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Do rear-wheel-drive behemoths such as this really have a place in today's world?
Buick obviously thinks so, but it's hard to ignore the steadily thinning ranks of the traditional American full-size sedan. Big, heavy and ponderous cars like this are perceived as dinosaurs by some, while others reject them for not making the right fashion statement.
After all, to many, an important part of the new-car buying process is what the car is going to say about us.
Viewed from that perspective, the Roadmaster seems to be rooted firmly in a bygone era, with a collection of attributes that don't apply to 1995.
But let's take a harder look at that. What are some of the key elements of today's luxury cars? Power, of course. That's always near the top of the list. Lots of room inside. Lots of power-operated amenities.
A premium sound system. Smooth ride quality. Quiet operation. So far, we have a list that applies to the Buick Roadmaster.
True, it doesn't measure up to the handling standards of a big BMW or the Lexus LS 400, but think about this: You get all the other amenities for $20,000 less.
And if that's not quite enough to completely dispel your nagging image concerns, you can always get rid of the white sidewall tires.
Like most of the other grand American sedan classics - the Lincoln Town Car, Cadillac Fleetwood, Chevy Caprice - the Roadmaster's handling recalls an era in automotive travel when hurrying around corners was unseemly. There's pronounced body roll to let you know you're being too hasty through that turn. And a hint of wallowing to let you know that slalom runs are beneath this car's dignity.
Things get a little more contemporary with the trailer-towing package - the Roadmaster and Roadmaster Estate Wagon can tow up to 5000 lb. with ease - but back-road athletics just aren't part of this car's act.
The power steering reinforces this impression. It's not as numb as the good old days of the '50s and '60s, but it's still over-assisted by current standards. This is helpful when you're finessing this big car around in parking lots, but it limits the driver's connection with the car on the open road.
The Roadmaster's velvet ride is a pleasure, especially when you've got a lot of miles of bumpy interstate to conquer.
But tramp on the gas pedal and the LT1 responds with will, providing a level of snappy acceleration that's amazing in a car this size.
The rap on big cars like this is that brisk acceleration is achieved at the expense of dismal fuel economy. Not true. We found the Roadmaster's EPA ratings - 17 mpg in city driving, 25 mpg on the highway - to be a trifle conservative, and our overall test came in at a combined 23 mpg.
That's better than virtually anything in the sport/utility realm, and better than several more expensive luxury cars with fancier pedigrees.
The Buick Roadmaster may be the embodiment of an older concept in motoring, but it's not an antique. There's nothing outdated about quiet operation, smooth ride quality, king-size roominess, vast trunk space and stimulating power.
And if old-fashioned body-on-frame construction yields high curb weights, it's also durable.
There's no overlooking the fact that this car's handling falls a bit short of contemporary standards. And then there's the image issue: The Roadmaster doesn't quite have the panache of some of those luxury imports, but in terms of what you get for your money it's an undeniable value.
Pricing starts well below the $30,000 luxury-car plateau, and a loaded Limited barely crawls close to that mark.
The Roadmaster may not be trendy, but it is a good deal.