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#404 of 1520 Washington Times LeSabre Review - 4/27/01
Apr 30, 2001 (1:32 pm)
I just finished reading the Auto Weekend section of the Washington Times newspaper, a section that appears every Friday. Lo and behold, on page E13, a review of the Buick LeSabre, under a heading which reads LeSabre isn't sexy, but it sells.
I had a feeling right away that I wasn't going to like this article. I was pretty much right.
The article was reprinted by The Times from an article by Jim Mateja of the Chicage Tribune. I felt that Mr. Mateja had a good overall impression of the LeSabre, but I also feel that he missed the boat on a few things.
Here are a few clips from the article:
" ... but the LeSabre is a machine for OFs -- or Old Folks. ... But then there's the styling, phoned in by the same outfit that does most full-size General Motors sedans -- Bland and Boring."
I'll be the first to admit that the LeSabre isn't going to turn heads on the highway, but I don't believe that Mr. Mateja is giving the LeSabre enough marks for styling. Most major automotive publications have given the new LeSabre (2000 and on) very good marks for styling, especially the Jag-type lines and the more aggressive look it has. Compare the new LeSabre to the previous model and the differences are apparent. I would hardly call the styling Bland and Boring.
" ... the $235 Gran Touring suspension that's tuned for a smooth ride with very little sacrifice in handling."
I don't believe that Mr. Mateja conveyed his feeling about the GT suspension properly. He makes it sound like the GT suspension doesn't detract from the normal handling of the car, as opposed to stating properly that it is supposed to firm up the cars handling with little sacrifice in road smoothness. At least he stated that this was one of the options to purchase.
"Forget the $190 optional memory seats/mirrors with power lumbar drivers seat unless you switch drivers daily."
I think most people would agree that memory seats and power lumbar are very desirable accessories. There is more than one use for memory seating, it doesn't have to be for two drivers. I use the Driver 1 setting when I'm alone in the car. With this setting, the seat is all the way back and reclined. I use the Driver 2 setting to move the seat forward a little and to tilt the seats upwards. This gives rear passengers a little more room when I'm playing chauffeur. Also, anyone who has tried to adjust a manual lumbar seat while driving would agree that a power lumbar seat is the only way to go.
I really get the impression that Mr. Mateja got the keys to a LeSabre Limited, drove it around the block once, and then wrote this article. He gave the car good marks for value, options, and reliability. At the same time, he really missed out on the opportunity to emphasize the direction that Buick is taking the car. Too bad that the LeSabre has, and probably will continue to have, a reputation as an "OF" car, especially with shallow reviews like the one from Mr. Mateja. I've been around cars a long time. I can tell the goods when I see them. The LeSabre has got the goods. The new edition of the car, inside and out, is a huge improvement over the previous model. Next time you review a car, Mr. Mateja, please give it a fair shake. The LeSabre deserves better.
#405 of 1520 Typical bias against American sedans
May 01, 2001 (6:20 am)
Mike - Seems like a lot of these guys don't have a clue what the typical American sedan buyer is looking for. Buick has done a pretty good job of understanding that if prior LeSabre sales figures are any indication. And this OF stuff is beginning to wear thin on me at 46 now. These gen x writers seem to think that all cars targeted at the over 40 crowd are a useless waste of natural resources. Give me a smooth riding, spacious and fuel efficient full sized American sedan like LeSabre (or my Bonneville) any day. They handle better than ever and are still the best value for the hard earned dollar IMO. Ken
#406 of 1520 Being from Chicago
May 01, 2001 (8:39 am)
And knowing what Mateja likes..
Fair warning, I am about to shread this guy apart!
Small, imports. Period. He has never liked american cars. Maybe the Viper. I think he said something about the rear window being too small. His job is to critique every car that comes across his driveway, and find faults. He does a great job at it. The only other problem I personally have with him is the fact that sometimes he is dead wrong. I have seen him say something was not available on a car when, in fact, it was standard equipment. I have seen him say this is a great option when, in fact, it isn't available. I am not sure how he kept his job as long as he has or how he became an authority in the automotive industry.
On a lighter side, I look forward to reading his articles when they come out. Gives me a great hearty chuckle. Grats to you both for seeing through his typical bland and boring reviews.
ps. I sell more memory seat options to people that have bad knees and backs. I am one of them and I'm 29. Having that exit position is nice..set it up to raise the seat and move it all the way back causes less stress on the joints when leaving. Then, when returning to the car, just hit the position 1 button, viola.
#407 of 1520 Creaking Noise in Supension 2000 LeSABRE
May 08, 2001 (7:38 pm)
Does anyone have this problem? When you make a sharp left or right turn, there is a creaking noise in the front left side as the car rolls back on an even keel. There is also a creaking or cracking noise as you put on the brakes. My 90 and 94 LeSabres didn't have this creaking noise and the local dealer won't do anything because "nothing is broken" and "Buick won't pay for diagnosis". Car has 11k miles and has been doing this since shortly after I bought it . It was a demo with a thousand miles on it. It sounds like a strut bushing to me - I've written Buick. The Regional service guy will look at it next week. Thanks! Karl
#408 of 1520 Creaking Noise
May 09, 2001 (10:05 am)
I've got a similar problem. When I turn the car to the left, especially on a slow highway curve, my suspension makes a groaning sound. Happens no matter what speed I'm driving. I'm about due for my 6000 checkup, so I'm going to push the dealer a little harder on this than I did last time. As I recall, I got the old, "Thats a problem with every LeSabre" answer.
I'm a little concerned about this "Buick won't pay for diagnosis" nonsense. I believe that our cars have a 3-year, 36000 mile bumper-to-bumper warrenty. If the suspensions are making a creaking or groaning sound, there is a problem there.
Let me know how it goes, Karl.
Woodbuick -- any comments about suspension noises or problems that you have heard of ???
2001 LeSabre Limited
Medium Red Pearl, Taupe Interior
#409 of 1520 Transmission surges only at stopping
May 09, 2001 (10:24 am)
I have a 1995 LeSabre Limited with only 47,700 miles on it. Has anyone ever experienced a slight "chug" in the transmission that only occurs in the last 2-3 feet of a slow stop and only occasionally? I drive the car around town in 3rd and only use Overdrive on the freeway. The transmission shifts up and down great. I have been to my mechanic twice about this issue and he thinks the lock-out converter solenoid is going bad. Aren't solenoids like everything else on the ewer cars, they work or they don't? Everything on the "net" tells me that when the solenoid goes the car dies at a stop. I am told the solenoid is inside the transmission and am not looking to pay several hundred dollars if this is not the issue. Any help is greatly appreciated.
May 11, 2001 (10:17 am)
Hi Folks, first time posting so please excuse any bloopers. I just became the proud owner of a 1996 Lesabre with 94000K. I've never experienced anything like it. This isn't your average run of the mill car, with the GRAN Touring option and Toyo 800Ultra tires it actually handles just about anything I can throw at it. Fact of the matter is I tend to chicken out before it does. Managed to find an almost pristine one, no dings almost no wear and well maintained in white with black molding and pinstripes. With the 16" MAG wheels it almost looks sporty. Anyway I have two questions which I hope you folks can help me with. It seems that the recommended tire pressure sticker got waxed off the door by an over zealous previous owner, so now I can't read the pressure recommendation. The owners guide says look at sticker. Can a kind soul fill me in on this. I'm currently at 32 front and rear. The second question is has anyone experienced the check oil level indicator staying on for about 20 seconds after starting the car, then going off. Yes, checked the obvious, the oil level is fine. But this indicator's behavior doesn't correspond to the owners guide if the the oil was low anyway.
Says it should go off then come back on for 20 to 45 seconds if over a pint is missing. Afraid to go to dealer cause with this car it looks like it'll cost $200 just to make an appointment.
Thanks in advance for any insights you can offer.
May 12, 2001 (4:29 pm)
My 2000 LeSabres owners manual says 30psi. This car has the 16" tire option without handling package. Being a person who seems to favor handling why not just pump them to 35psi which is the factory maximum on most good radial tires these days. Firms up the ride a bit and also gives a slight gas mileage boost. Makes a nice difference if you favor handling over ride. The newer 2000/2001 ride a bit firmer than your 96 right out of the factory. For those who love the pillow soft ride please ignore me.
May 14, 2001 (12:25 pm)
Amazing, isn't it??? If you think your 96 handles well, you should check out the newer models. They're even tighter. I've driven both with the GT suspension and the new generation LeSabre is hands down better. I think Buick is finally starting to get it.
At some point, my plan is to finish the work Buick started. The GT suspension should include 17-inch wheels and tires and well as solid sway bars instead of the hollow ones they provide. This combination should improve the handling even more. Wheels and tires will be easy to find, but adding parts such as sway bars, strut braces, and struts will be more difficult. After all, who makes performance parts for a Buick LeSabre!
Enjoy! Driving a Buick can be fun.
2001 LeSabre Limited
Medium Red Pearl, Taupe Interior
#413 of 1520 Blue Corral Car Wash
May 15, 2001 (10:26 am)
Every once in a while, I'll try a new product to see how good it really is. Blue Corral Car Wash is the real deal!
They claim that you won't need to dry your car at all after using this stuff. I was a little skeptical about that, but let me tell you, there was hardly any water left on my car after I was done. It only took a few minutes with a terry cloth towel to get the rest of the water up.
Wash a section at a time and then rinse off with a stream of water (don't use any spray attachment). Once you have washed the whole car, rinse it all again with a stream of water. Wait a few minutes and most of the water is gone.
I've used a dozen different car washes before, including the stream of water trick to minimize beading water on the car. Nothing I have used works as well as Blue Corral. It also helps if your car has a good coat of carnuba on it.
Check it out. Should be available at most auto stores.