Three american luxury sedans that announce "The boss has arrived!" are the Buick Park Avenue Ultra, Chrysler's new 300C and the Lincoln LS. Spacious interiors, cavernous trunks, powerful engines and gadgets galore are the hallmarks of these stately 2004 passenger cars.
Base-priced at $39,925, Buick's Park Avenue Ultra costs an extra $2,500 with a business-oriented option package: a center console with a nonslip writing pad, cell phone tray and three 12-V outlets. The package includes a reverse park warning signal, front and rear climate control and sunroof. Standard features: OnStar, traction and stability control systems, a universal transmitter for remote controls, flashing side-view mirror turn indicators, and 10-way lumbar power-seats that are sofa-class comfortable. Powering the Ultra is a 3.8-liter V-6 that, with a grand touring suspension, takes you down the road quickly and gently.
The sportier Lincoln LS is priced at $39,638, or $44,000 with options such as a Sirius satellite radio, V-8 engine with alternative manual control and navigation system. Redesigned in 2003, this year's model tweaks the suspension for a better ride and has new lamps and other small changes. Standard features: traction control, adjustable pedals and leather seats. The LS has 232 horsepower with the V-6 engine and 280 with the V-8.
Debuting as a sedan of noble proportions is Chrysler's large luxury passenger four-door, the 300C, at press time expected to retail for less than $40,000. With an intimidating front end, high doorsills and a massive rear, it's no surprise that a large high-performance, fuel-efficient 5.7-liter, 300-plus horsepower HEMI V-8 engine lurks under the hood. The high-tech contemporary interior has a center console that sweeps up through the dash for a cockpit effect while the exterior glass-to-body ratio resembles that of roadsters, with a long hood and short rear deck. Standard features: a navigation system, traction and stability control, and a hands-free communication system.
Editor and consultant Jill Amadio has been reporting on the automotive industry for 24 years.