Long gone are the days when you'd consider a Buick because you were ready to retire or loved golf. The new Buick Lacrosse is a radical depature from the previous genrations of Buick. Long gone are the dull and bland looks, in are stylish Euro flared Buicks that ooze style and quality. Has Buick finally found a voice for itself? Or is it all talk and no show?
Performance: The Lacrosse comes with two engine choices. The standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder producing 182hp is a mild-hybrid. Stop/start technology comes standard as well as two electric motors to help improve fuel economy around town and on the highway. The 3.6-liter six-cylinder produces 303hp and can be had with all-wheel-drive. The extra oomph from the six-cylinder makes the Lacrosse more enjoyable to drive, but for the average commuter the 2.4 makes the most sense. It's fuel economy advantage helps it become the more ideal choice and our pick of the range.
On the road: The Lacrosse feels very light on it's toes even though the car is nearly the same size as a BMW 7-series. Steering feels very light but weighs up nicely as your pace increases. The comfort is by far the best we've ever experienced in this segment. It's very smooth and irons out bumps completely. Handling however suffers a bit with some body lean in corners, but then again this car won't be pushed to its handling limits. Refinement is smooth as well. There's virtually no wind noise whatsoever in the cabin. Road noise on some surfaces is the only issue here, but this is only a problem with the 2.4 with low rolling resistant tires. The engine start/stop technology on the 2.4 is too eager to shut off the engine at standstill. Once you take your foot off the brake pedal the car tends to jerk a little when the engine reactivates.
Behind the wheel: There's plenty of adjustments for the driver seat and steering wheel. Short and even tall passengers can get comfortable. The dashboard takes a little getting used to. The touch screen menus can be a bit intimidating at first glance, but are very easy to navigate through. The rear seats offer more space than you'd think. It's almost limo like amount of legroom and headroom. The trunk is generous too in the non-hybrid forms. With the hybrid forms the battery eats up some trunk space but not much.
Equipment: The Lacrosse offers a genrous amount of equipment standard. Climate control, electric fronts seats, touch screen infotainment system and leather wrapped steering wheel come standard. You can option for the 3.6 at no extra charge on the base trim. You'll have to pay extra for leather seats and integrated turn signal indicators on the side view exterior mirrors. Top of the range trim adds Xenon headlamps, all-wheel-drive and keyless start.
Buying & owning: The Lacrosse is on point with the Nissan Maxima and Toyota Avalon. If you stay light on the options list you can get a Lacrosse at a decent price. The 2.4 makes the most sense financially if you want to save money on running cost thanks to the eAssist mild hybrid technology applied to it. Resale value should be strong thanks to strong demand for a Lacrosse.
Quality & safety: The interior feels much more upscale than ever before. This is a step up for GM and Buick. There are a few bits of the cabin that feel sort of been there done that, but the overall impression is very good. Reliability should be good as with most Buick vehicles. Four-wheel anti-lock brakes, frotn and side curtain airbags come standard. You'll have to pay extra for a rear view parking camera and parking assist. An engine immobilizer and anti-theft alarm come standard to keep theft at bay.
The Lacrosse is a major step forward for Buick. It's sylish, roomy and very comfortable to drive as a daily car. It may not offer the sporty drive feel like a Nissan Maxima but it offers a unique driving experience that other cars in this segement don't offer. It's not the most exciting of its rivals but for the money we think that it's worth a strong look.
Likes: Stylish looks inside out. Ultra comfortable ride comfort. Plenty room for five inside.
Dislikes: Bland driving experience. Engine stop/start too eager to shut off engine. Road noise on hybrid models.