The Buick LaCrosse is a sophisticated mid-size sedan, seating up to six passengers in comfort while providing confident handling and a smooth ride.The front-wheel drive LaCrosse is available in three trim levels: CX, CXL and Super.
The standard 200-horsepower 3.8 liter V-6 engine supplies adequate acceleration, while the lightweight 3.6 liter V6 engine offers a nice bump up to 240 horsepower with sprightly pickup. With the new Super trim line, a 5.3 liter V-8 engine is offered pumping out 300 horsepower for effortless thrust. The CX is equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control, satellite radio and a power driver’s seat; CXL trims add heated front seats and leather upholstery. A wireless cell-phone link is newly available, and heated power mirrors are standard on all models. A wireless cell-phone link is newly available, and heated power mirrors are standard on all models.
The CX and CXL enjoy considerable takeoff speed. However, once up to highway speeds, the LaCrosse is unable to provide sufficient power for immediate passing. To harness any engine power, the driver must really use the gas pedal, reducing fuel economy. The Super, of course, offers improved performance, but still suffers from the sheer weight and bulk of the vehicle. CXL and CX models are able to provide 21 mpg during highway driving, while the larger engine of the Super reduces this by a significant amount.
Steering and handling on the LaCrosse is an interesting conundrum. Buick’s power steering system makes the wheel feel too light, but the vehicle is responsive during turns. However, aggressive turning does result in nosedives, while the vehicle also suffers from body lean during even moderate turning.
Apart from the portholes on each front fender, dual exhaust tips and a small rear spoiler, the LaCrosse Super looks much like the other trims. At 198.1 inches long, it’s longer than both the Milan and the 300.
Exterior features include:
- 16-inch aluminum wheels (standard on CX)
- 17-inch chrome wheels (standard on CXL; optional on CX)
- Scarlett Red paint no longer available
The interior of the LaCrosse is comfortable but predictable. Drivers will find no luxury touches here. The vehicle is capable of seating five, though that increases to six with the addition of the front bench seat.
With a front bench seat — an uncommon offering in this class — the LaCrosse can seat up to six. A five-seat model with front bucket seats is also available. The top-of-the-line Super gets a silver-colored center stack and unique gauges. The LaCrosse has roughly the same interior volume as the Milan and is 8 cubic feet smaller than the 300.
Interior features include:
- Bluetooth wireless phone communication now standard
- XM Satellite Radio
- Dual-zone automatic air conditioning
- Remote start
- 16 cubic feet of trunk space
- Split, folding rear seat available in an optional package
Available 5-passenger leather-appointed heated seats are the perfect wintertime companions. Available magnetic variable-assist power steering adjusts steering effort based on speed, which in turn increases on-road feel. Dual-zone climate control is also available with individual controls for driver and front passenger. Super models add standard Ultrasonic Parking Assist, which uses sonar to detect objects behind the vehicle to make parallel parking a snap.
The suspension offered on the LaCrosse is capable, but not sporty. Rough roads, bumps and potholes result in wallowing and swaying that can affect driving. The vehicle is quiet during most driving, though wind noise can be pronounced at higher speeds and rough roads induce considerable noise in the cabin.
Safety features include standard anti-lock brakes with traction control to minimize wheel lockup and enhance traction on slippery surfaces. Dual front airbags, dual side-impact airbags, and head-curtain side-impact airbags protect both rows of passengers in a collision. CXS and Super models feature StabiliTrak stability control that enhances vehicle control and handling in emergency maneuvers.
The Buick LaCrosse is an adequate vehicle. Designed for moderate comfort and room, the vehicle lives up to expectations, though does not exceed them. This is an excellent vehicle for driving around town, but lacks the brute power for aggressive driving on the open highway.