Track Tested: 2010 Buick LaCrosse CXL 3.0


Try to forget the awful commercials for the 2010 Buick LaCrosse for a moment. As ill-conceived as those pathetic attempts to make Buick look cool may have been, the car doesn't really need that much help. It's not the best-looking sedan Buick has ever made, but it's not ugly either and it has some good hardware under the skin.

In this case, our CXL tester was powered by the base 3.0-liter V6 and a six-speed automatic transmission. With 255 horsepower, it's a pretty stout engine, but it did have 2 tons of sedan to move. A standard set of 18-inch wheels and tires helped, too, but the all-season tread left a little on the table when it came to the handling tests.

Of course we're aware that the track is the last place you would ever find a 21st-century Buick, but it did better than you might think. Click through to read all the details.

Vehicle: 2010 Buick LaCrosse CXL
Odometer: N/A
Date: 07/28/2009
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $32,090

Drive Type: Front-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed automatic with manual gate
Engine Type: V6
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 2,994 (183 cu-in)
Redline (rpm): 6,900
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 255 @ 6,900
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 217 @ 5,100
Brake Type (front): Ventilated disc
Brake Type (rear): Solid disc
Steering System: Speed-proportional hydraulic power steering
Suspension Type (front): Independent, MacPherson struts, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent, multilink, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): 235/50R18 97V
Tire Size (rear):  235/50R18 97V
Tire Brand:  Michelin
Tire Model: Pilot HxMxM4
Tire Type: All-season
Wheel Size: N/A
Wheel Material (front/rear): Aluminum alloy
As-tested Curb Weight (lb): 4,035

Test Results:
0-30 (sec): 3.5
0-45 (sec): 5.6
0-60 (sec): 8.4
0-75 (sec): 12.8
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 16.4 @ 86.0
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 8.1
30-0 (ft):  32
60-0 (ft): 127
Braking Rating: Good
Slalom (mph): 62.4
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.81
Handling Rating:  Good
Db @ Idle:  42.8
Db @ Full Throttle: 74.2
Db @ 70 mph Cruise:  67.1

Acceleration Comments: Very quiet at idle and while running through the gears. Obviously smoothness and fuel-efficiency were the goals here -- not acceleration. Gearshifts are smooth and there don't appear to be any dead spots in the rev range.

Braking Comments: Noticeable idle-stroke (an inch or two) but the brakes are otherwise intuitive and progressive. Powerful and fade-resistant, with zero ABS flutter/hum/vibration. Dead straight with minimal-to-moderate pitch.

Handling Comments: Skid pad: A familiar and intuitive hydraulic feel. Good load-up without unnecessary added weight. Early-onset stability system chops throttle, but when it's shut off, the LaCrosse has good balance and control. Minimal understeer at the limit. Slalom: The car turns in crisply, but the steering ratio feels a little slow. The chassis takes a set quickly and is not caught on its heels in the transitions either. Precise steering enables the driver to place the car close to the cones. Eventually, mild understeer limits the car's speed. With VCS on, it's still capable and only dabs the brakes to make early/small corrections to heading. Nicely tuned VSC.