2010 Buick LaCrosse

CX FWD 4-Dr Sedan I4 auto trans

2010 buick lacrosse Reviews and News

1003 02 Z+2010 Buick LaCrosse I 4+front Three Quarter View
1003 02 Z+2010 Buick LaCrosse I 4+front Three Quarter View
Buick's latest LaCrosse is one of the new General Motors' best success stories. Sales of the nameplate have increased dramatically, and more than one-third of all buyers are new to the General Motors family. Better yet, transaction prices are up by a whopping $8500, despite the fact that sticker prices haven't significantly increased.
In the days of the old GM, we wouldn't expect much in the way of changes so soon - the LaCrosse debuted in June 2009 - but the born-again automaker seems to think there's always room for improvement. The first major addition, a four-cylinder engine, is already in production.
Hello, Ecotec; So Long, Three-Point-Oh
When the LaCrossed first appeared, buyers had two engine choices. A direct-injection 3.0-liter V-6 served as the base engine in both the high-volume CX and CXL models, while the direct-injection 3.6-liter V-6 - used in the likes of the Cadillac CTS and STS - was offered only in top-spec CXS trim.
For 2010, Buick is catering to customers looking for better fuel economy by adding the direct-injection 2.4-liter Ecotec I-4 to the portfolio. This engine launched late last year in the Chevrolet Equinox/GMC Terrain crossover, and the specifications are identical. The engine is rated at 182 horsepower at 6700 rpm, and a respectable 172 pound-feet of torque at 4700 rpm. A six-speed automatic is standard, and routes power to the front wheels.
The four-cylinder does give up a significant amount of power compared to the 3.0-liter's 255 horsepower, but there are offsetting fuel economy gains. According to the EPA, the 2.4-liter LaCrosse returns 19 mpg in the city and 30 mpg in highway driving - a considerable improvement over the 3.0-liter car's 17/26 mpg ratings.
For the 2010 model year, the Ecotec is only offered on the CX trim line, but Buick plans on expanding its availability. Come 2011, the 3.0-liter V-6 will be dropped, and the I-4 will serve as the standard engine on both the CX and the CXL. The 3.6-liter V-6 will be available on both the CXL and the CXS, and can be paired with all-wheel drive on either model.
The Structure Remains The Same
1003 04 Z+2010 Buick LaCrosse I 4+rear Three Quarter View
Although LaCrosse CXL models will receive some chassis improvements later this year, the four-cylinder CX receives no major updates outside of its engine compartment. That's not a bad thing, mind you. GM's Epsilon II platform lends the car a stiff, solid foundation, helping the LaCrosse avoid the wallowing ride traditionally associated with large Buicks.
Buyers won't have to sacrifice much style or substance by opting for the four-cylinder. The CX largely resembles its upscale siblings, although there are a few key differences to set it apart from a CXL or CXS. Leather isn't available, nor is a navigation system or fog lamps. Virtually every other upgrade, however - i.e. 17-inch aluminum wheels, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth phone pairing, a remote starter, and a Harmon/Kardon sound system - remains optional.

Behind the Wheel

Like its siblings, the four-cylinder LaCrosse is incredibly quiet. Buick's hallmark "QuietTune" insulation package surely helps, but so to does the performance of the engine itself. The Ecotec isn't thrashy when pushed hard, and is virtually silent when maintaining a given speed. Power is adequate for the car, but those desiring something sportier should go for a CXS.
We were impressed with the refinements GM has given its six-speed automatic. Early examples would occasionally deliver a harsh shift, but the gearbox in our test car was impeccably smooth. Gas misers will appreciate the transmission's tendency to quickly work its way into higher gears to maximize fuel economy, but those who want a little more fun aren't forgotten - both a "sport shift" algorithm and manual shift controls allow drivers to use more of the rev band.
Although a far cry from the stereotypical floaty Buick ride, the LaCrosse CX's suspension tuning is somewhat softer than that in the CXL and CXS models. It's not ready for the Nurburgring, but it did a good job controlling body motions over the winding country roads we drove in northern Virginia. Our only complaints lie with the feel of the brake pedal and the electric power steering - we think Buick engineers can easily add a little more weight to both.
CX versus CXL?
Buick says the four-cylinder will account for roughly 25 percent of all LaCrosse production, and we think that's a safe estimate. The 2.4-liter delivers reasonable power and impressive fuel economy, the latter being an increasingly important factor in today's midsize luxury segment.
We're more interested, however, in how sales will split between the four-cylinder CX and CXL models. Buick is keen to offer the Ecotec to customers who desire the features associated with the CXL trim level, but unless you must have navigation or leather seating, there's no reason to wait for the 2011 CXL to reach dealers.
On that note, 2010 LaCrosse CX 2.4 models are already rolling off the assembly line in Fairfax, Kansas. Base price for the four-cylinder model is $26,995 (including $750 in destination fees), but with every available factory-installed option, that figure can rise to $28,995.
0907 01 Pl+2010 Buick LaCrosse+2009 Hyundai Genesis 4 6
0907 01 Z+2010 Buick LaCrosse+2009 Hyundai Genesis 4 6
We were quite excited early last week to take delivery of a 2010 Buick Lacrosse. After all, when was the last time we've seen a truly new mid-size Buick? (Answer: 1988)
Buick hopes the LaCrosse will continue the success it has enjoyed with the Enclave crossover and establish the brand among younger, more affluent shoppers. With a base price ranging from about $27,000 to $34,000 and a choice of three engines (a four-cylinder and two V-6s), the LaCrosse, Buick says, will compete with everything from Chrysler 300s to the Lexus ES.
But as we perused the $39,325 sticker of our well-equipped CXS model, we couldn't help but think of our Four Seasons Hyundai Genesis 4.6, which has a similar price and a similar mission. Like Buick, Hyundai hopes to grab the attention of buyers who have historically snorted derisively at the idea of driving one of its cars. And although the two may differ in packaging - the LaCrosse relies on front/all-wheel drive and a direct-injection V-6 while the Genesis goes with rear-wheel drive and a V-8 - both come packed with technology and refinement in hopes of enticing near-luxury buyers.
We spent the better part of an afternoon driving - and being driven - through the finer parts of Ann Arbor to determine which of these sedans stands a better chance of capturing a slice of the luxury pie. Read on for our thoughts.
0907 07 Z+2010 Buick LaCrosse+front View
Buick LaCrosse CXS
It's been a long, long time since Buick sedans received much consideration among the moneyed elite. And yet, our "red jewel" LaCrosse looked quite at home as we pulled through a private golf course and country club in Barton Hills. Indeed, the car's young styling team, which included both American and Chinese designers, did a good job creating a fresh and decidedly premium look for Buick. Traditional styling elements such as the sweep-spear profile, ventiports, and waterfall grille coexist well with a taut and modern--if somewhat derivative--body.
We felt just as worthy of our surroundings when we climbed into the Buick and beheld its nicely stitched dash and high-dollar materials. Buick tells us it paid special attention to the back seats, because Chinese people--who now represent more than half of the brand's total customer base--often prefer to be chauffeured. We can report that Communist party elites will enjoy ample room to stretch out and relax as they're shuttled around Beijing. In fact, there's more legroom than in the Genesis, despite the LaCrosse's shorter wheelbase.
Our particular example suffered from a few gaps and squeaks, but we've been assured that these early-production imperfections will be ironed out before the cars hit dealer lots. More troubling is the amount of road noise that finds its way into the cabin. It's not excessive, but more than one editor noticed a difference compared with the Genesis, which, like the Buick, uses laminated, double-pane glass for the windshield and the front windows.
0907 06 Z+2010 Buick LaCrosse+front Interior
Augmenting Buick's youthful aspirations is a vast array of technology sure to confuse elderly LeSabre owners. Our model had navigation, heated and cooled front seats, a head-up display, a backup camera, and an eleven-speaker Harman/Kardon stereo but lacked the available blind-spot assist and rear-seat DVD player. The reasonably intuitive nav interface combines a scroll wheel with a touch screen and clearly labeled buttons. Minor quibbles that we didn't experience with the Genesis include the fact that there's no clear way to turn off the radio without also shutting down the navigation and the somewhat distorted backup-camera display, which makes the car seem narrower than it actually is.
The LaCrosse's commitment to technology is more than skin deep, as it rides on GM's all-new mid-size car platform, essentially a stretched version of the one underpinning the well-regarded Opel Insignia. Although the LaCrosse clearly falls on the Lexus end of the driving-dynamics spectrum, with effortless steering and a cosseting ride, it exhibits little of the wallowing body roll and float that characterized Buicks of yore.
Our CXS came with the top-of-the-line, direct-injection 3.6-liter V-6 making 280 hp. Unfortunately, customers cannot combine this engine with all-wheel drive, which will be available only with the smaller 3.0-liter V-6. The result is noticeable torque steer and wheel spin off the line--even when you aren't trying to be a hooligan.
Base price: $33,765
As tested: $39,325
Body style: 4-door sedan
Accommodation: 5 passengers
Engine: DOHC 24-valve V-6
Displacement: 3.6 liters
Horsepower: 280 hp @ 6300 rpm
Torque: 259 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm
Transmission type: 6-speed automatic
Drive: Front-wheel
EPA fuel economy: 17/25 mpg (est.)
On sale: August
0907 09 Z+2009 Hyundai Genesis 4 6+front Three Quarters View
Hyundai Genesis 4.6
Whereas the Buick looked best parked in front of the country club, the Genesis reveals its incredible value and considerable polish only from behind the wheel. The Hyundai's faux Mercedes-Benz grille and generally anonymous exterior makes it painfully clear that the young Korean automaker lacks the heritage of premium design that Buick enjoys. And yet, our Four Seasons Genesis matches the LaCrosse feature for feature, adds to the mix rear-wheel drive and a V-8, and still comes in at just a few grand more (and it incurs only a slight fuel-economy penalty). Indeed, for $42,000, the Hyundai offers most of what you'll get in a $65,000 Lexus LS.
Still, it's worth noting that the Genesis 3.8, with its 290-hp V-6 and $33,250 starting price, might have made for a fairer comparison than our fully loaded V-8 model, so we won't dwell on the fact that everyone who went from the LaCrosse to the Genesis was immediately seduced by the extra 100 hp and unmistakable eight-cylinder growl. What we will dwell on is the Hyundai's superior delivery of that power. Whereas jabs at the Buick's throttle almost always brought on wheel spin and torque steer, the rear-wheel-drive Genesis was almost impossible to unsettle, delivering the silky-smooth, effortless acceleration one expects of a luxury sedan. That said, Hyundai's chassis engineers still have something to learn about tuning a premium car, as the ride can be unexpectedly harsh over bumps.
0907 08 Z+2009 Hyundai Genesis 4 6+front Interior
As in the Buick, there's an arsenal of technology and plenty of room for passengers. Those sitting in back will appreciate the Hyundai's extra width, especially when squeezing in with other adults. The metal iDrive-like controller on the center console is much more user-friendly than most similar systems, including iDrive, and it feels a bit more upscale than Buick's setup. Some editors commented on the rather plain, Sonata-like instrument panel and the somewhat low-end switchgear--a sharp contrast with the LaCrosse's colorful gauges and graphics--and wondered why only the driver got a cooled seat. Overall, though, we were reminded once again how much the Genesis truly offers compared with its competitors.
Base price: $38,000
As tested: $42,000
Body style: 4-door sedan
Accommodation: 5-passengers
Engine: DOHC 32-valve V-8
Displacement: 4.6 liters
Horsepower: 375 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 236 lb-ft @ 3500 rpm
Transmission type: 6-speed automatic
Drive: Rear-wheel
EPA fuel economy: 17/25/19 mpg (city/highway/combined)
On sale: Now
0907 04 Z+2010 Buick LaCrosse+2009 Hyundai Genesis 4 6
Both cars prove that there are now strong alternatives to the usual players in the so-called near-luxury segment. The LaCrosse, when equipped and priced to match a high-end Honda Accord V-6 or a Lexus ES350 (as most models no doubt will be), offers a compelling mix of comfort and style. Yes, we're citing style as a reason for buying a Buick sedan.
For just a bit more money though, it's hard to do better than the Genesis. In either V-6 or V-8 form, you get unmatched luxury along with the dynamic benefits and added cachet of rear-wheel drive. And if your snooty friends won't give you enough respect, find a new country club.
0907 03 Pl+2010 Buick LaCrosse+front Three Quarters View
0907 03 Z+2010 Buick LaCrosse+front Three Quarters View
With GM cutting its number of brands in half, those who remain in the General's employ now have both the opportunity and the obligation to define their roles, build unique products, and sell lots of cars. As one of GM's four surviving brands, Buick owes a debt of gratitude to the Chinese market, where it is considered a premium marque. In the United States, the brand urgently needs to develop a similar cachet, and the 2010 Buick LaCrosse is an effort to do just that.
Younger skin for a younger Buick
Buick is making a conscious effort to attract younger buyers, and that shows in the new LaCrosse's styling. The grille is bolder, the headlights are more aggressive, and a strong character line on the sheetmetal sweeps along the profile. A high beltline and narrow glass reduce the visual height of the car to create a sportier stance. Chrome accents appear around the side glass, above the taillights, and on the door handles of some models. In all, it is an eye-catching new design, unexpected of Buick, that still doesn't betray the brand's image of comfortable luxury.
Interior by Asia
GM tapped its Chinese designers to treat the LaCrosse's cabin. The result is tasteful design of swooping lines crafted from quality materials. The interior is accented with ambient lighting in the dash, center console, and doors that glows ice blue.
With a base price of $33,765, the top-of-the-line CXS comes with a well-equipped, luxurious cockpit. Interior appointments include leather, heated and ventilated front seats with eight-way power adjustment for both driver and passenger, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a heated steering wheel with audio controls.
Because many Chinese car owners won't actually drive their Buicks (they'll be chauffeured, of course), GM placed extra emphasis on the rear compartment design. Legroom is expansive, and the rear seats are comfortable. While many sedans make do with a flat, benchlike rear seat, the Buick offers supportive, bucketlike seats for two passengers with room for a third on the hump. An available rear-window sunscreen raises and lowers with the push of a button next to the gear selector. All LaCrosses feature a 12-volt plug in the rear of the center console; a 120-volt AC power outlet is also available.
What's luxury without technology?
The high-end CXS comes with an extensive list of standard technology, including Bluetooth, keyless entry and ignition, an eleven-speaker Harman/Kardon audio system, a USB port, and the rear AC outlet. For $350, a head-up display shows speed, rpm, outside temperature, and a compass. When listening to satellite radio, song titles appear on the windshield as the song changes, and navigation directions show up as you approach a turn. Our test car came standard with rear parking sensors and was also equipped with the $1995 navigation system, which incorporates a rear backup camera. There's also an available rear-seat DVD entertainment system with two screens mounted on the back of the front seats.
0907 01 Z+2010 Buick LaCrosse+rear Three Quarters View
An engine for every driver
Buick will offer three engines in the LaCrosse, all using direct injection and mated to six-speed automatic transmissions. The top-tier CXS model comes with the 3.6-liter V-6 engine found in the Chevrolet Camaro and Cadillac CTS. In the LaCrosse, output is about 20 hp lower, rated at 280 hp and 259 lb-ft of torque. But unlike the Camaro and the CTS, power in the Buick is routed through the front wheels. That means there's ample torque steer with spirited acceleration. In casual driving, the 3.6-liter is exceptionally refined, creating a smooth and authoritative driving experience.
The most popular engine will be the 3.0-liter V-6 found on the CX and CXL. It cedes some power to the larger-displacement V-6, with a rating of 255 hp and 217 lb-ft, but returns the same fuel economy at 17/27 mpg with front-wheel drive. The CXL with the 3.0-liter V-6 is the only LaCrosse model that will offer all-wheel drive, which knocks off 1 mpg from both the city and highway ratings.
Later in the year, Buick will add a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that will take the place of the 3.0-liter in the CX. Buick made a late decision to add the fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine to the LaCrosse lineup to meet rising fuel economy standards. Also found in the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain crossovers, the engine makes 182 hp and 172 lb-ft of torque. GM predicts about 25 percent of buyers will opt for the more fuel-efficient engine, and we hope they're right. In order for GM to continue building performance-oriented models like the Camaro and the CTS-V, it'll need to move a substantial number of fuel-sippers in other models. GM hasn't yet certified the fuel economy of the smallest engine in the Buick LaCrosse but is estimating it will achieve a 20/30 mpg rating.
Chassis by Europe
The LaCrosse rides on the Epsilon II platform that also underpins the European Opel Insignia. The front suspension setup uses MacPherson struts, and the rear uses a multilink design on the base CX trim and H-arms on the CXL and the CXS. Continuously variable dampers had been fitted to our test car with the $800 touring package. Disc brakes are standard on all four corners, as is antilock braking. On the base CX, seventeen-inch steel wheels with covers are standard, a decidedly downmarket offering on a $28,000 entry-luxury car. But eighteen-inch aluminum wheels are optional on the CX and standard on the higher trims. Nineteen-inch wheels are also available for the CXS.
Buick takes pride in the fact that the LaCrosse suspension was tuned in Europe, a land that is famed for turning out solid chassis that inspire confidence without sacrificing comfort. That focus is a stark change from Buick's reputation for cars that float down highways like a piece of driftwood rising and falling in rolling waves. It's certainly a welcome effort, but can a company so ingrained in comfort do athletic? And what about the risk of taking it too far? If grandma's dentures fall out over a stretch of rough road, is it still a Buick?
0907 05 Z+2010 Buick LaCrosse+cabin
The driving experience surprise
Grandma, it turns out, still has her dentures, and she's grinning like a hooligan at a Buick that is more engaging than anything in recent brand history. The LaCrosse strikes the perfect balance of comfort and sport, with a ride that is never harsh and competent body control. It certainly isn't the second coming of the Pontiac G8, but the LaCrosse surprises with its admirable handling ability.
The steering wheel is the one place where the LaCrosse let us down, its variable-effort steering feeling feather-light and numb. This is the last nagging reminder of the old Buick that we'd love to bury six feet under.
Comfort, of course, is still a big part of the package. The powertrain is silky, and the automatic transmission makes smooth gear shifts. Buick has done an excellent job of blocking out wind noise and unwanted powertrain sounds with laminated glass and insulation. But the absence of some noises draws attention to frequent knocks from the suspension when it encounters broken pavement. Still, the overall package of luxury comfort and capable hardware creates an identity that we would love to see throughout the Buick line up.
Buick's brand new day
Set to go on sale in the fall of 2009, the entry-level CX model starts at $27,835; top-trim CXS models start at $33,765. The mid-level CXL begins at $30,395 for front-wheel drive and $32,570 for all-wheel drive. With a fresh design, a luxurious interior, and well-balanced driving dynamics, the 2010 Buick LaCrosse certainly redefines our perceptions of what was once a brand we regularly looked right past. Not only does the LaCrosse prove that the Buick Enclave crossover wasn't just a one-time badge engineering triumph, the new midsize car trumpets the arrival of a newly reinvigorated brand.
General Motors once offered a variety of "mild hybrids," such as the late Saturn Aura and Vue Green Line models, but discontinued the vehicles last year. According to GM’s head of hybrid and electric powertrain engineering, the system is set to make a comeback next year. But will the public bite?
1003 02 Z+2010 Buick LaCrosse I 4+front Three Quarter View
The headline number for April new-cars sales is +20%. That figure represents the increase over last April, which you'll remember was a disaster of historic proportions. Still, the increase is another hopeful sign that, for the auto industry, the worst is now behind us. The pace of the recovery, however, is plodding. Volumes actually slipped a bit versus March, but the 11.5-million-unit annual sales rate still looks pretty decent compared to a year ago, when we were staring at a 9.5-million-unit year. No one is expecting a sudden downturn in the months ahead, so cautious optimism rules the day. - Joe Lorio
1003 02 Z+2010 Buick LaCrosse I 4+front Three Quarter View
Toyota's incentive spending lost some of its effectiveness in April, as sales slipped 16% from March totals, although it was still enough for a nice gain over last year.
Toyota +26%
The redesigned 4Runner tripled sales of the old version; otherwise the top increases were around 50% for the Corolla/Matrix, the Prius, and the FJ Cruiser (of all things). The new Sienna, the Tundra, the Avalon, and the RAV4 all were up by more than a third. The only real loser was the Yaris, which fell by half.
Lexus +29%
Lexus enjoyed a slightly better increase than the Toyota division, with the recall-maligned GX posting the brand's second-best gain after the LS.
Scion -20%
Scion continues to sink, with all three models down.
0912 02 Z+2010 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4x4 V6+front Three Quarter View
The Koreans' increase is in line with the overall market, as is its slight fallback from March. With more new products, Hyundai was stronger than Kia.
Hyundai +30%
A massive increase for the new Tucson (+171%) and Sonata (+57%) is to be expected, but a doubling of Elantra sales was a surprise. The aging Accent was the biggest drag.
Kia +17%
Predictably, Kia's newest offering, the Sorento, sold like gangbusters (+254%), while another relative newcomer, the Soul, also did well (+62%). But the new Forte isn't selling as well as the old Spectra. A new Spectra and Optima should turbocharge Kia's results later this year.
0912 01 Z+2010 Hyundai Tucson+front Three Quarters View
Mercedes-Benz +25%
Mercedes-Benz outpaced the market overall by a slim margin, with an increase that was significantly better than BMW's but not as good as Audi's. The redesigned E-class continues to drive volume, this month with an assist from larger SUVs (yes, even the R-class!), while the GLK and the sports cars slipped.
Smart -49%
Sales of the Smart fell by half, from already low year-ago figures.
Maybach -49%
Three (3) Maybachs were sold in April. That almost makes Rolls-Royce, with 26 cars sold, look like a mass-market brand.
0911 02 Z+2010 Mazda3 VS Mazdaspeed3+head To Head
The Regal is sure to lower the average age of Buick buyers. But even before that car arrives, the brand has seen the average age of its buyers trend younger than ever.
Back in 2000, I was one of those people who, when General Motors announced that it planned to phase out the Oldsmobile brand, loudly decried the decision. Oldsmobile had a hundred year history and was just starting to find its new-century groove, model-wise (the Aurora and the Intrigue weren't that bad; admit it). Buick, on the other hand, didn't and wasn't (LeSabre — ick). Old people will get over it, I argued; there's always the Toyota Avalon, after all.

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2010 Buick Lacrosse Specifications

Quick Glance:
2.4L I4Engine
182 hp @ 6700rpm
172 ft lb of torque @ 4900rpm
  • Air Conditioning
  • Power Windows
  • Power Locks
  • Power Seats
  • Steering Wheel Tilt
  • Cruise Control
  • Sunroof (optional)
  • ABS
  • Stabilizer Front
  • Stabilizer RearABS
  • Electronic Traction Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Locking Differential (optional)
  • Limited Slip Differential (optional)
  • Airbag Driver
  • Airbag Passenger
  • Airbag Side Front
  • Airbag Side Rear (optional)
  • Radio
  • CD Player
  • CD Changer (optional)
  • DVD (optional)
  • Navigation
50,000 miles / 48 months
100,000 miles / 60 months
Unlimited miles / 72 months
100,000 miles / 60 months
IIHS Roof Strength
NHTSA Rating Overall
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
NHTSA Rating Front Side
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
NHTSA Rating Rollover
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
IIHS Overall Side Crash
IIHS Best Pick
IIHS Rear Crash

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