Buick Lacrosse - The Power of General Motors
Buick has been undergoing a reinvention of sorts, launching new models designed to reinvigorate its image and broaden its fan base. The Buick LaCrosse is one example of this strategy. Its name relates to the exciting sport of lacrosse, which is a hockey-like game played on a grass field. In French Canada, the word is rather naughty, so the LaCrosse is known as the Allure to our northern neighbors. Though the latest LaCrosse is notably more dynamic than its predecessor, it still holds firm to the Buick qualities of a relatively cushy interior and a smooth, quiet ride.
Overall, any Buick LaCrosse offers a driving experience that will suit older, more traditional Buick drivers just fine, while the current LaCrosse may offer enough style and athleticism to appeal to somewhat younger ones as well. Shoppers interested in this type of car will also want to check out established front-wheel-drive rivals like the Acura TL, Lexus ES and Toyota Avalon, as well as the rear-wheel-drive Hyundai Genesis, before settling on the Buick. But we wouldn't hesitate to recommend the current LaCrosse to anyone in search of a comfortable yet capable large sedan.
Redesigned for 2010, the Buick LaCrosse is a large front- or all-wheel-drive sedan that rides on an enhanced version of the Chevrolet Malibu's platform. The LaCrosse blends modern styling and surprisingly accomplished handling with traditional Buick traits like light steering and a cushy ride. There are three trim levels: CX, CXL and CXS. Engine options consist of a base 2.4-liter four-cylinder (182 horsepower), a 3.0-liter V6 (255 hp) and a 3.6-liter V6 (280 hp), all paired with six-speed automatics. The LaCrosse is front-wheel-drive except for the CXL, which can be had with all-wheel drive.
Base Buick LaCrosse Accessories come standard with a power driver seat, full power accessories and a seven-speaker CD/MP3 audio system. Higher trims net such niceties as alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth, heated power leather seats, rear parking sensors, a heated steering wheel and an 11-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system with a USB port. There are a number of appealing options as well, including adjustable shock absorbers, xenon headlamps, a head-up display, a hard-drive-based navigation system with a rearview camera and a rear-seat entertainment system with dual headrest displays.
In reviews, we've been surprised at the current LaCrosse's ability to combine the expected Buick ride quality with unprecedented (for Buick) athleticism. Those who buy the LaCrosse simply to cushion impacts around town and on the highway will not be disappointed, but those who venture onto twisting two-lanes will be amazed at how nimble and sure-footed this 2-ton sedan feels. It's not exactly a sport sedan, but it's leaps and bounds ahead of the Lexus ES 350 while giving up nothing in terms of ride comfort. Engine performance, however, is somewhat lacking relative to the competition unless you ante up for the 3.6-liter V6.
The LaCrosse also impresses in non-dynamic respects. The backseat is roomy and comfortable, and the front seats offer firm support that calls to mind German sedans more than American land yachts. The dashboard design is sleek and sophisticated, and materials quality is good save for some rough plastic edges and superfluous chrome here and there. One of our few complaints involves the 13-cubic-foot trunk -- unusually small for this segment. In sum, if you're in the market for this type of car, the LaCrosse belongs on your to-drive list.