The Buick brand has evolved significantly since the current LaCrosse bowed at the 2009 Detroit auto show, so it's time for the full-size sedan to receive a facelift. The updates to the 2014 Buick LaCrosse bring the model in line with the rest of the brand's styling trends, and add a raft of new technologies.
The subtle nip-tuck begins with a larger, more rounded waterfall chrome grille, new headlights with LED running lights, and a new front fascia that has a full-width lower air intake. The car's fake chrome portholes slide from the top of the hood to its outside edges. That brings the car in line with the design of the updated Enclave crossover. A full-width chrome strip headlines the changes to the rear of the LaCrosse, where previously there was a gap between the chrome eyebrows for the taillights and trunk. The trunk lid itself now has an elegantly integrated lip spoiler, ostensibly to reduce drag and improve fuel economy. Buick has restyled the car's 17-, 18-, and 19-inch wheels, and added optional 20-inchers for the first time.
More sweeping changes are in store for the cabin, beginning with a new center stack that accommodates an updated version of Buick's Intellilink infotainment system. The company proudly notes that there are now just seven physical buttons for the radio, down from 17 in the 2013 LaCrosse. Rounded center-stack shapes accommodate new touch-sensitive climate controls. The transmission shifter moves from the center of the console to the left-most edge, creating space for an extra storage cubby. The door lock, power seat, and trunk-release controls are revised, and the front-seat headrests now have four-way adjustability.
A new Ultra Luxury Interior Package comprises semi-aniline leather for the seats and armrests, suede for the headliner and door pillars, and LaCrosse-exclusive Sangria accents. The newest Intellilink system has an eight-inch touchscreen that responds to "swiping" and "dragging" commands like a smartphone. It features weather reports, Pandora and Stitcher Internet radio, and USB connectivity. An 11-speaker Bose surround-sound system is optional.
The 2014 Buick LaCrosse adds a long list of new safety features; previously the car's only assist features were rear parking sensors and a backup camera. The Driver Confidence 1 package includes forward collision alert, lane departure warning, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive headlights, and a head-up display. Upgrading to Driver Confidence 2 adds adaptive cruise control, automatic braking, and Safety Seat Alert. The last item vibrates the seat cushion to warn the driver of hazards; it debuted on the Cadillac ATS and XTS. The 2014 LaCrosse also gets Lane Change Alert, a feature that provides warning of a fast-approaching vehicle before the normal blind-spot system would.
Buick also tweaked some of the LaCrosse's suspension settings for improved stability and better handling. There are no powertrain changes for the 2014 model year. The eAssist hybrid version uses a 182-hp, 2.4-liter inline-four engine and 15-hp, belt-driven electric motor, with a six-speed automatic transmission. The engine upgrade is a 304-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 and six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, and the V-6 can be equipped with all-wheel drive as an option.
The 2014 Buick LaCrosse goes on sale this summer.