For 2012, a hybrid drivetrain becomes the standard powertrain on the Buick LaCrosse. Dubbed eAssist, the 2.4-liter inline-four and electric motor/generator work together to raise fuel economy figures up to a claimed 37 mpg. Now we know how much that improved economy will cost: the 2012 LaCrosse eAssist starts at $30,820, including $860 in destination charges.
Seeing as base 2011 LaCrosse models stickered for $27,990 (including destination), the eAssist model represents a significant price increase over last year’s car. That said, the new model is about 25 percent more fuel-efficient than outgoing four-cylinder LaCrosse models. Additionally, the price increase also reflects that the 2012 car also has more standard features, (17-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control, Bluetooth, and USB connectivity) than 2011’s base models.
The eAssist powertrain employs a direct-injection 2.4-liter inline-four gasoline engine rated for 182 hp and 172 lb-ft of torque. A motor-generator unit is attached the engine’s accessory belt, offering up to 15 hp and 79 lb-ft of assistance under acceleration, and regenerative braking during deceleration.
GM expects fuel-economy ratings of 25/37 mpg (city/highway) for the LaCrosse eAssist, versus 19/30 mpg for the 2011 LaCrosse four-cylinder. eAssist is also slated to appear on the 2012 Buick Regal later this year.
If buyers don’t want to go hybrid, the 2012 LaCrosse can now be ordered with a direct-injection, 3.6-liter V-6 engine at no extra cost. Thanks to a few small revisions for the 2012 model year, the engine now produces 303 hp and 264 lb-ft, improvements of 23 hp and 5 lb-ftover last year’s six-cylinder engine.
Buick reps are keen to point out that the LaCrosse eAssist’s price tag manages to undercut other competitive hybrid luxury sedans. The 2011 Lincoln MKZ hybrid stickers at $35,180 after destination, while the 2011 Lexus HS250hhybrid starts at $37,205.
Buick tells us the 2012 LaCrosse eAssist will be in dealers by late summer, while the 2012 Regal eAssist model won’t arrive until early fall.