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Old 19th October 2009, 01:20   #1
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Default My First Car in America: 2002 Buick LeSabre Limited

I was determined to take an apartment near to my office and so that I don't have to buy a car. But that was when I was in India and was preparing for my year long assignment in United States.

Many plans went awry after I landed in Cincinnati including my plan of not buying the car.

Although I have been to US before but that was 5 years back and then I was in US for just 3 months. And most importantly, during that assignment, I had my colleague who was in US for an year and he took care of me like a child. Ofcourse that was a different city and a different client.

In just two days I was sure that I need to buy a car. I took a rental for a week and the hunt began. It was difficult to find time as my new assignment was keeping me very busy and in Cincinnati most of the places work only 9:00 to 6:00. Oh Gosh!

Nevertheless, I was pretty excited. Most of my dream cars looked affordable. Ofcourse I am speaking about used cars here. While I mean no offence to the brands and people using these brands, hondas, toyotas, and all Korean cars were a complete no-no.

The first car I test drove was a Jaguar XJ8. A 1998 model. It was from a private seller and was available for just 7K. The saliva from my mouth was already reached my shoes. The car was in pristine condition and it had done just 60K miles. I mean I would pay 14K as well for that car. It had almost every feature in the world that a car could have and the engine, suspension, ride and handling were straight from heaven. My conversion with the owner went like this...

Me: I mean, please don't mind, but why would you want to sell this car?
Seller: My business is not doing well and I am unable to maintain.
Me: I am sorry and I am sure your business will recover as the economy picks up. By the way, where you take it for servicing
Seller: We used to take it to Cincinnati Jaguar. But, you know, sometimes I had to call them and remind them that they have my car. They will keep for as long as 6 weeks for repairs. Now we are taking to another garage nearby who is quite an expert in imported cars.

And that's it. I realized that this is going to be my daily drive and I cannot afford that car has to be in garage for such long durations.

My next test drive was Ford Mustang. While driving it I felt air borne and still rooted to the ground. That car has real stiff suspension. But that was an amazing experience. But then someone told me that it is the worst car in snow and with winter already kicked in, I didn't wanted to take chances. I am a newbie when it comes to driving in US and I have never driven in Snow.

I drove a Land Rover, BMW 3 and 5 series, and Subaru's - Forester and Outback. The Land Rovers share the service with Jaguars and so they were out as well. In my price range the BMW and Subaru's that were available have all done around 130k kilometers. They drove well but my heart didn't agreed to buy a car that has done almost close to 2,00,000 kilometers already. I wanted to buy a car with mileage between 50 and 60k so that I don't have to worry about putting extra mileage of around 15-20K while I will drive it for the coming year. And would still be able to sell it at a decent price.

I was fast exhausting my options. And finally I got to drive a Buick. The 3 Buick's that I drove have all done only 60k and agewise were 6-8 years old. And man, I fell in love at my first drive. I really love that long Sedan look. And every other aspect fell in place as well. They are one of the most reliable American cars. Servicing them is no problem. They have good safety ratings. You can get them serviced almost everywhere. They have been the best selling American cars in Europe. The fuel consumption was good. And the Car Fax reports were clean as well - all three were single owner, no accident vehicles.

After going thru an initial inertia towards deciding which Buick to buy, I finally went with a LeSabre Limited. It is a 2002 model.

My First Car in America: 2002 Buick LeSabre Limited-dscn5914.jpg

Coming Up: Initial Impression from First 500 Miles.

Note to the Mods: I am not sure if this would be useful for any Indian buyer. But I am sharing my thoughts assuming it may be useful to at least some of the team-bhpians. If it is not okay to write this blog here, please let me know.

Last edited by akbaree : 19th October 2009 at 01:24.
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Old 19th October 2009, 02:35   #2
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Go on! We are droooling (and waiting!)
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Old 19th October 2009, 04:02   #3
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Aha, so finally you went with the buick. keeping the resale issue aside, it's a nice car to be in. waiting for your ownership report.
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Old 19th October 2009, 05:52   #4
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Sweet. I think I've driven this 2002 model, does it have that extra side/corner light (next to the headlight) when you turn on the side blinker which lights up so you can see better? Not sure about the handling, but these cars have nice big smooth V6s
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Old 19th October 2009, 09:01   #5
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Interesting choice. Do post up some pictures sometime.
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Old 19th October 2009, 10:32   #6
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congrats on getting a 'zara hatke' car in US by an Indian!
All of the people I knew/know(and myself) drove/drive japanese imports - Honda, Toyota, Nissan , Mazda or Subaru! (with a small minority driving european imports - BMW/Merc).
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Old 19th October 2009, 11:08   #7
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Quite a break away from the usual Japanese cars that everyone goes for considering they are easy on the pocket and go on forever. You seem to have taken a liking for the all American saloon car. Looking forward to the 500 miles report with pictures.

Congratulations and drive safe.
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Old 19th October 2009, 11:37   #8
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Good to hear you went for a Buick as compared to what all desis do- go for the Hs, Ts etc. Enjoy the American beauty.
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Old 19th October 2009, 20:35   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vivekiny2k View Post
Aha, so finally you went with the buick. keeping the resale issue aside, ...
Don't scare me, I hope that I would be able to sell it at a decent price.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vishalrao View Post
Sweet. I think I've driven this 2002 model, does it have that extra side/corner light (next to the headlight) when you turn on the side blinker which lights up so you can see better?
Yes it has that extra corner light that starts glowing when you put on the turn signal. Actually the car is full of such creative goodies. Ofcourse it depends, all the goodies are not as usefule as some others.

@sujaylahiri
@blackasta
@Dippy
@zaks
Thanks

I have the pictures, will be putting up the report shortly.

Last edited by akbaree : 19th October 2009 at 20:36.
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Old 19th October 2009, 20:54   #10
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Congrats on the Le Sabre. Have driven it a fair bit on rental in US, and its very comfortable. Its a laarge car, just above 5m long, and can seat a kid in front (for 3 person seating) IIRC.
Won't be easy on gas, and the boot is rather impractical inspite of its great length and width.
Have fun.
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Old 19th October 2009, 21:00   #11
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Good choice. Generally insurance on GM cars is lower than others and parts are cheap. You can also find non dealer garages that'll take care of your car for a lot less than the dealers.

I am sure you'll be happier in a Buick than you would be in a BMW of similar vintage.
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Old 19th October 2009, 21:08   #12
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Congrats on your buy akbaree. Buicks are knows for there easy driving, you can turn the steering with only one finger.

The smoothness of the driving is amazing and power and safety wise it'll definitely be a car to remember.

I would be much more excited if you tried their SUV (Randezvous).

One concern if you are living in cold areas. During winter the GM vehicles have a knack of creating lot of problems. Strictly follow the 5 minutes warm-up ritual every day in winter.

Congrats again. Enjoy the luxury and pleasure of a Buick.
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Old 19th October 2009, 21:11   #13
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I once drove a dodge intrepid on rental....that car was LONG! And it was my first rental after I received my drivers license!!!
Buick lesabre is on similar lines, a bit short than intrepid.
Just be a tad cautious while making turns, and mind the curbside.
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Old 20th October 2009, 07:12   #14
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You folks have already shared some thoughts, but here goes my initial impressions...


I took all the photographs this weekend as thankfully it was sunny. It has been more than two weeks that I took delivery and the car has not been cleaned in those 18 days.

Let me tell you that I am already spoiled. The car has an awesome stance...
My First Car in America: 2002 Buick LeSabre Limited-dscn5912.jpg

My First Car in America: 2002 Buick LeSabre Limited-dscn5921.jpg

I drove the rental car Nissan Altima for 10 days. And driving a Buick is such a welcome change, I can only feel it and have no words to describe.

The car is fully loaded version of Limited edition. It has all the optional packages loaded as well - the Gran Touring, Traction Control, and Driver Confidence Packages.

Suspension:
The car has 4 wheel independent suspenion that is self levelling at the rear. And with the Gran Touring package the suspension set up is on the stiffer side with additional stabilizer bar for the rear set up. The car has Goodyear Assurance 225/60R16 tires on aluminium wheels. The original car came with self sealing tires but the previous owner got new set of tires last year.

One can feel the great suspension right away. My aparment lane has some 6 humps and this car sails away. I was driving a Fiat Adventure for last 4 years - do I say more?

My First Car in America: 2002 Buick LeSabre Limited-dscn5917.jpg

My First Car in America: 2002 Buick LeSabre Limited-dscn5918.jpg

My First Car in America: 2002 Buick LeSabre Limited-dscn5916.jpg

Ride & Handling:
I was surprised that such a big car with almost 2 tons of kerb weight can handle so well. It handles just perfect on the cloverleaf road design in the US. I can take those exits, and they can be nasty, with great confidence. My aparment has four completely blind right angle kind of turns and I can tame the road as if I am driving a compact car. It feels just so great. Chaning to service lanes for taking those left and right turns also feels quite enjoyable.

The car is euipped with following relevant goodies
  • All four Disc Brakes with front two Ventilated
  • ABS
  • Tracktion Control
  • Stability Control (Buick StabiliTrak system that distributes break power evenly when taking a sharp turn or when skidding is sensed)
The steering has very good feedback and you stay connected.

My First Car in America: 2002 Buick LeSabre Limited-dscn5932.jpg

My First Car in America: 2002 Buick LeSabre Limited-dscn5934.jpg

Safety

It comes with front dual airbags for the passenger and the driver. The Limited also has front side impact airbags. All other safety is pretty much standard

Security

Well this is great. I actually got a good discount in my insurance premium as this car is equipped with a Theft Deterrent and Pass Key III System. The radio frequency and all that kind of a funda. Any other key will either trigger an alarm or shut down the fuel and starter systems depending on the situation

To be continued...
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Old 20th October 2009, 08:46   #15
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Engine
A 3.8 Liter V6 producing 205 BHP. IMHO the strength of this engine lies in cruising. It has lot of steam even when you want to go from 70 MPH to 90 MPH. It can be very quick during early 20's as well but then you need to be hard on gas. But after 20 MPH, it just find it's way to glory in no time.

Considering this, I thing I got a very good mileage of averaging at 20 MPG where 40% driving was done on highways and 60% in city. You may like to consider the fact that my office is just 3.5 miles away and I reach office before my car reaches it's optimal operating temperature. And in such a situation, getting 12 KM/L is a decent fuel efficiency
My First Car in America: 2002 Buick LeSabre Limited-dscn5935.jpg

Interior and other goodies

I would rather let pictures do most of the talking as the list of goodies is endless...

Wooden finish dashboard
My First Car in America: 2002 Buick LeSabre Limited-dscn5926.jpg
My First Car in America: 2002 Buick LeSabre Limited-dscn5942.jpg

It has 10 way power seats in the front. One feature that I am enjoying in the winter is the front heated seats
My First Car in America: 2002 Buick LeSabre Limited-dscn5924.jpg


Quite informative DIC (Driver Information Center) which can display the fuel info for last 100 kilometers, tire pressure, engile oil life index, engine oil pressure, coolant temperature, etc. It can display the values both in Metric and SI.
My First Car in America: 2002 Buick LeSabre Limited-dscn5927.jpg

The LCD that you see (marked with a circle) displays the speed and other information right at the windscreen. That is part of Driver Confidence Package. It is quite useful you can keep looking at the speed without looking at the tachometer. It displays other useful information as well. And the display is light sensitive so even during sun, it has very good visibility without glaring in nights.
My First Car in America: 2002 Buick LeSabre Limited-dscn5929.jpg

Quite generous rear leg room with rear vents
My First Car in America: 2002 Buick LeSabre Limited-dscn5928.jpg

The inside rear view mirror is equipped with OnStar system. It is a communication system and if you have subscribed to the services, it can automatically communicate emergency conditions like air bag deployment, and many others. I have no idea about this feature except that the car has it. Need to explore further. Actually need to explore many other features as well.
My First Car in America: 2002 Buick LeSabre Limited-dscn5950.jpg

The front passenger can set the aircon temperature different from that of the driver.
My First Car in America: 2002 Buick LeSabre Limited-dscn5953.jpg

It has quite decent Concert Sound 6 speaker music system. But after what I did with my Fiat Adventure, this system actually sounds like a puny. But it has warm mids and laid back highs. I am yet to listen to any music that I use to India and it won't be untill middle of next month.
My First Car in America: 2002 Buick LeSabre Limited-dscn5951.jpg

Final words:
This car pampers you like anything. It has great seats and sitting position. auto headlamps, rain sensing wipers, climate control, memory seats, ORVM and inside rear view mirror. With everything taken care of only thing you need to do is enjoy the party. I am loving it.

The best thing is that the car is 7.5 years old and every feature works perfectly fine. I hope the love affair lasts.

P.S.: All the Meguiar products that I was dying to buy in India - those were not available or ridiculously priced - are all available in Walmart at very reasonable prices. Next on agenda is to detail the car with everything I wanted to detail my Fiat Adventure with.
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