Buick is the oldest automobile brand in America and has a long history of building luxurious and reliable vehicles. The current Buick lineup is exclusively cutting-edge SUVs and crossovers, and over the past several decades, the quality of their performance and the number of deluxe features has only increased. Still, many people shopping at a used car dealership pass over the Buicks they see, either considering them too upmarket or less interesting than European imports.
But it might be time to readjust our view of the used Buick. Drivers are starting to rediscover that used Buicks have incredible long-term dependability at a fraction of the brand-new price. In fact, brand new drivers, those on a tight budget, and anyone looking for an additional car that isn’t going to break the bank in insurance payments might do well to look at a used Buick. Sure, some of the least expensive models are going to be older, but value takes several forms. The following vehicles have been selected for their long-term reliability, good drivability, generous features, as well as their low operating costs – including insurance, maintenance, and fuel.
The Buick LeSabre
The Buick LeSabre was born in the 1950s, but the last generation has earned a reputation as an excellent choice on used car lots. Produced from 2000 to 2005, the final generation of LeSabre was replaced by the short-lived Buick Lucerne. The LeSabre is a big sedan, and that “big” translates into roomy, including 18 cubic feet of trunk space. It also offers front and rear bench seats that can seat up to six passengers, which is unheard of in today’s SUV-driven world.
The final generation of LeSabre includes a 3.8L V6 engine that provides 205 horsepower and 230 lb-ft of torque, making it significantly more performance-oriented than a modern Encore GX. Combined fuel economy hovers around 20-21 miles per gallon for the last five years of production, which is startlingly reasonable for the size and age of the vehicle.
But what really stands out are the standard features. In 2005, the LeSabre was offered in two trims. The Custom is the base trim and included a power-adjustable driver’s seat, cruise control, a stereo with a CD player, remote entry, and automatic headlights, putting it far before its time. Bumping up to the Limited trim unlocks a new world of luxury, with rain-sensing windshield wipers, a pass-through trunk, and leather upholstery with heated, power-adjustable front seats. Several optional packages were offered in 2005 as well, so don’t be surprised to find Gran Touring versions with sport suspension and stabilizer bars or Celebration editions with head-up displays and a smattering of chrome.
It’s times like this when you pause and realize: maybe your grandparents were onto something. Not only is the LeSabre incredibly functional, but the drive is smooth and comfortable, all the way to your destination.
The Buick Rendezvous
When the Buick Rendezvous was introduced in 2002, it was praised for its identity as a true crossover but was often criticized for being “big.” Granted, it does have enough room to offer two additional seats for third-row passengers, but the Rendezvous truly lives up to its crossover nature, combining the best features of an SUV, van, and sedan.
Produced from 2002 to 2007, the Rendezvous was heavily marketed as a family vehicle during its short lifespan. This means that what you find at the used car dealership might show signs of having been well-loved and appreciated, but it also means that it’s got plenty of room inside for all of your belongings.
In its final year of production, the Rendezvous included a 3.5L V6 engine that produces 196 horsepower and 215 lb-ft of torque. An Ultra trim was offered for a few years and provided a more powerful 3.6L DOHC V6 that kicked up those figures to 245 horsepower and 235 lb-ft of torque. Though neither is the most blazingly fast engine imaginable, the torque figures allow for responsive acceleration.
Early Rendezvous models were somewhat lacking in modern safety measures, given the time period during which they were manufactured. However, later models include anti-lock disc brakes and a whole host of airbags. Basic standard features throughout production include keyless entry, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and rear windshield wiper with washer feature. Given its role as a premium family vehicle, the Rendezvous was offered with optional features that are still rare in today’s market, including a DVD entertainment center, integrated navigation, and a power moonroof.
By today’s standard, the Buick Rendezvous isn’t “big.” It’s comfortable. Plus, it has a high roof and low step-up height, making it ideal for those who don’t like to climb and wiggle their way into the backseat.
The Buick Regal
The mere mention of the Buick Regal might give some drivers a childhood flashback to driving somewhere in Florida, with plastic seat covers to protect the upholstery, listening to your grandparents’ favorite jams, but take a closer look.
Produced from 1973 to 2004, and then again from 2011 to 2020, the entire concept behind the Regal was blending luxury and performance. It did due diligence as a family vehicle, though later versions received some extra pep and features to give it a foothold in the luxury market.
The fifth-generation Regal is the most common on the used market, being produced from 2011 to 2017, and is equipped with more modern features than the previous two Buick’s we’ve looked at. The base Regal trim receives a 2.4L inline-4 engine that offers 182 horsepower and 172 lb-ft of torque, while the remaining trims enjoy a 2.0L turbocharged inline-4 that dials things up to 220 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive is an option for several of the upper trims, as well.
Depending on the year and trim, drivers of used Buick Regals can find plenty of high-ticket treats at a bargain, including leather upholstery, heated power-adjustable seats, an 8-inch color touchscreen infotainment system, and Bluetooth compatibility. Across all trims, however, drivers will notice an incredibly smooth and refined ride, with responsive braking and acceleration. More recent versions will also include StabiliTrak electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes, adding a little extra when it comes to taking on challenging routes.
Explore What Buick Has to Offer
Now that Buick has redefined its brand as a luxury SUV manufacturer, perhaps it’s also time we revisit the used Buicks that linger on the car dealership lots. Sure, they don’t have the same silhouette as a supercar, nor do they have the power under the hood to challenge someone to a drag race. However, they more than make up for this with the smooth Buick ride we’ve come to appreciate over the years.
Are Buicks cool? If they aren’t, they really should be. If you sever the lingering association with grandparents and uncomfortable summer trips, you’ll discover far more comfort and features than can be found in many brand-new vehicles. For the price, performance, and general expenses down the line, perhaps it’s time we took a closer look at the Buicks waiting at the used car dealership and put one back on the road for another grand tour.