The LaCrosse was redesigned for 2010, but it has gotten more interesting since then. The car’s styling is aimed at both the Chinese and the U.S. markets, as Buick now sells more cars in China than it does here. Because a car like this is often chauffeur driven in China, the LaCrosse has generous rear-seat legroom, and buyers can maximize the rear-seat experience by opting for the available DVD entertainment system. Up front, the driver faces a dash that is highly styled, with plenty of chrome, intricate gauges, and a configurable screen. Buick’s IntelliLink (available midyear) promises enhanced interaction with a smart phone. IntelliLink is new for 2012, but the LaCrosse’s more significant changes are found under the hood. Whereas the base engine was previously an underwhelming V-6, the new one is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder supplemented by a battery-powered electric motor. This so-called mild hybrid (the motor can’t power the car on its own) delivers fuel economy of 25 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway, figures that are better than many compacts’. At the same time, the eAssist system makes the four-cylinder surprisingly responsive and has impressive refinement. The V-6 has been bumped to 303 hp and is your only choice if you want all-wheel drive, and, in fact, we recommend AWD with the bigger engine because the softly sprung LaCrosse can easily unload its front wheels during acceleration. Higher-trim V-6 models (Premium III and Touring) use GM’s HiPer Strut front suspension to minimize torque steer.
Drive: Front-wheel, 4-wheel
Trim levels: Base, Convenience, Leather,
Premium I, Premium II, Premium III, Touring
Body style: Sedan, 5-passenger
Engines: 2.4L I-4 with electric motor, 182 hp,
3.6L V-6, 303 hp, 264 lb-ft
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Passenger volume: 99.0 cu ft
Cargo space: 11.4-13.3 cu ft
The LaCrosse now comes standard with Buick’s eAssist technology (seen also, as an option, on the Regal). The eAssist system helps the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine deliver an impressive 25/36 mpg. The V-6 remains available and gets a power boost for 2012, adding 23 hp for a total of 303 hp. An enhanced Bluetooth interface, called Buick IntelliLink, is new this year; it adds capabilities for remote control of smart-phone functions.
Front, side, and side curtain air bags; ABS; and stability and traction control are standard. Rear-seat side air bags; a backup camera; and a blind-spot warning system are optional. OnStar includes crash response and emergency assistance.
All: 17-25 mpg city/27-36 mpg highway
- Fuel economy with eAssist
- Rear-seat legroom
- Near-silent cruising
- Rearward visibility
- Rear-seat access
- Trunk space with eAssist
Buick’s most traditional sedan and its largest, now that the Lucerne is gone.
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