During the course of two generations, the Buick LaCrosse has been a large, five-passenger sedan. That's really where the similarities end, though, as they are radically different cars indicative of much different eras for the Buick brand.
The first LaCrosse was the epitome of old Buick, in more ways than one. Bland to look at, blander to drive and with a cabin filled with subpar materials, it was a decade behind the times. Its large size and simple controls at least made it popular among senior car shoppers. The current-generation LaCrosse, however, is a far more modern, stylish and overall impressive automobile that is not only one of the better full-size sedans you can buy, but even gives certain luxury-branded large sedans a run for their money. Regardless of your age, it's definitely worth consideration.
Current Buick LaCrosse
The Buick LaCrosse is a large sedan that blends modern styling and surprisingly accomplished handling with traditional Buick traits like light-effort steering and a cushy ride. The base engine consists of a mild-hybrid setup dubbed "eAssist" that pairs a 2.4-liter 182-horsepower four-cylinder engine with an 11-kilowatt electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack. Fuel mileage estimates for this roomy sedan are impressive, at almost 30 mpg combined. A 3.6-liter V6 with 303 hp is also available. A six-speed automatic is the lone transmission choice either way. Front-wheel drive is standard, though V6 buyers can also opt for all-wheel drive.
There are four trim levels: base, Leather, Premium 1 and Premium 2. Even the base is well equipped, with 17-inch alloy wheels, a power driver seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, OnStar, Bluetooth, a USB/iPod interface and smartphone integration. Moving up through the trims provides an ever-growing standard features list -- a rearview camera, heated and ventilated front seats and xenon headlights among them -- culminating in the Premium 2, which counts 20-inch wheels and a navigation system among its standard niceties. Packages are available that add options that include blind-spot, lane-departure and forward-collision warning systems.
In reviews, we've been impressed by the LaCrosse's appealing dual nature. Those looking for a traditional, plush Buick ride will be pleased. At the same time, so will those looking for a more engaging full-size sedan, as the LaCrosse is surprisingly nimble and sure-footed given its size. It's not a sport sedan, but it is on par with the Lexus ES 350, and gives up nothing in ride comfort. Spirited acceleration makes the 3.6-liter V6 the obvious choice for those who demand some old-fashioned grunt from their big sedan, though the high fuel efficiency of the eAssist powertrain makes its sluggish acceleration a lot easier to tolerate.
The LaCrosse also impresses in non-dynamic respects. The backseat is roomy and comfortable, and the front seats offer firm support that's more German sedan than American land yacht. The dashboard design is sleek and sophisticated, and materials quality is good except for some rough plastic edges and superfluous chrome here and there. Buick's Intellilink electronics control is dominated by a large touchscreen that does a fairly good job of controlling infotainment tasks both simple (changing a radio station) and complicated (entering a navigation destination). One of our few complaints involves the 13-cubic-foot trunk, which is unusually small for this segment. The hybrid's trunk shrinks even more -- down to 10.8 cubic feet -- to accommodate the battery pack.
Read the most recent 2014 Buick LaCrosse review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Buick LaCrosse page.