By on August 20, 2009

The last four years were rough sailing for Buick’s flagship having traded its swank Park Avenue home for an understated Swiss bungalow. While its Enclave sibling received a halfhearted Presidential endorsement, Lucerne has been told gently that it has no place in Buick’s future. But you don’t need to be Jim Dollinger to see the silver lining in the Lucerne Super: it stands in sharp contrast to Buick’s confusing dalliances with European chassis and a variety of puny powertrains. Perhaps the 2009 Lucerne Super is more than a Buick. It’s the last stand for what was right with the brand.

The Super is no slouch in the sheetmetal department, considering the Lucerne’s basic goodness has aged well. A redesigned front with a lower, meaner chevron-shaped grille walks the fine line between obnoxious Americana and contemporary Euro-flair. The fast C-pillar with a tastefully understated tail looks good enough to find their way on the Chevy Malibu. And while “Super” specific badging, unique 18″ wheels and distinctive portholes round out the package, the Lucerne does what we expect from Buicks: play second fiddle to Cadillac. And does it with gusto.

But wait a moment: this flagship’s interior has an inferiority complex in this price point or next to a Chevy Malibu. The dashboard’s lower hemisphere is work-truck grade rubbish, further punished by its uncanny resemblance to same part in the Chevy Impala. The Lucerne Super gets a “dash” of faux-aluminum paint around the impressive Harmon Kardon-tuned stereo, but the real upgrades come from a dash top stitched with leather-like trimmings and blessed with Alcantara-ish accents on the seats and doors. Too bad the Super’s extra touches couldn’t dress up that tasteless console and thrift store roll-top door: it’s a sad state of affairs when a Hyundai (Genesis) absolutely tramples a Buick in the luxury and refinement department.

That’s not to say that all is lost, the Lucerne Super has excellent seating for five, gadgets aplenty and a rich wood-rimmed wheel that feels substantial to the touch. Did I mention gadgets? XM Nav traffic, OnStar turn-by-turn guidance, Bluetooth, MP3 adaptability, heated/cooled seats and a heated steering wheel are the textbook definition of pure luxury ingredients for the near-luxury market.

If the Lucerne Super sounds like a compromised but obscurely appealing package from a brand normally associated with pure vanilla nothingness, you’re ready to take the Super for a spin. Buick took the outgoing Lucerne CXS’ dynamic shortcomings and did their best to make a less corner-averse package. Considering the curious starting point of a 4000 lb platform driving the wrong set of wheels though, the challenge is obvious.

The Super starts things off right with 17 more Northstar-bred horses in play. The Lucerne Super’s beautifully vulgar V8 has a hair-raising tenor, pulling harder to redline than the outgoing CXS, even with the four-speed slush box losing mucho revs between shifts. Maybe it’s the loss of 7 lb·ft of torque, but the Last of the Great V8 Buicks feels less likely to torque steer in all but the hardest maneuvers. Fuel mileage and horsepower figures be damned, the Northstar V8 cannot be replaced by GM’s “high-content” 3.6L six pot. Sonically speaking, it’s simply that rewarding at full throttle.

But things get serious when the road takes a turn for the better. And the Lucerne Super handles it with surprising authority: revised springs, a thicker front anti-sway bar and communicative steering rack (with more on-center feel) mate with Delphi’s absolutely sublime Magnaride system for a composed and borderline entertaining corner carver at less than Baruthian speeds. Push harder and there’s an oxcart full of front plow, with little body roll thanks to Magnaride’s magnetic magic.

Braking on such a compliant suspension means there’s more heart attack inducing dive in a panic stop: a genuine concern given the Lucerne’s demographic. Buick’s lane departure and blind spot warning systems keep Octogenarians cool and calm, but their annoyance level makes both gadgets useless outside the realm of pure Interstate travel.

So the Lucerne Super isn’t a credible threat to foreign competitors, but the geeky and ferocious behavior only paints a rich tapestry about this muscular Buick’s persona. The ride is stellar and amazingly quiet at part throttle, easily unseating a comparable Lexus ES: Quiet Tuning über alles, baby.

But what fails the Lucerne Super is the base model: pushrod-V6 Lucernes with even worse interior bits make sure the $45,000 Super is a tough sell. And the Super still straddles the uncomfortable ground between land yacht and sports tourer, but that gray area is now more rewarding.

Too bad the rethought, reincarnated Super cannot overcome the inertia of GM’s incompetence: shameful considering this brand once stood for building “Premium American Motorcars.” Hopefully Buick survives world-car synergies long enough to make a proper Lucerne replacement. If not, here’s a tribute to better days even if they weren’t that great to start.

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74 Comments on “Review: 2009 Buick Lucerne Super...”


  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    I wonder if anyone else thought the Lucerne was a blatant ripoff of the 2002-2005 Infiniti Q45?

    I did have an interest in the car when it first come out, and FWD is no liability in my books, but I couldn’t get passed the uncompetitive 4 speed automatic, no telescopic steering (at the time), and blue instrumentation.

  • avatar
    dwford

    I’ve always liked the look of the Lucerne. Pity the crappy interior and old school 4 speed automatic.

    And now the whole package looks especially bad compared to the LaCrosse.

  • avatar
    86er

    The Buick Roadmaster, last built in 1996, was in many respects a clumsy, oafish, ugly thing.

    But I look at this Lucerne and I still want GM to bring it back. What’s wrong with that picture?

  • avatar
    dcdriver

    My grandfather always and still does drive Buicks. The older ones’ (80’s through early 2000’s) exterior didn’t appeal to me at all, but I always liked the those interiors. Now it’s the opposite. The newer ones, Lacrosse, Lucerne and Enclave look really good on the outside, but the interiors are disappointing. I haven’t been in the new Lacrosse yet, however.

  • avatar
    LennyZ

    This is their latest model design! Sounds like the perfect car for the Sansabelt/suspenders crowd. Biggest asset is its quietness and compliant suspension that isolates you from any driving experience. This is the same car that GM has been building for decades. Maybe there is still a market for this car. The same customers who buy white shoes. What a stogy old fashion design.

  • avatar
    Johnny Canada

    “..having traded its swank Park Avenue home for an understated Swiss bungalow.”

    Brilliant.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    I can’t get past the name. Lucerne is the store brand of cottage cheese I buy at Safeway. Why would I want that name on my car?

    Buick had such great historic names to use. This car would have sold better as a LeSabre than it ever has as a Lucerne. Then they go for the real cheese and call on version the Lucern Super. The mind boggles.

    Speaking of branding: Northstar was once reserved for a lineup of Cadillac-only technologies. The engine was in theory buy one of the Northstar goodies. Now they put a Northstar label under the hood of a Buick?

  • avatar
    Omnifan

    Park this car next to a Cadillac DTS and look at the interiors. Door panel – same, instrument panel – same, console and shifter – same. I know the platform is shared with DTS, but was surprised at the interior component sharing.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Nice review, but lacking one significant piece of info…..how does it respond to a parking brake application accompanied by full throttle?

    FWD burnout, anyone? ;-)

  • avatar
    npbheights

    John:

    Your right, it was called “The Northstar System” not just a Northstar engine. GM is good at coming up with something cool sounding and then mucking it up. “Cadillac Deville with the Northstar System” sounded kind of awesome. Buick Lucerne Super with a 17 year old hand me down engine, not so much.

  • avatar
    slateslate

    Never can understand why some marketer got rid of the perfectly appropriate Park Avenue name?

    Alot of recent GM nameplates have been horrendously named like the Lucerne (Rendezvous, Aztek, etc).

    I wonder how many people actually got the Helvetia reference with the Lucerne? Maybe one of our European friends can chime in on whether they get visions of the Swiss Alps, Lake Geneva and the Swiss Miss pudding girl when they power up the Lucerne.

    On the other hand, Enclave is a great name…..relevant to the purpose of a big CUV, rolls off the tongue nicely, has an air of sophistication.

    Ugh. Marketers.

  • avatar
    afabbro

    Unfortunately, this vehicle is missing the one feature that non-Buick owners have been demanding that Buicks have for years: a warning system that says “Attention Buick Driver, you have been signaling a left-hand turn for the last 25 minutes…”

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Is this the competitor for the Ford Five Hundred.

    I rarely see a Lucerne. the only thing that I don’t like on this car are those silver thing Near the side mirror. looks fake and they look exactly the same they sell on Pep Boys.

    The CAR is not bad at all.

  • avatar
    KalapanaBlack

    I’m going to miss the Northstar. It makes fantastic sounds, even if it doesn’t make tons of power. I used to cruise in my mom’s Aurora in high school in second gear just to hear that wonderfulness.

    The 3.6 is competent, but utterly soulless in comparison, and the pushrod small block V8s sound burly but not nearly as refined and expensive.

    I know the Northstar is junk at over 100,000 mi, and it makes power comparable to some 3.5L V6s, but if “classy” were to have a signature sound, the Northstar at 6,000 rpms would fit the bill very nicely.

  • avatar
    Jeff Puthuff

    I hate, hate, hate this front end. It has a poorly executed imitation of the Q45’s headlight assemblies (which looked terrible on the Q), a grille that droops like grandma’s tits (though I take solace that my state’s mandatory front license plate code will somewhat disguise this), and those old-fashioned portholes.

    Well, at least it doesn’t have GM’s ubiquitous cow’s tongue steering wheel.

  • avatar
    KalapanaBlack

    doctorv8 :
    August 20th, 2009 at 11:04 am

    Nice review, but lacking one significant piece of info…..how does it respond to a parking brake application accompanied by full throttle?

    FWD burnout, anyone? ;-)

    GM’s put a rev limiter on Northstar cars for years, and I’m assuming this has the 4T80E Hydra-Matic, as well. Won’t go over 3,000 in park or first gear from a dead stop. Can’t do burnouts.

  • avatar
    ohsnapback

    This is the perfect car for the blue hair, dragstrip crowd.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s a large demographic.

  • avatar
    wjo

    The Lucerne is one of my favorite rentals when I need a large car (competitors at the Avis counter are typically the Grand Marquis (horrible ergonomics for a tall driver) and the 300 (ok, but visibility not a strong point, nor are ergonomics). The Lucerne is comfortable, spacious, good visibility, easy to drive, decent brake feel, usually arrives with a decent stereo. I drove a Camry LE and Lucerne on back to back rentals while travelling and the Lucerne trumped the Camry on just about all accounts (as well it should given a higher price point).

    It is sad that GM underinvested in this car as a modern transmission and a little attention to interior detail would make it the best in class.

  • avatar
    rocketrodeo

    I’ve often wondered why Buick abandoned the brand equity in the Electra name. These were always substantial, luxurious, and reasonably high-quality vehicles, right up until the point they disappeared. Buick could do worse than revive that nameplate when the Lucerne goes away.

    By the way, the “portholes” are correctly known as ventiports. They’re 60-year-old style elements that for decades have instantly identified a Buick.

  • avatar
    commando1

    WaftableTorque:
    I wonder if anyone else thought the Lucerne was a blatant ripoff of the 2002-2005 Infiniti Q45?
    I owned one of those and that’s the first thing I thought of. With all the buzz and leaks before it’s introduction, I waited eagerly to see if it would live up to my expectations. Not even close… I wish I had the Q45 back :(

    86er:
    The Buick Roadmaster, last built in 1996, was in many respects a clumsy, oafish, ugly thing.
    But I look at this Lucerne and I still want GM to bring it back. What’s wrong with that picture?

    AND, I owned one of those, too. AND, I wish I had that back, too.

    What am I? The kiss of death?

  • avatar
    Austin Greene

    Among other whips I own a 2008 DTS.

    @ Omnifan: The door panels and dashboard are similar to a DTS – not the same. And the instrumentation is compeletely different.

    @ affabro: The geezer buzzer that you mention has been GM de riguer for many years. Even my High-Po 1996 Impala SS has it.

    @ wjo: The reason why the Lucerne and DTS don’t offer a six speed is that it wont fit inside the engine bay with a Northstar. It will fit when mated to the 3.9 base six in the Lucerne, but then that would further blur the benefits of the Northstar.

    One point that should be mentioned is that the Buick Lucerne is available with both side blind zone detection and lane departure warning. I believe that it is the least expensive vehicle on the market with these safety technologies.

    For me the Buick Lucerne is the ideal winter car.

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    Although I’m a big-car guy, I must confess that the look of the Lucerne doesn’t do much for me. There is just something that is off with the proportions.

    I am also in agreement that the name was a dumb idea. Let’s see what’s in the bin: Park Avenue, Roadmaster, Electra, Invicta, LeSabre, Centurion and some more that I can’t think of at the moment. But no, lets name the car after a european lake. I guess we should watch for the launch of the new Ladoga and the Onega any time now.

    I agree with 86er. The Roadmaster is the last Buick that lit my fire. I always wanted one of the wagons. I’m ok with the 4 speed auto so long as there is enough torque to make an additional gear or two irrelevant. You need 5 or 6 speeds with peaky european-style high-revvers. Torquey ‘Murcan V8s used to be fine with 3 speeds. 4 is a bonus.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Friend has one. Says it performs well but he doesn’t care for the low rent interior, and the engine is starting to leak and burn oil. Dealer says the oil issues are “normal”, so no warranty repair. Not a happy camper.

    At 6’5″ and with a gimpy knee there are not a lot of cars that he can fit into. He has had at least a dozen GMs but is determined to make a change next time.

  • avatar
    willbodine

    Somehow, that grill reminds me of the South Park kids when they smile.

  • avatar
    SunnyvaleCA

    I’ll just mention again that my parents just picked up a brand new outgoing-model-year 2009 Mercedes E350 for just under $45k. Now how does that Buick seem?

  • avatar
    WildBill

    The MIL dumped her Caddy after the second Northstar V8 block cracked. Good riddance. Then she bought TWO Silverados. Some people never learn.

  • avatar
    86er

    jpcavanaugh: Although I’m a big-car guy, I must confess that the look of the Lucerne doesn’t do much for me. There is just something that is off with the proportions.

    They clipped the rear end way too much, A real American big car should have a big trunk. This one has barely more than a Camry, and less than an Impala.

    commando1: AND, I owned one of those, too. AND, I wish I had that back, too.

    I’m hoping to buy one of those for my dad very very soon. Found an estate car with 60,000 miles on it. $2900. If it hasn’t already sold today, I’m buying the damn thing on principle.

  • avatar
    romanjetfighter

    SunnyvaleCA:

    Join the credit union and you can get up to 14k off list price on the Es, so some of them are from the high 30s. The next new E got like 4k off list price compared to the 2009.

  • avatar
    iceracer

    The Lucerne Super is an example of the cynical half-baked efforts that lead to GM’s bankruptcy. 17 extra HP! Whoopy shit! The Northstar used to put out 300 HP in the DTS. I wonder, if it had the 300 horses would they then call it the Lucerne Super-Dooper? But wait GM is reinventing itself! The new Lacrosse has less HP, less torque, FWD, weighs 4056 lbs. This is progress?

  • avatar
    SupaMan

    I’ll take the DTS, thank you. The wrapper just looks better.

  • avatar
    derm81

    Does GM have some sort of patent or special grasp on “ultra quiet” technologies? I ask this because Bucks today have some of the most quiet cabins I have ever been in. You can’t hear the outside world. Do they have some sort of special soundproofing for their vehicles?

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I hate, hate, hate this front end.

    Oh, yes, me too. Every time I see this car I admire the shape and rear or side detailing. Then I see the front. It’s like ogling someone’s body and then wincing when you see his/her face.

    The other problem this car has is that the Lacrosse/Allure is almost as good, not a lot smaller, and much less costly. Either this car had to be a lot bigger and more luxurious, or it didn’t need to exist at all.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Does GM have some sort of patent or special grasp on “ultra quiet” technologies?

    Some, but not all. Honda uses a similar active noise cancellation in some Acuras, and Toyota uses much of the same body soundproofing in most Lexuses.

    But Buicks are quiet, I’ll give them that.

  • avatar
    TRL

    The irony is while the dashboard looks like it came right out of a fleet Impala no parts are interchangeable. They got 100% of the cheap look with none of the cheap price. Only GM can do that.

    Too bad as these things really get impressive mpg for their size, don’t ride bad with the magnetic stuff, will probably be as reliable as most bricks, and the rest of the interior is pretty good.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    If you don’t like the front of the Lucerne wait until you see the front end of the 2010 Mazda3.

  • avatar
    ChristyGarwood

    @derm81 RE: quiet interior cabins – – I don’t know about patents but I do know that starting with the Enclave (I was on the launch), GM made a concerted effort to have Buick interiors ‘library quiet’ as the marketers were wont to call it.

    GM engineers did it with a triple door seal system, a special sound-proofing material on the floorpan (pull back the carpet and you can see it), special sound-deadening glass and lots of tweaking to HVAC/ powertrain components to elimnate their noises from entering the cabin.

    Not surprisingly, these design/ performance cues are making their way into subsequent Buick models.

    I was in the plant one day with co-workers and we were waiting for a review, so four of us hopped into an Enclave, windows were down, and the noise from the factory just stopped, and not because the line stopped. We were awed into silence and then when we did speak it was with hushed tones. We couldn’t help it.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Nice review, Sajeev.

    Of the “Super” Buicks, I liked the Lacrosse version more. However, it bothers me that the Lucerne Super manages to have a better exhaust note than the G8 GT.

    I can’t wait for you to review the new Lacrosse CXL with the 3.0L. I have a feeling that you are going to rip that car a new one.

  • avatar
    Pahaska

    And the folks at GM wonder why I bought a Genesis 4.6 instead of this car. I paid 38k and have what has been rated one of the 10 best engines in the world in a car that I’m running up the mileage on because I take every possible excuse to jump in and drive.

    There is nothing like RWD to bring back the joy in driving.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Electra, Park Avenue, Wildcat, LeSabre, Skylark, Riviera … Buick had many great product names. Why GM has abandoned so many great names is a mystery understood only by modern MBA graduates I suspect.

    “… and the engine is starting to leak and burn oil. Dealer says the oil issues are “normal”, so no warranty repair.”

    The Northstar engine has had oil consumption and leaking block problems forever. GM pulls this stunt all the time; letting basic design weaknesses fester for a decade or more. Remember the “HT” series of Cadillac engines that the Northstar was supposed to drive away from the collective memory banks? Leaking intake manifold gaskets on well over a decade worth of GM narrow angle V-6 engines? The list goes on and on.

  • avatar

    I rarely see a Lucerne. the only thing that I don’t like on this car are those silver thing Near the side mirror. looks fake and they look exactly the same they sell on Pep Boys.

    Sorry, but at least the Buick ventiports are stuck on straight, unlike most of the aftermarket knockoffs. The reason why most aftermarket body kits and a lot of owner customization look like caca is that the men and women who work for automakers as designers really are that talented and know what looks good. Just the other day I saw a car with stick on portholes and instead of making them square to the styling crease just below it, the owner stuck them on horizontally, thereby matching none of the lines on the car.

    Though I’m not a fan of functionless styling gimmicks and fads (don’t get me started on stick on fender vents/gills), Buicks must have ventiports just like Jaguars must have haunches/hips.

  • avatar

    RF,

    After reading these comments, I think that Buick should play to its strengths as a brand: smooth, quiet, comfortable cars. I don’t know if it’s surprising or not, but the brand is pretty popular with twentysomething blacks. I have a number of younger black friends and they all have nothing but praises for Buicks.

    I’m reminded of an old R&T or C&D review of the Lotus Europa Special. They said at freeway speeds it was obvious that a “master chassis tuner” had worked on the car.

    American cars wrote the book on smooth. Back in the old BOF days, the body/chassis bushings were designed with more front to back compliance than side to side, which helped make things smooth as glass on the interstate.

    Much as I like Loti and cars that can carve and handle, there’s something to be said for a car that won’t disturb your drink at 80mph.

  • avatar
    slateslate

    ****I don’t know if it’s surprising or not, but the brand is pretty popular with twentysomething blacks. ****

    ….until Buick debuted the Lacrosse to the tune of 90’s one hit wonder Ini Kamoze, lol.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3uZhh4HpKI

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    It’s like ogling someone’s body and then wincing when you see his/her face.

    That’s called a “Butterface”.

    Comparing the front of the Mazda3, at least the 3 is smiling at (with?) me. The Buick looks like my really slow cousin admiring his watch. Again.

  • avatar
    onerareviper

    The question is, “what do people really pay for a new one?” I’ve seen a few in the used market a year old with 15-20K miles for $20,000. Now that’s the ticket.

  • avatar
    pacificpom2

    Simple, import the Buick Park Avenue from China. Or would that vehicle outshine Cadillac?

  • avatar
    P71_CrownVic

    “Is this the competitor for the Ford Five Hundred.”

    No…this is the competition for the Lincoln version of the Taurus.

    And just like the MKTaurus…this one is priced way out of it’s league as well.

    Any thinking person will get a V8 Genesis and call it a day. It has proper drive wheels, it has a proper engine (Buick got that right) and it’s very efficient despite having 375HP.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    ” … it has a proper engine (Buick got that right)”

    I’m not sure Buick got that right. Odds are strong that the Genesis’ V-8 will be running strong many miles after the expensive and temperamental Northstar spills its oil all over the ground.

  • avatar
    Tosh

    Can a dash get any less inspired or more fugly? It’s just perfectly pukey in every detail…

  • avatar
    obbop

    Do you really wanna’ drive a vehicle named for a Safeway grocery store brand of dairy products?

    http://www.safeway.com/IFL/Grocery/Our-Brands

  • avatar

    Thank you all for reading.

    ———————-
    willbodine : Somehow, that grill reminds me of the South Park kids when they smile.

    Absolutely brilliant, I wish I thought of that.

    ———————-
    John Horner : Speaking of branding: Northstar was once reserved for a lineup of Cadillac-only technologies. The engine was in theory buy one of the Northstar goodies. Now they put a Northstar label under the hood of a Buick?

    And while it also went into the Aurora, GM was savvy enough to lower the displacement to give Caddy the necessary edge.

    IIRC, the last few years of the Pontiac Bonneville (platform mate to the Aurora, Park Ave, DeVille???) also had the same Northstar V8.

    ———————-
    Austin Greene : The reason why the Lucerne and DTS don’t offer a six speed is that it wont fit inside the engine bay with a Northstar. It will fit when mated to the 3.9 base six in the Lucerne, but then that would further blur the benefits of the Northstar.

    DOHC V8s shouldn’t be turned 90-degrees to fit inside FWD platform. This is even more proof.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Sajeev, I’m going to throw one more fern into this fire of thought.

    GM’s Supercharged 3.8L V6 is, and has always been, superior to the Northstar.

    I have seen those engines go north of 300k and provide fuel economy in the low 30’s on the highway. On a full sized vehicle that’s just amazing. The horsepower difference is only about 10% between that and the Northstar.

    The Northstar really is an amazing piece of technology. But GM did not do a good job with a multitude of design issues that limited it’s long-term durability. It’s extremely rare to see one of these engines hit north of 200k… unless it’s in an Aurora. I can’t explain this because the Aurora actually has a lower level of lubrication to compensate for it’s smaller size (4.0L vs. 4.6L).

    If GM made these models last to the 300k to 400k range they would be the official cars of the remarketing business. As it is though, most folks that do heavy traveling stick to Ford’s with the 4.6L and GM models with the 3.8L. The Toyota Avalon also does very well in my neck of the woods.

  • avatar
    wsn

    # Ronnie Schreiber :
    August 20th, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    Much as I like Loti and cars that can carve and handle, there’s something to be said for a car that won’t disturb your drink at 80mph.

    ———————————————–

    Exactly, that’s why people buy Avalons.

  • avatar
    ajla

    @Sajeev:
    IIRC, the last few years of the Pontiac Bonneville (platform mate to the Aurora, Park Ave, DeVille???) also had the same Northstar V8.

    Yep the Bonneville GXP had the 4.6L Northstar in 2004 and 2005. Unfortunately for Pontiac, the 300C came out at the same time.

    In my super-biased opinion I thought it was a cool car. I might own one if I didn’t have Northstar durability worries.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    The Lucerne shows why newer isn’t always better in some ways. Despite having .9 liters less displacement, the new 2010 LaCrosse with an all new 3.0 liter SIDI DOHC V6, 6 speed automatic transaxle in an all new slipery body gets the exact same mileage as the old G-body Lucerne with a pushrod 3.9 liter V6, 4 speed automatic in a larger less slipery body at 17/26! The all new LaCrosse has a tiny 13.3 cu ft trunk compared to the Lucerne with 17.0. The new LaCrosse also feels narrower. The LaCrosse’s interior is for sure an improvement but IMO it’s exterior is too Asian derivative for me with misplaced bodyside moldings at the bottom of the doors, misplaced port holes where you really don’t see them, bloated shape with squinty hard to see out of windows and lack of low end torque on that all new 3.0 SIDI V6. I was impressed with the rear seat legroom on the Lax with the drivers seat half way back and the seats were very comfy like the Lucernes. But for all the hype in the all new model Buick for sure took a few steps backwards in the all new design. I would take a Lucerne with the 2010 LaCrosses interior, 3900 AFM like in the Impala for easy 30 highway MPG complete with the Supers suspension. Too bad they don’t make such a thing.

  • avatar

    @JohnHorner:

    Odds are strong that the Genesis’ V-8 will be running strong many miles after the expensive and temperamental Northstar spills its oil all over the ground.

    I’m curious as to the source of your confidence. Hyundai and Kia are the only* modern manufacturers whose engines still routinely crap out before 100K.

    * well, there’s also Porsche…

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    SunnyvaleCA :
    August 20th, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    I’ll just mention again that my parents just picked up a brand new outgoing-model-year 2009 Mercedes E350 for just under $45k. Now how does that Buick seem?

    Considering that mom and dad’s new ride gives up about 100 HP to the Buick, I think it’s going to seem awfully slow…

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Like the review, Sajeev…GM cars have been sound mechanically and dynamically for quite some time, but it’s the interiors and details that have let them down.

    The REAL Lucerne should be the Chinese market Park Avenue, which is a platform-mate with the Pontiac G8. Restyle that in the idiom of the new LaCrosse, sell it for 40 grand, and you’ve got an epic winner.

    http://www.buick.com.cn/ParkAvenue/wallpaper.aspx

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    wsn :
    August 21st, 2009 at 11:01 am

    # Ronnie Schreiber :
    August 20th, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    Much as I like Loti and cars that can carve and handle, there’s something to be said for a car that won’t disturb your drink at 80mph.

    ———————————————–

    Exactly, that’s why people buy Avalons.

    I always thought that had more to do with poor eyesight…

  • avatar

    Steven Lang : agreed. Except the Northstar sounds and feels better when it isn’t dumping oil, overheating and blowing head gaskets, clogging up EGR passages, etc. (from what I’ve heard, that is.)

    FreedMike : Umm…”mom and dad’s new ride” has a 7-speed auto and about 20 hp less. I suspect the MB will absolutely kill the 4-spd Lucerne. But I do agree with you on the GM China Park Avenue. Funny how things work out, and Buick USA gets screwed.

    ajla : agreed on the Bonnie. Except when I opened the door and saw the interior. Such a shame, but that car really had to die.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Sajeev – yeah, probably should have checked the specs on the Buick.

    However, I did find some instrumented tests on it and the E350. Car and Driver got 6.9 secs 0-60 on the Lucerne with the old engine, and 6.7 on the E350. With the more powerful engine, the Super should not get embarassed, at the very least.

  • avatar
    v7rmp7li

    @Jack Baruth :
    August 21st, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Hyundai and Kia are the only* modern manufacturers whose engines still routinely crap out before 100K.

    —————–
    too bad. Hyundai offer america longest warranty. if your claim is true, then, they are already bankrupt??

    And Hyundai use GEMA engine.
    http://www.gemaengine.com/
    Mitsubishi and Chryler, Hyundai&Kia share same engine.
    so, according to your logic, Mitsubishi and Chryler are only modern manufacturers whose engines still routinely crap out before 100K.

  • avatar
    v7rmp7li

    The Ward’s 10 Best Engines for 2009 (engine and tested vehicle):

    * Audi AG: 2.0L TFSI turbocharged DOHC I-4 (A4 Avant)
    * BMW AG: 3.0L turbocharged DOHC I-6 (135i Coupe)
    * BMW AG: 3.0L DOHC I-6 Turbodiesel (335d)
    * Chrysler LLC: 5.7L Hemi OHV V-8 (Dodge Ram/Challenger R/T)
    * Ford Motor Co.: 2.5L DOHC I-4 HEV (Escape Hybrid)
    * General Motors Corp.: 3.6L DOHC V-6 (Cadillac CTS)
    * Honda Motor Co. Ltd.: 3.5L SOHC V-6 (Accord Coupe)
    * Hyundai Motor Co. Ltd.: 4.6L DOHC V-8 (Genesis)
    * Toyota Motor Corp.: 3.5L DOHC V-6 (Lexus IS 350)
    * Volkswagen AG: 2.0L SOHC I-4 Turbodiesel (Jetta TDI)

    Nissan’s VQ is no longer on the list.

  • avatar
    Pahaska

    I’m curious as to the source of your confidence. Hyundai and Kia are the only* modern manufacturers whose engines still routinely crap out before 100K.

    That’s funny! I’m on my 3rd Hyundai, each one better than the last and each one with a 100,000 mile warranty that was never needed. My Hyundais have been better than my BMW, my Acura, my Buick, and most of all my Mercedes which was an absolute piece of crap.

    I expect many thousands of trouble=free miles from my Genesis 4.6.

  • avatar

    FreedMike : With the more powerful engine, the Super should not get embarassed, at the very least.

    The engine is fine, long term reliability issues aside. The 4-spd transaxle is the problem: if Buick had access to a 7-spd and didn’t mess with the Northstar’s decent throttle response (esp compared to a Benz) and fat power band, it’d have serious scoot off the line and barrel down the freeway even better than a Benz.

    (PS: that 7-spd even pushes a 3.0L Benz unbelievably hard from a standstill to over triple digit speeds. So it’s not all about HP anymore.)

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    I’m curious as to the source of your confidence. Hyundai and Kia are the only* modern manufacturers whose engines still routinely crap out before 100K.

    * well, there’s also Porsche……

    I’m not totally convinced about Hyundai’s long term reliability. Wife’s friend has the previous generation Sonata. She bought it expressly for the warranty. Engine blew a head gasket at about 85K. Hyundai didn’t try to pull a GM; they fixed the car under warranty. Now, at 95K, the trans fluid is beginning to burn. I told her to expect a failure in the near future. If I could kill the trans w/o damaging other parts of the car, I would (any ideas? LOL) I have to say a lot of the underhood parts are not aging gracefully.
    A lot of the plastic parts are splitting/cracking. The rubber parts are getting brittle. The car was a good value without a doubt. But now it needs struts, hoses, belts, all fluids changed, tires soon. That’s a $2k list, easy. Add in a trans job ($2000?) and your over $4000. The car is not worth the repairs. And this was a car maintained at the stealership. I am used to getting double this mileage out of my rides….

  • avatar
    onerareviper

    golden2husky,

    There’s a reason Kia’s and Hyundai’s are sooooo cheap in the used market. Because you’re right… They don’t last 150,000++++ miles like a Honda Civic or yes, Buick (especially the 3.8L motor). At least that is what history has shown (time will tell with the Genesis)… Unless you want to spend major loot, which becomes senseless because this cost usually exceeds the value of the vehicle.

    As for the 100K warranty, SMOKE AND MIRRORS. This is only valid to the original owner (from what I remember), which normally has moved on well before this number.

  • avatar
    v7rmp7li

    ↑you make no sense.

    In 2003, According to Consumer Reports, Hyundai’s reliability rankings tied Hondas.

    http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2003-03-11-cr-picks_x.htm

    And Hyundai use GEMA engine.
    http://www.gemaengine.com/
    Mitsubishi and Chryler, Hyundai&Kia share same engine.
    so, according to your logic, Mitsubishi and Chryler are only modern manufacturers whose engines still routinely crap out before 100K.

  • avatar
    Pahaska

    As for the 100K warranty, SMOKE AND MIRRORS. This is only valid to the original owner (from what I remember), which normally has moved on well before this number.

    Not so. I bought my Azera used and the warrenty applied to it just as it did to the original owner.

    The reason I now own a Genesis is that my 3 Hyundais have been better than any of the “big name” brands that I have owned in the past. On 3 Hyundai vehicles and many thousands of miles, the only glitches were a failed windshield-washer pump and a failed door lock actuator. All ficed under warrenty. Quite different than my Mercedes which had a list of problems as long as my arm.

  • avatar
    highrpm

    $45k for this Buick? I chuckled more at that $60k sticker on the DTS.

    Still, for $45k you’re in the territory of some serious machinery:
    Audi A6
    BMW 5
    Lexus GS
    Benz E (not quite but getting close)

    The Buick is a plain stodgy sedan (even the old folks are buying Avalons instead of Buicks now). I can buy a stodgy plain car for $20k. For my $45k, I want something with a name and some flash. Any car on my list will do. There is no Buick on that list.

  • avatar
    onerareviper

    Pahaska,

    Maybe you’re confused. I’m talking about the 100,000 mile powertrain warranty. This is non-tranferable. The bumper-to-bumper is, just like any other make. The following explains in detail (from a dealer, I believe)..

    Let’s just take a second to note that Hyundai’s 10-year/100,000-mile warranty is for powertrain coverage – meaning the engine, transmission and related components. A powertrain warranty is different than your basic bumper-to-bumper warranty.

    That said, Hyundai’s 100,000-mile powertrain warranty is non-transferable to used-car owners; it’s only applicable to the original owner. Bummer, right? Once the car leaves the original purchaser, the second and subsequent owners have a five-year/60,000-mile — from the manufacturing date — warranty.

    Hyundai’s bumper-to-bumper coverage is transferable when the car swaps owners. It’s good for five years/60,000 miles.

    BTW – As for the Germans, I agree, they often require lots of money to maintain. No argument there…

  • avatar
    onerareviper

    v7rmp7li,

    I’m talking about the car in general, not just the engine. The Korean’s are not known for lasting ‘long-time’, regardless of what CR says (which was probably referring to short-term ownership reliability). I’m not saying they are junk, I’m merely stating the equivalent Honda/Toyota has a FAR longer shelf life. You don’t honestly believe an Elantra has the same shelf life as a Civic? Or a Sonota the same shelf life as an Accord? Do you? There’s a reason high mileage Japanese rides still pull a pretty penny in the used market.

  • avatar
    onerareviper

    highrpm,

    In the ‘Real World’ people are paying $35-$36K for these, if not less. As for the DTS, around $40K. New 2009 models. Now I’m not saying I’d buy these cars (new) even at those prices, merely pointing out what people really pay (less than invoice + huge incentives). IMHO, these cars start to make more sense when they are a year or two old. I’d take a year old/low mile Buick Super/Caddy DTS over the typical new 20-27K family sedan every time. I’m looking at you Accord/Camry.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    In 2003, According to Consumer Reports, Hyundai’s reliability rankings tied Hondas.

    http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2003-03-11-cr-picks_x.htm

    And Hyundai use GEMA engine.
    http://www.gemaengine.com/
    Mitsubishi and Chryler, Hyundai&Kia share same engine.
    so, according to your logic, Mitsubishi and Chryler are only modern manufacturers whose engines still routinely crap out before 100K.…

    Not really relevant, and not because I don’t put much stock in CR. My concern is long term reliability, not the first six or seven years. Her Sonata was pretty reliable for much of its life to date and that is reflected in the CR surveys. Its the next 100,000 (or at least 50,000) that concerns me. The underhood materials are not aging well and I have no confidence that there will not be numerous repairs for all that cracking/ splitting plastic. I’d imagine vacuum leaks, cooling system parts and the like are all going to be trouble as more time goes by. And all that is on top of the time bomb transmission. I never had this kind of deterioration on any car, including some of my “CR black dot specials.”

    I have to say that I agree with onerareviper. Even my old ’80’s mopar seemed to age much better, and that one cracked 250K. Hyundais, at least from the generation I am dealing with, seem to have traded some real longevity for price. For all those who use the “100k and sell” metric, it does not matter much other than poor resale. I expect more life out of my car. And judging what an Accord with 150K on it sells for, so do others.

  • avatar
    capdeblu

    GM should have named this car the Buick Lucille for all the Lucille Ball fans out there.


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