2011 Buick LaCrosse Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2011 Buick LaCrosse Sedan

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Buick LaCrosse Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.6 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 280 hp @ 6300 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 17/27 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2011 Buick LaCrosse

  • With the 2011 LaCrosse, Buick has a fully competitive luxury sedan that doesn't nip at the heels of the big dogs, but instead runs with the pack.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Elegant interior styling; smooth and quiet ride; admirable driving dynamics; good performance from V6 models; available all-wheel drive.

  • Cons

    Underpowered four-cylinder engine; lack of rearward visibility; limited luggage space.

  • What's New for 2011

    For 2011, the Buick LaCrosse discontinues the 3.0-liter V6 and gains six free months of OnStar's Directions and Connections plan. Also, the four-cylinder model gets a new electric-assist power steering system.

Full 2011 Buick LaCrosse Review

What's New for 2011

For 2011, the Buick LaCrosse discontinues the 3.0-liter V6 and gains six free months of OnStar's Directions and Connections plan. Also, the four-cylinder model gets a new electric-assist power steering system.


Redesigned last year, the Buick LaCrosse has ushered in a new era for Buick, one that emphasizes modernity and efficiency. This midsize sedan's handsome styling perfectly balances traditional Buick cues like the vertical bars of the grille and the swooping character line of the body with thoroughly contemporary detailing. And the car's elegant appearance is accompanied by surprisingly adept driving dynamics. It's enough to make you forget all about the nautical-size luxo-barges in that big book of Buick history on your coffee table.

The 2011 Buick LaCrosse has pared down its engine choices this year, as the 255-horsepower 3.0-liter V6 has been discontinued while the 182-hp 2.4-liter inline-4 and the 280-hp 3.6-liter V6 go forward. Models with the four-cylinder get a new, electric-assist power steering system to prepare for a future hybrid powertrain.

Few cars from GM look as right for the future as this one, yet there are consequences, as the four-cylinder engine is overtaxed by the package's 3,800 pounds, while the thick roof pillars restrict rearward visibility (the optional rear parking assist is a must for this car).

Overall, we're impressed by the 2011 Buick LaCrosse. Of course there are other good choices in this segment, such as the 2011 Acura TL, 2011 Ford Taurus, 2011 Hyundai Genesis and 2011 Lexus ES 350, and it could come down to what style or driving characteristics suits you best. But with its combination of classy looks, quality construction and solid driving dynamics, the LaCrosse is writing a new, more memorable chapter in that coffee-table book of Buick history.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2011 Buick LaCrosse is offered in three trim levels: CX, CXL and CXS.

The base CX includes 17-inch steel wheels, a power driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with audio controls, full power accessories, OnStar and a seven-speaker audio system with a CD/MP3 player, an auxiliary audio jack and satellite radio. Options for the CX include 17-inch alloy wheels and a Comfort and Convenience package that includes dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming mirror, Bluetooth, power lumbar adjustment for the driver seat, a power front passenger seat and remote engine start. A premium 11-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system with an iPod/USB interface is also available.

Stepping up to the CXL nets all of the standard and optional CX equipment plus 18-inch alloy wheels, foglamps, heated mirrors, heated front seats and leather upholstery. Available on the CXL is another Comfort and Convenience package that includes rear parking sensors, driver memory settings and auto-dimming sideview mirrors. A Driver Confidence package includes adaptive xenon headlights, a blind-spot warning system and a head-up display. There's also the optional Luxury package that includes a heated leather/wood-grain steering wheel, ventilated front seats, a power rear sunshade and keyless ignition/entry.

Individual option highlights include a sunroof, chrome wheels, a navigation system (with rearview camera and digital music storage), a rear seat entertainment system (with dual display screens) and the Harman Kardon audio system.

The CXS trim level includes 19-inch alloy wheels and everything above except the navigation system, power sunroof, Driver Confidence package and rear entertainment system, which all remain optional. A Touring package is optional for the CXS and includes different 19-inch wheels and adaptive shock absorbers.

Powertrains and Performance

For CX and CXL trims, a 2.4-liter inline-4 with 182 hp and 172 pound-feet of torque is the standard engine. Optional is a 3.6-liter V6 that churns out 280 hp and 259 lb-ft of torque. The CXL is available in either front- or all-wheel drive -- a plus for those in snowy climates. The CXS is only available with front-wheel drive and comes with the V6, as does the AWD version of the CXL. All LaCrosse models feature a six-speed automatic transmission.

In our instrumented testing, a LaCrosse with the 3.6-liter engine accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds -- respectably quick, although still about a second slower than a few rivals such as the Acura TL and Hyundai Genesis. EPA fuel economy estimates stand at 19 mpg city/30 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined for the four-cylinder LaCrosse and 17/27/20 for the V6. The AWD version rates 16/26/20.


The 2011 Buick LaCrosse features standard front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, OnStar communications, stability and traction control, and antilock disc brakes with brake assist. Rear-seat side airbags are also available as an option. In Edmunds brake testing, a LaCrosse CXS came to a stop from 60 mph in 127 feet -- a bit longer than average.

The LaCrosse has not been rated using the government's new, more strenuous 2011 crash testing procedures. According to 2010 ratings (which aren't directly comparable to the new ones) the LaCrosse scored five (out of five) stars in all frontal- and side-impact tests. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the Buick scored "Good" ratings (the highest possible) in that agency's frontal-offset and side-impact tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The 2011 Buick LaCrosse boasts an elegant and contemporary interior. The front seats are enveloped by a graceful dashboard arc that stretches from door to door, and the tastefully integrated simulated wood accents contribute to the decidedly upscale feel. At night, passengers are bathed in a soothing blue glow from the ambient lighting. The center stack controls are certainly more complicated than the simple controls found in past Buicks, but operation of the audio, climate control and navigation systems should be easy enough to decipher for those used to more modern cars and electronics.

Despite its generous cabin space, cargo capacity measures just 13 cubic feet, significantly smaller than the trunks of competing sedans. The trunk is fairly deep, but the lack of height and width may be problematic for bulky items.

Driving Impressions

From the driver seat, the 2011 Buick LaCrosse exhibits an enjoyable blend of luxury and engagement. The cabin remains blissfully quiet without becoming a sensory deprivation chamber, as there's just enough wind and road noise to remind you that you're not sitting on your couch. Considering all the nautical Buicks of the past, the LaCrosse's handling ability is a surprise. The car responds confidently to inputs and is certainly more engaging to drive than the Lexus ES 350. Rear visibility, however, is compromised by the car's high rear deck and thick roof pillars.

As for power, the 3.6-liter V6 is the obvious choice. We'd steer clear of the four-cylinder engine, as it's overtaxed by this car's substantial weight and has to work so hard that real-world gas mileage will likely suffer.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

75,000 miles and counting...

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Vehicle: 2011 Buick LaCrosse CXL 4dr Sedan AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

My 2011 model is not listed in Edmunds, an obvious oversite - Mine is a automatic FWD 3.6v engine/transmission - not the AWL. I drive about 50k per year - I have not had any issues at all. I purchased with 23.5 k Miles - had a weather strip replaced at purchase time. At 65 mph, I get about 29mpg, at 72 mph, about 26mpg. So far, I have not had to replace a thing. I did have engine light turn on- I am in harsh weather, and the sensor for misfire of a cylinder is really sensitive - this happened only once - I reset it and havent seen it in 15k miles sense.

3 of 10 people found this review helpful

Doa-dead on arrival

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Vehicle: 2011 Buick LaCrosse CXL 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

On November 8, 2012, I received a call that my father was gravely ill. I packed up my car and headed out of town. Needless to say the week before I took the car to the dealership because I felt there was something going on with my Buick. I have had the car for 1 full year, bought it as a Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle. 2 months into my purchase. the car stopped on me and would not drive forward(Transmission Done)Almost 1 year later as we were about 1 hour into our 5 hour drive to visit my gravely ill father. My Buick literally died on me. It said "Reduced Engine Power". The car died on me. My father died and my Buick let me down on my drive to see him

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Car makes a loud noise

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Vehicle: 2011 Buick LaCrosse CXL 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A)

I bought my 2011 buick lacrosse last year. I'm very dissatisfied,,, this car has been to the dealership three times already. The car makes a loud annoying sound immediately after starting it. It has stalled on me several times and at times doesn't seems to be able to get enough power to make it go.. This will be my first and last Buick. Looks can definetely be deceiving

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

Lacrosse lemon

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Vehicle: 2011 Buick LaCrosse CXS 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

I purchased a new LaCrosse for $44,000 and are having major safety problems. The power steering has been worked on and replaced numerous times and is still making noises. The exhaust system had to be replaced after numerous times at Crown Buick and finally was replaced at 3 months. The car will not start intermittently. This has happened on numerous occasions and the service department manager nor the mechanics can fix this. The trunk pops open while driving and the latch was replaced. Crown Buick and GM are aware of these ongoing problems. GM offered to replace the vehicle but has not done so to date. The car has less than 5,000 miles. I am a prisoner to my home because of this car.

2 of 7 people found this review helpful

This is not your father's

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Vehicle: 2011 Buick LaCrosse CXS 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

I was in the market for an entry level luxury car and was looking seriously at Lexus, Chrysler 300, Acura, KIA, etc... Every review kept pointing me to this car so I had to take the plunge and buy a 2011 CXL. From the minute I got in the car to the moment I turned off the ignition I knew that this car was everything Buick talks about with regard to the refinement that they have built into this car. I am an electrical engineer which means I am very analytical and I appreciate good engineering. This car is an absolute engineering marvel. The exterior is superb in design, the interior is luxurious and roomy, the V-6 Engine is very powerful and the sound system is top notch. No Complaints!

17 of 22 people found this review helpful

Attention to detail lacking....

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Vehicle: 2011 Buick LaCrosse CXS 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

I had this car as a long term rental and put several thousand miles on it. I am a previous Lexus & Cadillac owner. This car drives as well as the car it copied (Lexus LS 350). It is surprisingly quiet for an American car (on par with Lexus). The ride is also quite good over smooth pavement and acceptable on the rough stuff. The little things get annoying very quickly (see improvements). I wouldn't buy one of these new but I would consider one with low miles and a great price on the used market. The reliability ratings for the Buick brand have been above average which may inspire confidence. Set the bar higher Buick pay attention to the details.

Talk About The 2011 LaCrosse

2011 Buick LaCrosse Discussions See all Started By

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Gas Mileage


  • 17
  • cty
  • 27
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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