Used 2006 Buick Lucerne
Replacing the aging LeSabre and Park Avenue is a new full-size sedan called the Buick Lucerne. Based on the Cadillac DTS platform, the Lucerne seats up to six and can be equipped with GM's Northstar V8.
- Extremely quiet and comfortable ride, available V8 engine, supportive front seats, huge backseat, easy-to-operate controls.
- Subpar brakes, sluggish handling on CX and CXL models, weak V6 for this class, lacks expected convenience, luxury and safety features, inconsistent build quality.
Used 2006 Buick Lucerne for Sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
With fewer features and weaker performance than either Toyota's Avalon or Hyundai's Azera, the 2006 Buick Lucerne is outmatched among full-size sedans. If all you want is a roomy, quiet car with a V8, it's worth a look, but most buyers will be better served by its more capable competitors.
So long, LeSabre and Park Avenue. Hello, Lucerne. Named after the elegant Swiss town, the Buick Lucerne is all-new for 2006. It's Buick's biggest car and can comfortably seat five adults. And though it lacks the grand name recognition of the now discontinued LeSabre and Park Avenue, the Lucerne is a welcome improvement in just about every other regard.
This newest Buick car is built at the same General Motors plant that produces the '06 Cadillac DTS, an updated version of the outgoing DeVille. The cars ride on the same length wheelbase, though the Buick Lucerne is about 4 inches shorter overall. The Lucerne's association with the DTS proves particularly beneficial in terms of powertrain. After about a decade-long drought, a V8 engine finds its way back into the Buick lineup. Available on the CXL trim and standard on the CXS, the 4.6-liter Northstar DOHC V8 cranks out 275 and 290 lb-ft of torque. As a base engine for the CX and CXL, Buick offers General Motors' tried-and-true 3.8-liter OHV V6. In this application, it's rated at 197 hp and 227 lb-ft of torque.
The Buick Lucerne also shares a couple other features with the DTS, including the Magnetic Ride Control (MRC) suspension. This is an automatically adjustable suspension damping system that's standard equipment on the CXS trim. MRC can quickly react to road conditions and driving style by altering the firmness of the shock damping. For normal driving the damping is kept soft for a comfortable ride. MRC reacts to sportier driving with firmer damping.
Buick styled the Lucerne to have a clean and attractive look. It's nothing too exciting, though the rear fascia resembles that of the 2006 Passat while front-fender portholes provide a subtle link to Buick cars of decades past (V6 models have three portholes, V8s have four). On the move, the Buick Lucerne is very quiet thanks to its "QuietTuning" initiative, which features dedicated engineering adjustments that reduce road, engine and wind noise. Ride quality is plush, while handling is unexpectedly agile for a large Buick car. The Lucerne does come up short in a few unexpected areas, however. Though standard features are plenty, common near luxury items like full one-touch windows, a split fold-down rear seat and either a telescoping steering wheel or power-adjustable pedals aren't available. Nor are HID headlights, adaptive cruise control or Bluetooth wireless capability.
Overall, the 2006 Buick Lucerne is a capable package and fares well when compared to similarly priced competitors. It doesn't match the refinement and polish of the Toyotas or the Volkswagen, nor is it a performance equal of the rear-drive Chrysler 300C, but the Buick Lucerne counters with likable driving dynamics, an exceptionally serene cabin, and a less expensive price. We recommend that shoppers looking for a large sedan in 2006 take a look at Buick's latest big car offering.
trim levels & features
The full-size Buick Lucerne sedan is available in three trim levels: CX, CXL and CXS. The CX comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, power windows and mirrors, a six-way power driver seat, a CD player and steering wheel-mounted audio controls. The CXL adds 17-inch wheels, heated outside mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, leather upholstery, a power passenger seat, dual-zone automatic climate control and an MP3-capable stereo with an auxiliary audio jack. This trim also provides access to additional optional equipment like heated and cooled seats and heated windshield washer fluid. The top-line CXS has all the CXL luxuries along with driver-seat memory, a 280-watt Harman Kardon audio system, satellite radio, 18-inch wheels and a Magnetic Ride Control suspension. Options on all Lucernes include an in-dash CD changer, a remote vehicle-start feature and rear park assist. A navigation system will be available midyear.
performance & mpg
Two engines are available for the Buick Lucerne. The CX trim comes with a 3.8-liter V6 that provides 197 horsepower and 227 lb-ft of torque. Available on the CXL and standard on the CXS is a 4.6-liter V8. It's rated at 275 hp and 290 lb-ft of torque. Both engines send their power to the front wheels through a four-speed automatic transmission.
Standard safety equipment includes OnStar, antilock four-wheel disc brakes, traction control, front side-impact airbags and head-protecting side curtain airbags for all outboard passengers. Stability control and BrakeAssist are standard on the CXS, optional for V8-equipped CXL models and not available on V6-equipped models. Lucernes with the front bench seat have a two-point belt for the center position. In NHTSA crash tests, the Buick Lucerne received a five-star rating (out of a possible five) for its protection of the driver and front passenger in frontal impacts. A four-star rating was given for side-impact protection of front and rear occupants.
A plush, serene ride is the top priority for the 2006 Buick Lucerne. Handling is not a strength of the softly tuned CX and CXL styles, which exhibit considerable body roll during cornering. The high-line CXS model is fairly nimble through turns, though thanks to its Magnetic Ride Control suspension. The steering feels wobbly on-center in CX and V6-equipped CXL models, so upgrading to the variable-assist Magnasteer setup available on the CXL V8 and CXS is a good idea if you can afford it. The brakes are the weakest aspect of the Lucerne's driving dynamics. Pedal feel is fine in everyday traffic, but in emergency situations, stopping distances are the longest of any full-size sedan in this price range. The base V6 engine delivers adequate acceleration but is down on horsepower for this class. The V8 provides brisk response and gets the Lucerne to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds. This is a respectable time, though V6-equipped competitors like the Avalon and Azera are quicker still.
The Lucerne's interior is cleanly styled, and the control layout is simple and organized. The leather upholstery is soft, and designers took care to match the grain patterns of the vinyls and plastics used on the dash and doors. Unfortunately, there are still a few low-grade materials thrown into the mix and build quality is inconsistent. Front seating is typically for two but a 40/20/40-split bench seat can be ordered for the CX and CXL. So done, the Lucerne can seat six. Cushioning and legroom are abundant whether you're seated in the front or back. The trunk holds up to 17 cubic feet of cargo. In addition to the folding rear seats, there is a ski pass-through.
Features & Specs
More About This Model
Three things you didn't know about Buick: Buick General Manager Steve Shannon's weekend car is a 1961 Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Arianna Kalian, line manager for the Buick Lucerne, grows organic tomatoes in her garden. And the 2006 Buick Lucerne is fun to drive.
That's right. Fun. And we didn't drive it at sightseeing pace, either. Instead, we hustled this full-size, front-drive sedan along some of the twistiest two-lanes in central California and found it up to the challenge.
Predictably, the Lucerne is also comfortable, quiet and secure. Its seats are wide and accommodating. And its controls are large and simple to use. But for the first time in a long time, Buick has built a large sedan that will appeal to buyers in their late 30s as readily as it will to those in their early 60s. We liked it and we're decades away from collecting a Social Security check.
One for Two
A replacement for the Everyman's LeSabre and the upscale Park Avenue, the Lucerne represents a change in strategy for Buick. For years, GM's conservative upscale division was content to offer a low-cost alternative to the expertly packaged, wonderfully refined Toyota Avalon, a car often described as "Toyota's better Buick." But Buick's engineers didn't build the Lucerne to be an alternative, they built it to be an equal.
"The Lucerne helps us address the two reasons why people might not consider a Buick," says Shannon. "One is quality. And two is the idea that American cars have low technology."
Upgraded interior materials and tighter gap tolerances should satisfy buyers on the quality front, he notes, while features like GM's double-overhead-cam Northstar V8, Magnetic Ride Control suspension, dual-depth front airbags, a nine-speaker Harman Kardon stereo, heated and cooled seats, heated windshield washer fluid and a smarter stability control system should be enough to convince them that Buick has moved beyond the age of the Commodore 64.
Exterior styling might do it, too. The Lucerne, which is about 6 inches longer than the Toyota Avalon, isn't a retro revival like the Chrysler 300, but it departs from the sleepy lines of the Park Avenue and LeSabre. Portholes on the front-quarter panels are the only throwback cue: V6-equipped Lucernes have three on either side, V8s have four.
Trim levels cover a wide range. The base CX gets you in the door for $27K and provides a 197-hp, 3.8-liter V6; 16-inch alloy wheels; cloth upholstery; a six-way power driver seat; a CD player; full power accessories; front-seat side airbags; full-length side curtain airbags; and OnStar. The Lucerne is also the only car in its class other than Cadillac's DTS to offer front airbags with two deployment sizes. Sensors monitor crash severity, occupant weight, seatbelt usage and seat position to determine the optimal airbag inflation size. Front bucket seats are standard; a 40/20/40-split front bench is a $250 option.
Opt for the midlevel CXL and 17-inch wheels, leather upholstery, a power passenger seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, MP3-capable stereo with an auxiliary audio jack (think iPod) and rain-sensing wipers are included, plus you get your choice of the V6 or the 275-hp, 4.6-liter V8. And for a hair under $36K, there's the CXS, which has the V8 standard along with 18s, Magnetic Ride Control, stability control, the Harman Kardon stereo and seat memory.
New, but Not Totally New
Despite its new name, new look and new features, the Lucerne is not a ground-up redesign. It rides on the same platform as the Cadillac DTS, and even shares that model's 115.6-inch wheelbase.
The two also share the same fully independent suspension, with struts in front and semitrailing arms in back, but the tuning is different. "The DTS is tuned to be a bit more aggressive, a bit edgier," Vehicle Performance Manager Bill Peterson explains. "On the Lucerne we didn't want to sacrifice isolation."
Front and rear stabilizer bars are standard on all Lucernes. Spring rates are the same on all trim levels, but the damping and bushing rates differ. The CX gets twin-tube shocks all around, while the CXL upgrades to monotube rear shocks, which Peterson says improve wheel control without compromising ride quality.
In keeping with its sportier mission, the CXS has the semiactive Magnetic Ride Control dampers. The fluid in these shocks contains magnetically charged particles that continually adjust the fluid's viscosity to respond to road conditions and vehicle loads quicker than conventional shocks.
Steering is also quicker than it was on the LeSabre and Park Avenue, with a 15.1-to-1 ratio on V6 models with a traditional hydraulic rack and pinion setup and a 14.2-to-1 ratio on V8 models, which have GM's Magnasteer variable-assist setup. The Lucerne also has larger brake rotors than its forebears, and V8 models equipped with stability control include BrakeAssist, which maximizes brake pressure in emergency situations.
Drives With Purpose
Acceleration won't overwhelm you, but with 227 pound-feet of torque available at 3,800 rpm, the iron-block 3800 V6, which has been around since knickers were in style, rarely comes up short. An alert four-speed automatic transmission is standard, and zero to 60 mph takes 9.5 seconds, according to Buick. Power delivery is reasonably refined despite the engine's old-tech design, while fuel economy is above average at 19 mpg city/28 mpg highway.
Response from the all-aluminum V8 is brisk off the line, and the engine sounds great under full throttle. We aren't as delighted with its midrange response, however — surprising with 295 lb-ft of torque on tap. We suspect it has something to do with the fact that the V8, too, is paired with a four-speed auto. Now that we've experienced the Northstar in the rear-drive Cadillac STS with a closer-ratio five-speed automatic, acceleration seems a little soft in this front-drive sedan with a four-speed. Besides that, the high-output version of the Northstar, which makes 291 hp in the DTS, is not available on the Lucerne, as GM has decided to keep it a Caddy exclusive. Nevertheless, Buick quoted us a 7.6-second 0-60 time, a respectable number for a 4,000-pound car. Fuel economy rates 17 city/25 highway.
Extra power aside, the main reason to get a V8 Lucerne is because the steering feels wobbly on-center in V6 models, sullying an otherwise enjoyable driving experience.
We didn't get to sample the base CX model, but the CXL delivers a downright plush highway ride with minimal float over bumps. Although the midlevel Lucerne also exhibits a fair amount of body roll, it responds predictably to driver input. Choose the CXL V8 and these reflexes are complemented by firm steering that's responsive on- and off-center. We were even more impressed by the CXS, which rolls less through the turns and provides a better connection to the road. It's not as nimble as Shannon's little Alfa, but for a two-ton front-driver, it's surprisingly composed. Ride quality is a tad less plush in the CXS but still very comfortable.
Quiet and Inviting Interior
Simple but attractive, the Lucerne's interior design feels much more modern than that of the LeSabre or Park Avenue. A console-mounted shifter and a sleeker dash with individual gauge pods provide aesthetic improvements, while GM's new audio and climate controls look better and are much easier to use.
Materials quality is a step or two behind the Avalon, but this is still one of the best efforts we've seen from GM to date. The leather upholstery looks and feels the way leather should, and designers took care to match the grain patterns on the dash, doors and console. There's even cloth trim on the A-pillars. Unappealing vinyl on the steering wheel hub and brittle plastic on the console are among our few complaints.
Buick's comprehensive QuietTuning measures, which even include the design of the windshield wipers, have resulted in some of the lowest noise levels we've ever experienced at highway speeds.
Amidst the serenity, Kalian tells us the front seats were benchmarked against the Lexus ES 330's, and we're not surprised as they're both luxurious and supportive enough to keep us content for two-hour stints. The driving position is perfect for someone with a 5-foot-10 frame, though we're dismayed to learn that Buick won't be offering adjustable pedals or a telescoping steering wheel.
Cushioning and legroom are equally abundant in the backseat. Yet, we're puzzled by the absence of adjustable head restraints.
Not Quite Complete, but Likable
As satisfying as the Lucerne is to drive, we can't help but notice a few holes in its equipment list. A navigation system will join the options list midyear, but you can't get xenon headlights, adaptive cruise control or Bluetooth wireless capability, all of which are available on the Avalon. Add to this the lack of a five-speed automatic and telescoping steering wheel, both standard items on the Toyota, as well as on the Chrysler 300 and Hyundai Azera, and it seems Buick's product planners may not know their buyers as well as they think they do.
Missing features aside, the 2006 Buick Lucerne is far and away the best car in Buick's lineup. It's roomy, quiet, comfortable and surprisingly entertaining to drive. It's also ready to take on the Avalon.
Used 2006 Buick Lucerne Overview
The Used 2006 Buick Lucerne is offered in the following submodels: . Available styles include CXL V6 4dr Sedan (3.8L 6cyl 4A), CX 4dr Sedan (3.8L 6cyl 4A), CXS 4dr Sedan (4.6L 8cyl 4A), and CXL V8 4dr Sedan (4.6L 8cyl 4A).
What's a good price on a Used 2006 Buick Lucerne?
Price comparisons for Used 2006 Buick Lucerne trim styles:
- The Used 2006 Buick Lucerne CXL is priced between $2,800 and $7,950 with odometer readings between 42954 and 197635 miles.
- The Used 2006 Buick Lucerne CX is priced between $7,495 and $7,495 with odometer readings between 98884 and 98884 miles.
- The Used 2006 Buick Lucerne CXS is priced between $8,224 and $8,224 with odometer readings between 35511 and 35511 miles.
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