I was recently given the task of acquiring a new company car for myself. I was told I could by what I wanted, and to get something I liked, because I was going to get to know it well. I am on pace to put about 55,000 miles on my Buick Park Avenue Ultra this year, I already have over 20,000 miles, and love it.
I drove test drove a myriad of SUV's and ruled against them as the fuel economy and ride were marginal. I also drove the Oldsmobile Aurora, but ruled against it as I found the base V6 (the only engine available at the time), to be quite sluggish. I also drove the brand new Lincoln LS, which I loved but found a bit smallish.
The Ultra has a very quiet, but extremely powerful supercharged V6 engine that churns out 245 hp (I LOVE THAT), but also has allowed me to expect 25 - 28 MPG on long trips, and 20 - 24 MPG in town. The power is not sudden, as I have experienced on other "forced induction" engines, but smooth, and allows for quick acceleration on the interstate, or when you want to surprise that Mustang next to you at the red light.
What REALLY sold me on this car was the comfort level. The leather seats have lumbar support, as well as being heated for passenger and driver. I am 6'3" tall, and fairly large, and have PLENTY of room. There is also still room for two passengers to fit comfortably in the back, when I have the driver's seat all the way back. There are also separate air conditioning vents in the back for your passengers comfort when the weather becomes excessively hot or cold.
The trunk can be described in one word. CAVERNOUS. I can fit two sets of golf clubs, luggage, and still have a wee bit of room left over. This was a MAJOR selling point for me. I often have clients piled into the car, and the ability to haul four adults and their clubs to the course in an economical yet comfortable car is a plus.
There are a few things I dislike. I am 28 years old, and driving a "PAW-PAW CAR". The performance and ride fits my age and personality, but the style and attitude of the Ultra (and Buick in general) yell DEPENDS!!! I am not really sure there is anything to overcome this, nor would I suggest that they "jazz up" the car with cheesy graphics. This car is classy. I guess this is more a gripe against Buick, and not necessarily the car itself.
I do have a few gripes about the car. The handling of this car could be "tightened" up a bit. It is more firm than most cars, but the body does tend to sway excessively when taking a corner or making a sudden lane change. I am not expecting this thing to handle like a sports car, just to be a little more sure footed in the twisties. I wish the CD control was on the steering wheel with the rest of the sound system. What is the logic of putting the radio controls on the steering wheel for safety purposes, and leaving off the controls to the cd player? It just did not make sense to me to leave it off.
i Love the HUD (heads up display) that shows your speed, and other engine critical information right in front of your car. It appears to be about 20 or so feet in front of the car, and allows you to check your speed without taking your eyes off the road.
I had a choice between "Motortrend's World Car of the Year" (Lincoln LS) and the Buick Park Avenue Ultra. If you spend a lot of time behind the wheel, and on the road, you will NOT go wrong with the Ultra. Most cars that I looked at and considered that had all the same features as my Ultra were either too small (Lincoln LS) or were WAY over priced (Cadillac Catera) for what you got.
Long straights, and no Police,