This is a surprisingly nice near-luxury sedan that is a great complement to the Enclave crossover. Together, these two vehicles help justify GM's decision to save Buick. The fact that Buick is still very much a popular and prestigious brand in China, of course, also played into that decision. In fact, the LaCrosse is closely related to the Invicta concept car that debuted at the 2008 Beijing Motor Show, and GM's design center in China had a major hand in styling the new car.
Buick held several days of media drives of the new LaCrosse in the Ann Arbor area this week, so I saw the car coming and going a number of times. It looks great on the move. I would not expect it to have the same wow factor as the Chrysler 300 did when it first appeared; Buicks, after all, are supposed to be a little understated and a lot elegant. I think the new LaCrosse meets both of those standards handily.
The 3.6-liter powertrain is a winner, as it is in every other application within the GM stable. Acceleration from 60 to 100 mph on the freeway is smooth, quiet, rapid, and satisfying. Yep, there's some fight from the steering wheel if you really hammer this car away from an intersection, and I do agree with my colleagues that it would be nice if Buick offered the all-wheel-drive system with the 3.6 as well as the smaller 3.0-liter V-6.
Joe DeMatio, Executive Editor