complement of luggage or a few golf bags.

You'll find the LeSabre's instrumentation is simple and straightforward, a real blessing in an ever-increasing world of integrated LCD touch screens. There is a central speedometer featuring large white numerals; it is easy to read day or night. The audio and climate controls are within easy reach of both passenger and driver and can be operated via a set of backlit redundant controls built into the steering wheel. Limited models come standard with automatic dual-zone climate control that includes a temperature slide control built into the passenger door armrest.

One of the more impressive options available on the LeSabre is the EyeCue head up display that projects the speed, radio setting and fuel gauge onto the lower portion of the windshield. Also on the options list is a power glass sunroof, memory setting for the power driver's seat, climate, mirror and audio settings and XM satellite radio.

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