Dual-stage front airbags that inflate at one of two levels based on crash severity are standard this year on the front-drive LeSabre, the most popular full-size sedan. Previously, the airbags deployed at a single level.
OnStar, General Motors satellite-based communication system, is now standard on the LeSabre Limited and as a factory-installed option for the base Custom model. OnStar previously was available as a dealer-installed option.
The LeSabre, which was redesigned for 2000, is built on the same front-drive platform as the Pontiac Bonneville but has different styling.
Last years redesign resulted in subtle, evolutionary styling changes for the conservatively tailored LeSabre. The overall length is 200 inches, and the wheelbase is 112 inches. Buicks largest, most expensive model, the Park Avenue, is 7 inches longer overall and has a 113.8-inch wheelbase.
As a traditional full-size car aimed at an older audience, the LeSabre comes with a standard front bench seat for six-passenger capacity. The front seat has a special feature Buick calls the catchers mitt, which in a rear-end collision moves the head restraints up and forward, closer to the occupants head, to reduce the chance of whiplash injury.
Front bucket seats are optional, but only about 5 percent of LeSabre buyers choose them. The Limited model adds a rear center armrest with a pass-through to the roomy trunk, which holds 18 cubic feet of cargo.
Under the Hood
General Motors 205-horsepower 3.8-liter V-6 engine drives the front wheels through a four-speed automatic transmission and gives the LeSabre smooth, satisfying acceleration and passing power.
Side-impact airbags for the front seats and antilock brakes are standard on both models. Traction control and StabiliTrak, a lateral-skid-control system, are optional.
The current LeSabre earned a five-star rating the highest for both driver and front-passenger safety in the federal governments frontal crash test.
Like sensible shoes, the LeSabre provides room, comfort and utility at a reasonable price for those with a conservative taste. It may not hold much appeal for younger buyers, but as the best-selling full-size sedan, it hits the right buttons with a lot of buyers.
The 3.8-liter V-6 engine provides spirited acceleration and reasonable fuel economy 19 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. The soft suspension, however, allows too much body lean and tire squealing to continue the spirited driving when the road becomes twisty.