2012 Buick LaCrosse Review
2012 Buick LaCrosse Review
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Used LaCrosse for sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Elegant interior styling
- smooth and quiet ride
- admirable driving dynamics
- hybrid's respectable fuel economy
- good performance from V6 models
- available all-wheel drive
- top crash-test scores.
- Limited luggage space, especially with eAssist trim
- compromised rearward visibility
- cluttered control layout.
The 2012 Buick LaCrosse gains a new gasoline-electric hybrid model dubbed "eAssist." The only four-cylinder LaCrosse offered, it promises improved fuel economy but with only a modest price increase. Other changes this year include a more powerful V6 engine and a new trim level structure.
With the 2012 LaCrosse, Buick has a fully competitive luxury sedan that doesn't nip at the heels of the big dogs, but instead can now run with the pack.
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Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2012 Buick LaCrosse Premium I Group 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 6A) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.26 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
LaCrosse Premium I Group
Avg. Large Car
For much of the last decade, Buick's sedans held little appeal beyond those consumers still nostalgic about the traditions of this General Motors nameplate. But two years ago, Buick introduced its redesigned -- and much improved -- LaCrosse. Boasting modern styling, an elegant interior and impressive driving dynamics, the LaCrosse quickly became one of our more favored entry-level luxury sedans.
The 2012 Buick LaCrosse gets even better thanks to a new hybrid powertrain. Serving as the LaCrosse's entry-level model (last year's base four-cylinder has been discontinued), the "eAssist" combines a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with a mild hybrid system to boost fuel economy to 25 mpg city and 36 mpg highway. While these numbers are still well shy of what you'll get from the full hybrid Lexus HS 250h, the LaCrosse hybrid is roomier and doesn't come with as big of a price premium either.
Aside from basic variations in trim level, the interior of the 2012 LaCrosse stays the course, meaning you'll find an elegant cabin with sweeping lines and rich surfaces, all set off by the generous use of LED accent lighting. The serene, roomy cabin is filled with useful features and amusing toys ranging from a rearview camera to a dual-screen video entertainment system. In fact, the only significant complaints we have are the small trunk and reduced visibility caused by thick roof pillars.
Even though we're pretty impressed with the LaCrosse, there are a number of strong alternatives we'd suggest buyers also consider, including the Acura TL, Hyundai Genesis and Lexus ES 350. You could also check out the Chrysler 300 and upper trim levels of the Ford Taurus and new Volkswagen Passat. Ultimately deciding among all these likable models becomes a personal decision, but we can tell you the well-rounded 2012 Buick LaCrosse is a fine choice.
Performance & mpg
The 2012 Buick LaCrosse is offered with one of two new engines. For buyers interested in maximizing miles per gallon there's the new eAssist mild hybrid powertrain, which pairs a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with an 11-kilowatt electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack. This setup sends 182 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels by way of a six-speed automatic transmission.
In Edmunds track testing, a LaCrosse with eAssist made the 0-60 mph dash in 9.2 seconds: a rather leisurely performance. Still, this powertrain is about efficiency, not speed; aided by clever aerodynamic improvements like automatically controlled shutters in the front grille, it delivers impressive EPA estimates of 25 mpg city/36 mpg highway and 29 mpg combined.
Buyers in search of additional thrust can opt for a new, more powerful version of last year's 3.6-liter V6 that now puts out 303 hp and 264 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic is the only transmission offered here, but buyers do have a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Despite the added power for 2012, the V6's fuel economy numbers remain virtually unchanged at 17 mpg city/27 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined with front-wheel drive and 16/26/20 with all-wheel drive.
The 2012 Buick LaCrosse's list of standard safety features includes antilock disc brakes with brake assist, stability and traction control, front-seat side-impact airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and the OnStar telematics system. Rear-seat side-impact airbags and a blind-spot alert system are available as options. In Edmunds brake testing, a LaCrosse with the 3.6-liter engine and 19-inch wheels came to a stop from 60 mph in 127 feet -- a bit longer than average. A LaCrosse with eAssist and 17-inch wheels turned in a much stronger performance, stopping from 60 mph in 115 feet. That's excellent for this type of vehicle.
In government crash tests, the LaCrosse scored five (out of a possible five) stars overall, with five stars awarded for both frontal- and side-impact tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave it their top "Good" rating in both frontal-offset and side-impact tests.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the 2012 Buick LaCrosse is the driving experience. The steering feels precise, and handling is significantly better than you'd expect without sacrificing the plush ride quality one expects of a luxury sedan.
The additional horsepower that the engineers have wrung out of the V6 makes this engine even more attractive. More importantly, the new eAssist hybrid powertrain is much better suited to this application than the old four-cylinder, providing decent acceleration, very respectable fuel economy and highly refined operation.
Other items worthy of note here include the quiet interior that adds to the upscale feel. Visibility can be a problem, however, making the available blind-spot warning system and rearview camera worthwhile investments.
Slide behind the steering wheel of the 2012 Buick LaCrosse and you'll find yourself surrounded by an interior made up of graceful curves and upscale materials. Even after the sun sets, the cabin's flowing lines are emphasized by soft blue ambient lighting that adds a classy touch.
If there's a weakness in this artful design, it's that the controls aren't quite as straightforward and intuitive as some traditional Buick buyers might like. Just the same, we think the abundance of buttons and knobs used to control the audio, climate control and navigation systems is something most folks should eventually get used to.
As you'd expect in a luxury sedan, the LaCrosse's cabin is long on comfort. Seats are supportive and there's plenty of leg- and shoulder room even in the backseat. The available heated steering wheel and heated and ventilated front seats are a nice touch.
The LaCrosse's trunk is on the small side, however, with just 13.3 cubic feet of cargo room. Space is even tighter in models equipped with the new eAssist powertrain, where the hybrid battery pack reduces capacity to less than 11 cubic feet. A smallish opening can also make loading larger items problematic.
2012 Buick LaCrosse models
For 2012, Buick has revamped the LaCrosse model lineup, replacing last year's three relatively uncomplicated trim levels with no fewer than seven different variants.
Base models come nicely equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, full power accessories, dual-zone automatic climate control, cloth upholstery, a power driver seat and partial-power front passenger seat, split-folding rear seatbacks, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with audio controls, cruise control, OnStar, Bluetooth, and a seven-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface. Next step up would be the Convenience model (1SD), which adds a power lumbar adjustment for the driver seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and remote ignition.
Spring for the Leather model and you get foglamps, heated mirrors with built-in turn signal repeaters, leather upholstery, heated front seats and a full power front passenger seat. The Premium 1 version adds rear parking assist, an auto-dimming driver-side mirror and driver seat memory settings. The Premium 2 (1SP) ups the ante with the 3.6-liter V6, keyless ignition/entry, perforated leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated leather- and wood-trimmed steering wheel and a power rear window sunshade. A Premium 3 model includes 18-inch chromed alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, a 120-volt household-style power outlet and an 11-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system.
Rounding things out is the top-of-the-line Touring model, which features 19-inch alloy wheels, an adaptive suspension, xenon headlights, a blind spot warning system, a rearview camera, a head-up display, digital music storage and a navigation system.
Some of the features found on the upper trim levels can be added to the lower trims as options. Other notable options include a sunroof, rear side airbags and a rear seat video entertainment system with dual headrest-mounted screens.
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
3.63 out of 5 stars
Having Second Thoughts
2012 Buick LaCrosse Premium I Group 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 6A)
I purchased the 2012 LaCrosse four months ago. The car is so low to the ground that I can't get in and out of my driveway without scraping the front end. The front and side posts plus the high trunk make visability a real issue when driving in heavy traffic. Other features that I don't like is the lock/unlock buttons being on the middle console instead of on the door and the only trunk … unlock is on the key fob. The car performs well enough for a 4 cyl. but I wish I had known about the lack of visability and the drag issues before purchasing. Also, be aware that no spare tire comes with this car. You get a can of Fix-A-Flat. There is a space for it, but no tire.
4.88 out of 5 stars
2012 Buick LaCrosse Premium II Group 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6A)
Love the car in all areas except one problem. When i unlock and get in the car and close the door sometimes the horn will honk 4 times rapidly. Dealer can't find it. I suspect it is a malfunction in thee electrical feed back circuit. Very agrivating, never know when it will honk.
2 out of 5 stars
2012 Buick LaCrosse Premium II Group 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6A)
So updating this after almost 15000 miles on the car. Performance: Acceleration in this is excellent, watch out for the torque steering in this. If you hammer it while even turning slightly like to pass someone it will yank the steering wheel back straight. Fastest stock V6 I have owned bar none. There are a lot of reports on transmission issues with the 2012 and surrounding years. … The way this is geared it's going to shift high especially that 2nd to 3rd shift. When you go from 2nd to 3rd it will literally drop only about 500 rpm. When I bought this it was shifting 4000-5000 RPM on that shift. 3rd to 4th was only slightly lower. This was unacceptable to me. So after fighting with Buick for months (While under factory warranty.) I finally got a significant answer as to how to fix this. These are adaptive transmissions. They learn how you drive. If you take off fast it's going to learn to shift at a higher RPM, which over the long term is not healthy for the engine or the transmission. Eventually I got them to flash the Transmission Control and wipe the memory clean. It took about 2 months for the car to 'learn' my driving style but now it rarely shifts over 3000 rpm. If it does it is because I have it in Manual mode or I've got it floored. Anyone out there having "Transmission problems with their Buick Lacrosse" don't let the dealer tell you this is normal. It takes them about an hour to fix it... In regard to comfort... If you are tall or a big guy/woman getting in and out will be uncomfortable. The way the seat sits even back as far as it goes still puts a significant amount of your legs beyond the front of the door, thus making you pull your legs back and spin in the seat before being able to put your legs on the ground. I cannot count how many times I have smacked my knees on the steering wheel "even with it adjusted as high and far into the dash as possible." The advertisement they do of Shaquille O'Neal sitting comfortably in one of these is so much BS. That said, it has a comfortable sporty ride once you are actually "IN" the car. The interior is decent. I have noticed that some of the chrome 'coating' on some of the accents starts peeling off. I did like the LED highlights in the car, and the leather is supple, soft, and comfortable. As others have posted, the car has some visibility safety issues. Blind spots are a HUGE issue. If you are backing out of a angled parking space, best of luck you're not going to be able to see a vehicle or person approaching. Backing up is difficult in the car period, lane changing requires a full head/body turn to see if someone is near the normal blind spot. A simple though not a thorough fix is to buy 2 stick on blind spot mirrors, and put them up in the top outside corner of your normal mirrors. This helps tremendously in traffic. If you live in the North. THIS IS NOT THE CAR FOR YOU! The traction control on this has to be the worst traction control on any vehicle I have EVER driven. Works wonders on dry pavement. Get in an inch of snow you're not moving. The traction control has a rev-limiter on it. If you can't get traction you are literally dead in the water! Reliability is good overall. I've only had one other significant issue that so far is unresolved in this vehicle. If you read Buick forums they are famous especially during the winter for having the evaporator drain get plugged up. If it's not dealt with immediately it has the potential to get moldy. Evidently mine wasn't dealt with immediately. I've had more problems with a moldy acrid scent when running the heat, it is especially bad when run on recirculate. Once this happens there really is very little you can do. My next step will be replacing the pan itself to see if that will help. Value is about par for the course for a mid sized sedan. The cost is a little above what I think it should have been just based on safety alone. But overall it is pretty economical. The car is E85 capable. Running E85 I average about 22mpg on a 70 mile round trip mixed city/highway driving. On Unleaded with 10% Ethanol I average betwen 24.5 and 25 on the same trip. If you keep this car at 65mph with relatively few stops over long distance it will push out high 20's low 30's mpg.
5 out of 5 stars
Love at first sight, and so far it's been all joy.
2012 Buick LaCrosse Premium II Group 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6A)
I bought the car used with 24400 miles. It rides comfortably and drives as if it were on tracks. The 6 cyl engine delivers power on demand; and it is easy to find oneself speeding without meaning to do so. If you buy the car used, and don't like the shift points, and I didn't, reset the transmission to the factory settings. The cargo space is only adequate. Rear vision would be … next to zero without the rear view camera. Another year on, no problems of any kind. It is a fine, well made car. The reason for the four stars on Safety, is that the roof posts, plus the headrest on the right, create large and dangerous blind spots to the rear of the driver.
2012 Buick LaCrosse Sedan Features & Specs
- Base MSRP
- MPG & Fuel
- 25 City / 36 Hwy / 29 Combined
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 15.7 gal. capacity
- 5 seats
- Type: front wheel drive
- Transmission: 6-speed shiftable automatic
- Inline 4 cylinder
- Horsepower: 182 hp @ 6700 rpm
- Torque: 172 lb-ft @ 4900 rpm
- Basic Warranty
- 4 yr./ 50000 mi.
- Length: 196.9 in. / Height: 59.2 in.
- Overall Width without Mirrors: 73.1 in.
- Curb Weight: 3835 lbs.
- Cargo Capacity, All Seats In Place: 10.8 cu.ft.
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger4 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat4 / 5
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover11.8%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Side Impact TestGood
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood
- IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front TestGood
More about the 2012 Buick LaCrosse
More About This Model
The "eAssist" badge on the 2012 Buick LaCrosse is a quiet announcement that comfort, luxury and roominess can coexist with fuel efficiency.
The LaCrosse, quiet and smooth at highway speeds, not only seats five comfortably but its backseat offers limousinelike legroom. And yet this attractive sedan is capable of attaining 36 mpg on the highway thanks to its mild hybrid system, known as eAssist. The EPA rates the new 2012 Buick LaCrosse at 29 mpg on the combined driving cycle. We, however observed a somewhat lower 24.1 mpg over 700 miles of stop-and-go highway driving.
General Motors has chosen to not trumpet this car's mild hybrid powertrain, a reaction to GM's first use of this technology with several Saturn models, which brought a backlash of negative publicity when fuel economy was boosted by only about 2 mpg. This time around, GM is under-promising even as it is over-delivering by improving the LaCrosse's mpg rating by nearly 25 percent. The eAssist is standard in the 2012 Buick LaCrosse, although a V6 engine is an option. In the 2012 Buick Regal, the eAssist system is available as a $2,000 option.
The LaCrosse starts at $32,440 (our loaded, top-trim test car stickered at almost $38,000) and competes against the powerful, rear-wheel-drive 2012 Hyundai Genesis or the refined and more expensive 2012 Lexus ES 350. Shoppers set on getting a hybrid should also look at the 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, which gets even better fuel efficiency.
Used 2012 Buick LaCrosse Overview
The Used 2012 Buick LaCrosse is offered in the following submodels: LaCrosse Sedan, LaCrosse Hybrid. Available styles include Premium I Group 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 6A), Leather Group 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 6A), Premium II Group 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6A), Premium III Group 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6A), Touring Group 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6A), Convenience Group 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 6A), Premium I Group 4dr Sedan AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A), 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 6A), Premium II Group 4dr Sedan AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A), and Leather Group 4dr Sedan AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A). Pre-owned Buick LaCrosse models are available with a 2.4 L-liter hybrid engine or a 3.6 L-liter flex-fuel (FFV) engine, with output up to 303 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2012 Buick LaCrosse comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2012 Buick LaCrosse comes with a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a 5 yr./ 100000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 100000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a Used 2012 Buick LaCrosse?
Price comparisons for Used 2012 Buick LaCrosse trim styles:
- The Used 2012 Buick LaCrosse Premium I Group is priced between $15,990 and$19,998 with odometer readings between 23174 and88318 miles.
- The Used 2012 Buick LaCrosse Premium II Group is priced between $14,990 and$20,998 with odometer readings between 27972 and97268 miles.
- The Used 2012 Buick LaCrosse Leather Group is priced between $14,590 and$17,998 with odometer readings between 61540 and91406 miles.
- The Used 2012 Buick LaCrosse Premium III Group is priced between $14,990 and$19,990 with odometer readings between 24449 and85584 miles.
- The Used 2012 Buick LaCrosse Touring Group is priced between $17,990 and$17,990 with odometer readings between 53674 and53674 miles.
Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.
Which used 2012 Buick LaCrosses are available in my area?
Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2012 Buick LaCrosse for sale near. There are currently 17 used and CPO 2012 LaCrosses listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $14,590 and mileage as low as 23174 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2012 Buick LaCrosse.
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Should I lease or buy a 2012 Buick LaCrosse?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.