By on October 14, 2009

“The company’s survival depends on the success of this car.” Though regularly trotted out, this statement is almost always BS (not to be confused with the Bertel kind). Typically when the hyped new car fails, the company seems to somehow scrape by. But the 2010 LaCrosse might just warrant such an extreme statement, at least with regard to Buick’s survival outside China. GM has been on a brand-killing spree lately, and this car will test whether or not Buick is beyond saving in the U.S. The Enclave has proved that American car buyers are open to a Buick crossover. But a Buick sedan, with more baggage to overcome, poses a greater challenge. So, does the new Buick LaCrosse–and the brand that’s banking on it–deserve to succeed?

My initial impressions of the new LaCrosse’s exterior styling, during NAIAS press days last January, were mixed. The traditional Buick “sweep spear” seemed forced on the ultramodern, cab forward proportions. Ideally the line on the front fender would be an inch or so lower, which would require that the fender itself be lower. Out in the real world, the new LaCrosse stands out–in a good way–with a premium and somewhat futuristic appearance. The proportions and dimensions are similar to those of the new TL, but the Buick is far more attractive than Acura’s brick. Is that faint praise? Try this: one will mistake it for a Chevrolet. Because of its large wheels and stocky build, the LaCrosse appears smaller than it actually is–which is nearly full-size. In today’s climate this probably helps, more than it hurts.

Pick of the litterThe LaCrosse’s interior is GM’s best yet, dominated by flowing curves that encapsulate the driver and front passenger. Beyond the original and attractive design, I was especially impressed by the way real stitching was incorporated into the molded instrument panel, for the appearance of an upholstered IP at a much lower cost.

But there’s the rub: Buick’s interior ambition is lofty, but the bean-counter’s hand is still all over the execution. In sunlight, the materials aren’t as convincing and various small details (such as the sliding cover of the console’s storage compartment) seem less finished than they should be. I drove an HS 250 earlier the same day, and the LaCrosse’s interior materials simply can’t match one of the cheapest sedans Lexus makes. Still, it is a step up from the Malibu, and better than that of any Ford or Chrysler. GM is very close to getting this bit right.

The front seats are comfortable, and even provide a modicum of lateral support. The rear seat, a bit low to the floor in the traditional GM manner, and offers plenty of room for legs, but not so much for shoulders. It still remains to be seen whether GM can offer an Epsilon-based car that feels roomy. The specs are almost competitive, but subjectively the cabin fails to feel expansive. Credit the high beltline, prominent console, and organic curves that are otherwise so appealing. The trunk would have been narrow anyway, but the decision to fully encapsulated the door hinges further constricts the space.

Extraordinarily broad A-pillars (why?) and a high cowl dominate the view forward from the driver’s seat. Visibility in turns ranks among the worst I’ve experienced in a sedan. I found myself leaning forward to check that nothing was in the resulting front quarter blind spot. The transmission can be manually shifted, but the shifter needs to be repositioned farther from the driver for optimal comfort. The view rearward between the also thick rear pillars and over the high trunk…good thing there’s a rearview camera.

I spent most of my time in the LaCrosse CXL AWD. In case anyone has been wondering how well a 3.0-liter V6 engine, even one with 252 horsepower, can motivate 4,200 pounds of sedan…not so well. Especially at low speeds, acceleration verges on sluggish. Even in typical driving, with shifts occurring between 2,500 and 3,000 rpm, the engine sounds like it’s working more than a luxury car engine ought to. Things could be worse: the engine could sound as rough as it does overworked. Buick-LaCrosseback

I briefly drove the top-of-the-line LaCrosse CXS, and that car’s 280-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 feels much more energetic and sounds considerably less strained. On the other hand, the 3.6 too easily provokes both wheelspin and torque steer. Why isn’t all-wheel-drive available with the 3.6? Working with the same basic transmission, Ford now offers a twin-turbo 3.5-liter with AWD.

GM probably specified a 3.0-liter as the LaCrosse’s principal engine for fuel economy reasons. Or perhaps they figured that a 3.0-liter with the same peak horsepower as their previous generation 3.6 would provide the same driving experience as that 3.6. Either way, the 3.0-liter engine fails. In normal driving, it feels like a 3.0, not a 3.6. The 252 horses dwell at 6,900 rpm, where few Buick drivers will dare to tread. Peak torque, more constrained by displacement, is only 215 pound-feet. But there’s always fuel economy, right? Wrong. The EPA ratings of 16 city and 25 highway are no better than those of more powerful competitors. Even the Lincoln MKS, with a 355-horsepower turbo six and even more poundage, does a bit better. So what’s the point of the 3.0, when it’s both less powerful and less efficient?

The new LaCrosse being a Buick, sloppy handling might be expected. In truth, the CXL AWD feels composed and stable, with well-controlled body motions, an acceptable amount of lean in turns, and a minimal amount of understeer. The all-wheel-drive system includes the active rear differential pioneered by the Saab 9-3 Turbo X. This differential counteracts understeer by routing torque to the outside wheel in turns. Throttle-induced oversteer is theoretically possible, but this would require more twist than the V6 can deliver (or possibly an unpaved road surface.) Even with the trick differential and nicely-weighted steering, the LaCrosse doesn’t feel agile, but then nothing in this class does.

The ride isn’t quite as creamy as that of a Lexus, with some clomping over bumps but no untoward jitters. Aside from the engine under acceleration, noise levels are very low. In fact, even when the engine isn’t particularly loud, the absence of other noise makes it sound louder than it is. This solid feel and quietness partly justify why the new LaCrosse weighs so much. Stress the partly. A Lexus ES is also quiet inside, and weighs nearly a quarter-ton less than the front-wheel-drive LaCrosse. Even the bloated Acura TL weighs a couple hundred pounds less. Check the specs of any new GM product, and you’ll find that the company has a serious mass control problem. Too little room in the budget for ultra-high-strength steel?

the poison pill...So, what’s the verdict? The new Buick LaCrosse turns heads and is a viable alternative to the similarly sized Acura TL and Lexus ES, for less money. If Buick weren’t struggling with a load of baggage, this car would succeed. As it is, anyone looking for an excuse not to buy a Buick can still find one in the sluggish 3.0-liter, the EPA figures, or the driving position. The LaCrosse may be a step in the right direction, but Buick is still on a thousand-mile journey.

The last weakness isn’t fixable without a major redesign. But giving the 3.0 the heave-ho would make the largest difference, and it’s something GM could do, and should do, right away. Forget the 182-horspower four-cylinder that’s on the way–do they want to kill another brand? The 3.6 should be the base engine. For the up-level engine, offer a turbo 3.6 with all-wheel-drive. This shouldn’t pose too much of a challenge. GM was rumored to have a turbo 3.6 in development nearly a decade ago, and Ford has proven that the transmission can handle the resulting torque. More than anything else, Buick needs a sedan people feel compelled to consider. A LaCrosse with enough horsepower to fully exploit the fine chassis–a SHO-matching 365 for example–would be compelling.

Michael Karesh operates TrueDelta.com, a provider of car reliability and real-world gas mileage information

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120 Comments on “Review: 2010 Buick LaCrosse...”


  • avatar
    dwford

    It seems like the 3.0 AWD is designed to compete with the IS250 AWD, while the 3.6 is designed to go against the ES350. The 4 cylinder? Who knows. GM put a lot of 4 cylinders in Buicks back in the 80′s, so it is not without precedent.

    Few, if any, cars do everything better than their competition. A new car just has to survive the 10 minute test drive with no negatives, and be competitive on features and price. If a prospective customer drives the Buick, doesn’t find any negatives, sees some surprise and delight features, and finds the price/value proposition appealing, they may bite. Most will follow the herd and buy the established brand.

    Funny how much the world has changed. New Buick buyers will now be considered “early adopters.”

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    can i ask why a medium sedan needs to be 4,200lb?

    and why do they think a 3.0 v6 is gonna motivate it?

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Nice review, Michael. If I were in the market for an oversized sedan with SUV like height, the SHO has it all over the LaCrosse from a performance standpoint, and likely in the luxo-gadget count as well. A Ford with more performance and luxury than a Buick…imagine telling someone from 1955 about that!

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    I looked up and down in this review but, despite its length, there was not a single number about the allegedly lower than the TL price.

    I think the bare bones version starts at $28k, and with options few LAcrosses will go for less than $35k.

    That is Seven times what Buicks cost back in 1980.

    My question to the reviewer is, assuming my above numbers are correct (change them with more accurate ones if you like),

    Would YOU, Michael Karesh specifically, spend $35k of your own hard-earned $ (or, insert a more accurate number) on this Lacrosse, based on your examination?

  • avatar
    stars9texashockey

    Very fair, informative and objective review Michael.

  • avatar

    Silght error in the text: HS 250 should be IS 250, I assume.

    If it feels burdened with the 3.0 V6 how is the 4 cylinder (now with wheel covers!) going to perform?

    For what it’s worth, Edmunds compared the LaCrosse to the ES 350 and declared the Buick the winner by a decent margin.

  • avatar
    jems86

    I drove an HS 250 earlier the same day, and the LaCrosse’s interior materials simply can’t match those of the cheapest Lexus. Still, it is a step up from the Malibu, and better than that of any Ford or Chrysler. GM is very close to getting this bit right.

    What about the inteior materials found on a Lincoln? isn´t that a much more fair comparison?

  • avatar
    oboylepr

    It’s the nicest Buick I’ve ever seen.

  • avatar
    slateslate

    Hopefully Buick will succeed but it sounds like LaCrosse is a lot like the MKS– good enough to attract its core demographics but not great enough to really gain noticeablely v. the ES350.

    Time is against Buick….the median age in the US is 36-ish. So literally at least half the people in the US have never lived in a time when Buick was a gotta-have-it car.

  • avatar
    dolorean23

    …the LaCrosse CXL AWD. In case anyone has been wondering how well a 3.0-liter V6 engine, even one with 252 horsepower, can motivate 4,200 pounds of sedan…not so well.

    No effin’ way? Seriously? Didn’t anyone at GM listen to the bellyaching through the blogisphere about the bloated and not beloved Ford Five Hundred? Add to this stuff like fuel, passengers, and luggage and you’re pushing 5K. Putting a V8 such as the NorthStar would help motivate this porkstar, but would add more weight.

    Still its a Buick. Something Octegenarians want to move like they were piloting their living room couch. To this crowd the new Lucerne does very well by.

  • avatar
    jmo

    I think the bare bones version starts at $28k, and with options few LAcrosses will go for less than $35k.

    When was the last time someone paid sticker for a Buick? 1968?

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    When was the last time someone paid sticker for ANY Domestic, or even for a Nissan for that matter?

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    So do not be hampered with that.

    To rephrase my question:

    How much of your own hard-earned $ would you, personally, Micheal Karesh, be willing to part, to get a Lacrosse (and which specific model and options?)?

  • avatar
    jmo

    The other huge problem is the Buick needs to be at least 20% better than Lexus. GM can’t make any market share headway by making products that are just as good – they need products that are both better and cheaper.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    Nice review, Michael, looking forwards to your Lexus HS writeup.

    I think that ’10 LaCrosse pricing is on a slippery perch, that you can go for a loaded and larger sedan for the same or a little less money, or a entry-level luxury brand for a little more with dealership perks (and the alleged envy of your neighbors).

    FWIW, Edmunds.com noted last month that on their site the top 10 vehicles cross-shopped vs. the LaCrosse were:

    1. 2010 Taurus
    2. Cadillac CTS
    3. Buick Lucerne
    4. Chevy Malibu
    5. Hyundai Genesis
    6. Honda Accord
    7. Buick Enclave
    8. Ford Fusion
    9. Chevy Equinox
    10. Lexus ES350

  • avatar
    Sutures

    I realize this may be a bit ranty and off topic, but lets talk design for a moment…

    Some parts of current atheistic and mechanical vehicle design we are stuck with.
    Aerodynamic shapes, front wheel drive and automatic transmissions are top of that list. Regardless of what the enthusiast minority wishes, those items are here to stay.

    But the following design trends need to die:
    - Statutory chrome, aka chrome-under-glass (statutory because even though it looks good, if you touch it your doing something very, very wrong)
    - Chrome window surrounds
    - Blacked out pillars. I mean come-on, your not fooling anyone, it’s a four door. The wehicle does not have one giant piece of side glass.
    - Over stylized wheels
    - Over sized wheels
    - Cockpit interiors, doesn’t anyone make a vehicle interior that isn’t claustrophobicly cocooned around the driver anymore?
    - Gangster slit side windows
    - Fake fasteners
    - I’m sure the list could go on…

    I’m not saying these are bad or wrong design trends… they just are overdone trends and need to go away. For how much the design weenies are paid, it would be nice to see something original out of the studios.

    And while on the rant…. not that anyone has used the following words in this thread, BUT… The phrases Design Language and Design DNA need to be eradicated from the face of the earth. They are overblown words used to justify someone’s over-bloated paycheck for copying everyone else.

    OK, I feel better now…

  • avatar
    NoChryslers

    WHY, oh why do they have to be so half-assed w/everything that they do? The Japanese hit it out of the box, always it seems, on the first try. Clearly, the old GM is still with us.

  • avatar
    CyCarConsulting

    Great assessment of this car. GM has just missed the mark on every model it produces. Price point may be the key. It’s hard to turn out a perfect car while focusing on the give and take of cost. With that said, in 2 years, when the car is worth half of wholesale book, it will be a fantastic buy.

  • avatar
    Durwood

    So how much does it cost? That seems to be a big omission to have the price left out of the review. I think if it is about equal to the Taurus on price, i would rather have the Taurus.

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    “NoChryslers :
    October 14th, 2009 at 11:48 am

    WHY, oh why do they have to be so half-assed w/everything that they do? The Japanese hit it out of the box, always it seems, on the first try. Clearly, the old GM is still with us.”

    And even what they got now is far better to what Buick would offer if LUTZ did not turn down as utterly unacceptable their first designs and sent Buick designers back to the drawing board.

  • avatar
    th009

    Notably the base CX model weighs in at about 3900 lbs (300 lbs less than the CXL AWD) so the 3.0L engine should work somewhat better in that configuration.

  • avatar

    Even being good enough is probably not enough. Hyundai is doing what it needs to establish its brand- massively cheaper than the competition and putting its dollars where its mouth is. My dad, who loves his Toyota Avalon and thinks the Lexus ES might even be too sporty – basically the perfect potential Buick customer – is considering a Hyundai just for that 10 year warranty.

    Buick is sorta in the position of Mercury – slightly upscale packages of Chevy models, and wedged in a narrow niche between Chevy and Cadillac.

  • avatar
    celebrity208

    Ok to address some inaccuracies in some of the posts and to put some things in perspective
    At 4200lbs and 252hp the LaCrosse AWD 3.0 is lugging 16.6lbs/hp and at 3650lbs and 205hp the IS250 AWD is struggling under 17.9lbs/hp. Point, Buick.
    The base IS250 is $35k and the base AWD LaCross is <a href="http://www.edmunds.com/new/2010/buick/lacrosse/101159582/specs.html"$31.8k. Point, Buick.
    Go and option them out similarly and the Buick is consistently about $1k less. Point, Buick.
    The IS250 is faster (function of torque profile and transmission gearing). Point, Lexus.
    The Buick is bigger in just about every measurement. Point, Buick.
    Compared to the ES the Buick loses more of those competitions but becomes more of a bargain.
    The arguments then boil down to style, design, material appearance/quality, and any brand preference. The $ advantage I think will give Lexus buyers a reason to enter a Buick showroom. If that happens and Buick wins some (not a ton) conquests then I think this car will have done it’s job.

  • avatar
    th009

    @Durwood: So how much does it cost? That seems to be a big omission to have the price left out of the review. I think if it is about equal to the Taurus on price, i would rather have the Taurus.

    It starts at $27K, about the same as the Taurus SEL. Taurus SE is about $2K less but the SEL appears closer in terms of equipment (for example, it has climate control and satellite radio like the CX).

  • avatar
    celebrity208

    Ok to address some inaccuracies in some of the posts and to put some things in perspective
    At 4200lbs and 252hp the LaCrosse AWD 3.0 is lugging 16.6lbs/hp and at 3650lbs and 205hp the IS250 AWD is struggling under 17.9lbs/hp. Point, Buick.
    The base IS250 is $35k and the base AWD LaCross is <a href="http://www.edmunds.com/new/2010/buick/lacrosse/101159582/specs.html"$31.8k. Point, Buick.
    Go and option them out similarly and the Buick is consistently about $1k less. Point, Buick.
    The IS250 is faster (function of torque profile and transmission gearing). Point, Lexus.
    The Buick is bigger in just about every measurement. Point, Buick.
    Compared to the ES the Buick loses more of those competitions but becomes more of a bargain.
    The arguments then boil down to style, design, material appearance/quality, and any brand preference. The $ advantage I think will give Lexus buyers a reason to enter a Buick showroom. If that happens and Buick wins some (not a ton) conquests then I think this car will have done it’s job.

  • avatar

    I did mean to say HS, not IS. But it somehow slipped my mind that the IS is less expensive (perhaps because the HS seems like less car).

    I have a whole section on pricing and price comparisons in my reviews at epinions.com, but RF in the past didn’t want me to discuss pricing, so I don’t. You can run price comparisons here:

    http://www.truedelta.com/prices.php

    The LaCrosse is about equally priced with the Taurus, and thousands less than any other direct competitor. It seems expensive, until you look at the alternatives.

    If I was willing to buy an automatic, the CXS AWD would be a fine car to buy–except they don’t offer it. I like a lot about this car, which is what makes its shortcomings especially frustrating.

    I would like to provide quick reliability stats on the new LaCrosse, but it’s going to be tough to get enough of them signed up.

    Know someone with one? Please send them here:

    http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

  • avatar

    @ Sutures – another thing that needs to die is mile wide consoles between the front seats on sedans.

    Sure a console with a console shifter is nice in a sporty car. But, does the console in a sedan have to be so wide that you cannot sit comfortably without your right knee touching the console? (Which isn’t really that comfortable.)

    Also, Since this is a big sedan, can you buy one with bench seat and a column shifter? There are buyers who want a car with a roomy interior where you do not feel shoehorned in between the door and console.

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    I have no clue why is anybody comparing the IS250 (instead of the ES350 camry clone) to the Buick.

    It makes zero sense. The much smaller IS is a direct competitor to the 3 series BMW.

    Unless one is totally deranged, one would not care to look at the Buick, any buick, if one is looking at the BMW 3 series, the Lexus IS, or even the Audi 4 for that matter.

    Maybe the Merc C class is a better comparison? (the non-sporty versions)?

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    Michael Karesh :
    October 14th, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    I did mean to say HS, not IS.

    Neither car is even remotely related to the Lacrosse.

    The HS is a COMPACT HYBRID while the IS is a COMPACT performance car like the 3 series or the A4.

    Nobody in his or her right mind would seriously onsider BOTH the Lacrosse and these above cars.

    The Lacrosse’s clear and obvious rival is the Lexus ES 350.

  • avatar

    GM cranks out the best interiors you can get in an American car and has been doing so for many years now. The corporate switchgear and headunits in Ford products are especially disgusting. And given the new Taurus’ price point in the more expensive models it’s especially bad.

    What Ford did right though was they renamed the Five Hundred back to Taurus instead of shedding that famous name. GM should name the LaCrosse back to Regal instead of selling the Opel Insignia here as the Regal. They should also bring back the LeSabre, Park Avenue and Riviera names for Buick as well.

    GM gutting their brand’s of their famous names is one of the worst things they have done to kill their brands.

  • avatar

    Autosavant: HS250 is about the same base price as the ES350. Yes it’s smaller, but Michael was making a comparison of interior material quality.

    Also, take a look at the trunk here. http://tinyurl.com/yzfbpv3

    Michael is far from the first to call the trunk uncompetitive.

  • avatar

    We’ve got some misguided pot shots here.

    I’m not saying that the HS 250 is a LaCrosse competitor. But it would only be wrong to compare the two if I was saying the LaCrosse was superior. Then people could rightfully respond, “Of course the LaCrosse is nicer. It’s near the top of the Buick line, while the HS is at the bottom of the Lexus line.”

    Since the HS is at the bottom of the Lexus line-up, we can assume that the interior of the ES is at least as nice, if not nicer. Thus by saying that the HS has better interior materials than the LaCrosse, we are also saying that the ES has better interior materials.

    It’s just even worse if a lesser car has nicer interior materials.

    If I said, “Even the Ford Focus has a nicer interior than the new Mercedes E-Class” (not true, but for the sake of arguement), would people only respond, “Stupic comparison, the two don’t compete”? Or would it be clear that the Mercedes should have better materials, even more than if I compared the E-Class to a Lincoln MKS?

  • avatar
    fincar1

    A couple of comments: First, I suspect that the wide A pillars are due to requirements for increased roof strength in rollovers. Myself, I’d prefer to see out of the thing, better to keep it on its wheels.

    Second, I agree: “Also, Since this is a big sedan, can you buy one with bench seat and a column shifter? There are buyers who want a car with a roomy interior where you do not feel shoehorned in between the door and console.” Was this not supposed to be an advantage of front wheel drive, the lack of a big tunnel going down the middle of the passenger compartment, so that the added room could be an advantage to people riding in the car. While I do like bucket seats and consoles (perhaps because they remind me of my old 300L) they are certainly not necessary in a sedan.

    I won’t go so far as to recommend a bench seat though. I’m six feet tall, and riding on a bench seat with a short driver can be hell.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Thank you Michael Karesh and TTAC for calling out the horrible boat anchor that is GM’s new 3.0L “LF1″ V6. It has absolutely no torque, unimpressive fuel economy, and underachieving power.

    I think it is embarrassing for Cadillacs(!) and Buicks to be stuck with this thing while the Malibu still gets the LY7 V6.

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    “# Edward Niedermeyer :
    October 14th, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Autosavant: HS250 is about the same base price as the ES350. Yes it’s smaller, but Michael was making a comparison of interior material quality.”

    While I thought of that, there are plenty of cars in different categories that have almost identical prices, but very different target audiences, so there is little chance that if you want one, you will investigate the other.

    The HS is not just smaller, it is a Hybrid. That is a different class than the ES, which is almost identical to the Lacrosse.

    Same idea with the IS, it is a HS-sized non-hybrid performance compact designed to compete against the very successful (sales wise) 3 series mainly.

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    PS I did not notice the trunk. Unusual for a Buick to have a small one. But as long as space is efficiently designed (the geometry) it will still be able to carry the minimum luggage needed.

    I would not complain about the trunk because even my own huge, long and heavy 740IL 98 has a rather modest trunk (parhaps due to the ful size spare underneath), probably smaller than the more family-oriented 5-series’ trunk, and the 5 is a much smaller vehicle esp. in length. The 7s trunk is designed to carry the obligatory 4 or 5 sets of golf clubs and little else.

  • avatar
    Autojunkie

    I think it’s a nice car. A clean design that should offend very few.

    As for the weight of the car? Why is this always a question among car-people? Car-people should know EXACTLY why cars weigh so much now. Between government crash regulations and consumers who want every damn gadget possible shoved into their cars, we are doomed to have heavy cars.

    Compare any American car with a foreign vehicle in the same class and you’ll see they are no different.

  • avatar
    John R

    Even with the trick differential and nicely-weighted steering, the LaCrosse doesn’t feel agile, but then nothing in this class does.

    Maxima? Afore mentioned TL?

    Despite it looking like a “brick”, a brick from the planet Vulcan even, it’ll still run rings around this car. Pass. Hyundai Genesis, thanks. But then, what do I know? I’m still under 30.

  • avatar

    @Autojunkie Lexus manages the lower weight and the gizmos.

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    “Autojunkie :
    October 14th, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    I think it’s a nice car. A clean design that should offend very few.

    As for the weight of the car? Why is this always a question among car-people? Car-people should know EXACTLY why cars weigh so much now. Between government crash regulations and consumers who want every damn gadget possible shoved into their cars, we are doomed to have heavy cars”

    Not all cars are poorly designed and obese.

    The New Taurus, no matter how cute it looks and what a great engine it has, has far less interior space and weighs much more than the Accord V6, which not only aced it in a comparison test, but also costs $4k LESS, quite unusual, since for decades the so-called imports were always far more expensive than the same-size domestics.

  • avatar
    PennSt8

    “GM cranks out the best interiors you can get in an American car and has been doing so for many years now.”

    That’s news to me.

    “The New Taurus, no matter how cute it looks and what a great engine it has, has far less interior space and weighs much more than the Accord V6″

    I was very disappointed with the interior specs of the new Taurus, especially for a vehicle that is this large. Having said that I’m not sure if I’d call the interior space far less than the Accord, especially if you end up with an Accord w/moonroof.

  • avatar
    th009

    “but the decision to fully encapsulated the (trunk) hinges make it nearly unuseable …”

    Actually, it’s not the encapsulation that’s the primary problem: it’s the cost-cutting that dictated old-style intrusive trunk hinges rather than modern non-intrusive ones with struts.

  • avatar
    carguy

    The 2.8 turbo used in the SRX and some Saabs is based on the HF engine so it should fir and could deliver 300HP and 300lb of twist way down low which would lend itself much more to Buick effortless progress than revving the hell out of an NA 3 liter V6.

    Nice review.

  • avatar
    Geotpf

    Does anybody really cross shop Lexus and Buick? Maybe an RX and a Enclave, but for cars, I think that the Avalon or a top of the line Camry are the correct Toyota products to compare to any Buick sedan, in terms of price and market segment. No matter how much GM wishes it to be so, Buick doesn’t compete with Lexus; that’s Cadillac’s job.

  • avatar
    highrpm

    Tell a Lexus buyer that the Buick is cheaper. Or that GM has good inital quality.

    They won’t care one bit. Why would they give up a great product that can go 150k miles or more without problems, and take a gamble on a company that ran itself into bankruptcy?

    Closer inspection of this vehicle shows a lot of cost cutting. Closer inspection of a Lexus shows lots of nice little details. Big difference. You think buyer’s don’t care? GM’s recent bankruptcy proves my point about the “meh” attitude toward that company and it products.’

    Wife has a Lexus. Her next car will be a Lexus. And the one after that, unless Lexus somehow manages to build a lemon. Not likely.

  • avatar
    Bridge2far

    “When was the last time someone paid sticker for a Buick? 1968?”
    “When was the last time someone paid sticker for ANY Domestic, or even for a Nissan for that matter?”

    NEWSFLASH- I can verify that Buick LaCrosse sells for at least MSRP right now.

  • avatar

    screw a turbo 6 – a Buick needs a lopey, lumpy, lazy v8.

  • avatar
    jmo

    NEWSFLASH- I can verify that Buick LaCrosse sells for at least MSRP right now.

    Dude – here is the list of incentives and special financing deals available on the 2010 LaCrosse.

    http://www.edmunds.com/new/2010/buick/lacrosse/101135361/incentives.html

    In futre please don’t resort of spreading lies.

  • avatar
    lawmonkey

    First time I saw one of these on the road was when it was leaving…the Austin/Bergstrom rental car lot. Come on GM – I’m rooting for you, but you have to help yourself! To paraphrase Whitney Houston, “[fleet sales] is whack!”

  • avatar
    iceracer

    Lexus buyers are very Brand/ Label conscious and will not cross shop a Buick. Lexus has years of good reliability stats and the LaCrosse is a huge unknown in this regard. The interior of the LaCrosse looks much better in pictures than in it does in the flesh- the materials look inferior to any Lexus. I can see current Lacrosse, Lucerne, DTS, Deville owners buying the new LaCrosse. The minor success of the Enclave shows that there are people who will buy a heavy underpowered vehicle.

  • avatar
    stars9texashockey

    “GM cranks out the best interiors you can get in an American car and has been doing so for many years now.”

    Even Lutz admits that recent GM interiors resembled “solidified lava.”

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    GM announced earlier today that the Buick Regal will be returning, a shorter cousin (TTAC’s 2010 Insigna review) to the LaCrosse.

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    highrpm :
    October 14th, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Tell a Lexus buyer that the Buick is cheaper. Or that GM has good inital quality.

    They won’t care one bit. Why would they give up a great product that can go 150k miles or more without problems, and take a gamble on a company that ran itself into bankruptcy?

    Closer inspection of this vehicle shows a lot of cost cutting. Closer inspection of a Lexus shows lots of nice little details.

    WhileI agree with most of the above, not all Lexuses (Lexi) are made equal. I still like the flagship LS460 and its 430 predecessor, here is a real luxury car, even tho it handles no better than that Buick.

    But other Lexuses? My realtor drove me around in an ES350 and I can’t say i was impressed, even with the interior. There were little luxury details such as polished wood on the steeringf wheel and some on the dash and console, but there were also vast areas of uninviting grey plastic that sharply collided with the areas of luxury touches. This brought to mind the term “Near Luxury”, that’s what the 350 and many other LExuses are, not real, true luxury.

    On the other hand, no matter how much I resent its flaws and bloated weight and price, the pics I’ve seen of the Lacrosse interiors are very impressive, with hand-stitched leather everywyere. I bet these are expensive top-of-the-line options, though, that would bring the price to the high 40s (low 40s with discounts)

  • avatar
    Jimal

    Michael, nice review.

    @Autosavant:
    “Would YOU, Michael Karesh specifically, spend $35k of your own hard-earned $ (or, insert a more accurate number) on this Lacrosse, based on your examination?”

    This is an irrelevant question. Auto journalists and testers don’t have the luxury of testing and writing only about cars they would personally purchase.

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    PennSt8 :

    You are right about the interior space of the Accord vs the much larger, heavier Taurus, I should not have said “far less” but just less, or a bit less, whichever.

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    “Jimal :
    October 14th, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    Michael, nice review.

    @Autosavant:
    “Would YOU, Michael Karesh specifically, spend $35k of your own hard-earned $ (or, insert a more accurate number) on this Lacrosse, based on your examination?”

    This is an irrelevant question. Auto journalists and testers don’t have the luxury of testing and writing only about cars they would personally purchase.”

    There was absolutely nothing irrelevant about it. Auto Journalists, as far as I know, ALSO buy their own cars, they do not get them for free from the makers, right?

    I wanted to encourage Michael to make a strong statement one way or the other, rather than an extensive but rather inconclusive review, and the best way to get somebody’s true opinion is, to ask them to imagine that this is their OWN hard-earned Money, would they spend it on a Lacrosse, and for how much.

    If you still have any questions, let me know, and if you are not fully satisfied, I will refund all your $.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Good review, thanks.

    USA Today’s James R. Healey was also generally positive about the 2010 Buick LaCrosse, except for the transmission. He says it shifts poorly.

    http://tinyurl.com/yla3aj8

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    This car has two jobs. First, shore up the GM faithful, and maybe snag some Chrysler customers. These people are used to average (at best) quality and cars that can be overweight and underpowered. This is surely GM’s best recent effort, and will sell to these people.

    But this is not enough. GM has to get some conquest sales here, and I see some problems. The car is underpowered. No Hemi 300 buyer or Ecoboost fan is going to bite. An underpowered car in this price class (where Buick claims it wants to play) is unforgivable. Someone was right, this thing needs a high output 6 or even a V8 to be competitive.

    Look. In this price class, you either buy a car or a badge. Lexus is a badge, A status item. It will be largely trouble-free none of your upper income friends will think less of you for buying one. Buick no longer enjoys this advantage (although I am old enough to remember when it still did, all through the 70s). Buick can’t sell the badge, so it needs to sell the car. This car needs to do SOMETHING better than a Lexus ES350, and better by quite a bit. Faster? Better handler? More sumptuous? More features? Better reliability? Although I like the Lacrosse, I am not seening what I need to see here for this car to steal any sales from its competitors.

  • avatar
    SupaMan

    GM’s new 3.0 V6 has taken all sorts of hits, from being unrefined to the lack of oomph that even the 6 speed auto can’t mask.

    If the 3.0 gave decent mpg numbers, it wouldn’t have been so bad. But jeez…

    The Lacrosse is a very classly looking vehicle, one that I would definitely recommend my Toyota-born parents to at least take a look at before heading down to the Lexus dealership. I’d also advise them to keep their eyes on the 3.6 motor instead of any lower level engine options.

    I agree with you Michael, in that, GM should have offered the 3.6 as the base engine and continued development of a turbo 3.6 to use on a future high end variant (or at the very least, offer the turbo 2.8).

    I’ve seen the 3.0 take hits in everything from the Equinox to the SRX for its gutless character.

  • avatar

    Note: I did not find the trunk to be “nearly unusable,” just narrow. Not sure how that got in there.

    James R. Healey has a pet peeve going with transmission shift quality.

    The review might read as inconclusive because there’s a lot to like about this car, but also a couple of things I’d really like to see them change.

    It’s been known for some time that the Regal is coming. I cannot fathom why they need a four-cylinder in the LaCrosse since one will also be offered in the Regal. (It’s the only way the Regal is offered in China.)

  • avatar
    Power6

    Dude – here is the list of incentives and special financing deals available on the 2010 LaCrosse.

    http://www.edmunds.com/new/2010/buick/lacrosse/101135361/incentives.html

    I had to chuckle at the incentives…there is a $1k “owner loyalty” rebate for GM owners, and a $1k “conquest” rebate for non-GM owners. As long as someone in your household owns a car newer than 1998 you are set.

    Though to be fair there are no accross the board incentives, they are all conditional, and those USAA and college grad discounts are ever present.

  • avatar
    tonycd

    Michael, as a car-wood fanatic, my inquiring mind wants to know: Is that the real stuff in there, and does it look like it? I’ve seen it variously reported as real poplar, and as fake.

  • avatar
    DearS

    I imagine they put the little engine in there to make the bigger engine look more worthwhile. Or else they won’t have a reason to charge so much for the car. Price which they may fear makes the car look more upmarket and more profitable. They may even intend to sucker a few older buyers into Buick.

    Also this is really a heavy car. Geez. I like it over the Camry, Malibu, Sonata etc etc in style and interior design. I’m sad to hear quality is not up to the comp nor weight, and its big. The Regal is looking better. This segment is really really competitive though. My goodness.

    Thank God for the Genesis and other luxury brands though.

  • avatar
    th009

    @Michael Karesh: ‘I did not find the trunk to be “nearly unusable,” just narrow. Not sure how that got in there.’

    I see you have corrected it now. Nevertheless, the cheap old-style hinges are a disappointment, even if they are dressed up and enclosed.

  • avatar
    Bridge2far

    “Dude – here is the list of incentives and special financing deals available on the 2010 LaCrosse.

    http://www.edmunds.com/new/2010/buick/lacrosse/101135361/incentives.html

    In futre please don’t resort of spreading lies.”

    Let me educate you somewhat my friend. Selling price is at MSRP. Any incentives are after the fact. You can thank me if you’d like.

  • avatar
    Pahaska

    The Buick looks a whole lot like my platinum Genesis in the TV ads. I always do a double take.

    My V-8 Genesis is 200# lighter than the Buick and the V-6 Genesis is 400# lighter. Hyundai uses a lot of high strength steels.

    Real world fuel mileage with my V-8 averages 23 in mixed driving and 27 or more out on the interstates. With a cd of .27, the car performs best at 70 and above.

    I think my interior with leather dash trim totally blows away the Buick interior.

  • avatar
    PennSt8

    “You are right about the interior space of the Accord vs the much larger, heavier Taurus, I should not have said “far less” but just less, or a bit less, whichever.”

    Yup, the Taurus is a pig, and I think you mentioned weight/size in your initial post as well. Not to turn this into a Taurus argument, but unless you need the trunk or want the Ecoboost engine the Fusion is the way to go.

  • avatar
    Brian E

    Can you review a rental special LaCrosse with steel wheels next? That’s the model that’s going to determine the depreciation of the entire lineup.

    Can you imagine Lexus selling the ES today with steelies on the base model? Or the Acura TL? No, I can’t. GM can pretend that high-spec LaCrosse models are ES competitors all they want, but it’s really just another rental car with some expensive options.

  • avatar
    th009

    @Pahaska: My V-8 Genesis is 200# lighter than the Buick and the V-6 Genesis is 400# lighter. Hyundai uses a lot of high strength steels.

    Comparing like for like (2WD V6 to 2WD V6), the weight difference is 150-200 lbs, in Hyundai’s favour, but it’s not 400 lbs.

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    Comparing the Buick to the Genesis at least makes more sense than the many references and comparisons to .. BMWs I see in various genesis related sites.

  • avatar
    slateslate

    ****Can you review a rental special LaCrosse with steel wheels next? That’s the model that’s going to determine the depreciation of the entire lineup.****

    GM should designate the Aura as the all-purpose GM fleet car just like the ole’ Chevy Classic.

    Put the Aura’s tooling to good use and it would help stop the hemorrhaging of depreciation across GM’s car line.

  • avatar
    CreepyMayne

    Why is everybody hating on gangster style slit windows? I actually hate driving in cars that have a low belt line and a huge greenhouse, it makes me feel like I’m inside some kind of a museum exhibit and everyone is staring at me while I drive. I happen to like the windows in my Magnum very much…

  • avatar
    th009

    @CreepyMayne: “Why is everybody hating on gangster style slit windows? I actually hate driving in cars that have a low belt line and a huge greenhouse, it makes me feel like I’m inside some kind of a museum exhibit and everyone is staring at me while I drive. I happen to like the windows in my Magnum very much…”

    I will refuse an “upgrade” to a Charger rental car every single time on account of poor visibility alone. That’s even before I consider the wallowy handling and the sea of mismatched Walmart reject plastic inside.

    But to each his/her own …

  • avatar

    The “wood” is not real, and is just short of convincing. I didn’t hate it the way I’d hate obviously fake wood, but a darker shade would be more convincing. I said the same about the Enclave, though I found it’s “wood” less convincing.

    The interior materials of the LaCrosse are better than those in a Camry, Avalon, or Taurus. But this is a much more expensive car than a Camry or Malibu.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Autosavant :
    October 14th, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    I have no clue why is anybody comparing the IS250 (instead of the ES350 camry clone) to the Buick.

    It makes zero sense. The much smaller IS is a direct competitor to the 3 series BMW.

    …until you drive both back to back.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Power6 :
    October 14th, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    Dude – here is the list of incentives and special financing deals available on the 2010 LaCrosse.

    http://www.edmunds.com/new/2010/buick/lacrosse/101135361/incentives.html

    I had to chuckle at the incentives…there is a $1k “owner loyalty” rebate for GM owners, and a $1k “conquest” rebate for non-GM owners. As long as someone in your household owns a car newer than 1998 you are set.

    Though to be fair there are no accross the board incentives, they are all conditional, and those USAA and college grad discounts are ever present.

    And here are the incentives for the Lexus ES350…

    http://www.edmunds.com/new/2009/lexus/es350/101038874/incentives.html

    Quite a few. But let’s be honest…everyone’s doing incentives these days, and every luxury brand offers special financing.

  • avatar
    love2drive

    Agree with jpcavanaugh completely.
    It’s officially “not bad”, which is no where near enough at this point. GM doesn’t have room for cars that are ‘good enough’, anymore.

    They need to cut the # of engines, the # of models, probably drop Buick altogether in the US. They make a great 6 cyl engine in the Cadillac CTS and Camaro, just use that everywhere.

    They don’t need 4 brands, 2 is probably enough. Chevrolet and Cadillac. Think Honda/Acura, Toyota/Lexus, Nissan/Infinity. Too many brands chasing too few customers. Make fewer models, make them expertly, sell them for less than their competitors at first, and go from there.

  • avatar
    NickR

    Turbocharge the 3.7L 5 cylinder Atlas and put it in this!

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Liked the review, Mr. Karesh…

    Like you, I wondered why you can’t get the best engine setup with AWD, but my guess is that with GM’s fortunes being so bad, they wanted to get the car to market ASAP, versus being saddled with the old (awful) LaCrosse for another year.

    I’d look for the top setup (big engine and AWD) to be a mid-year addition.

    Otherwise, despite this being the kind of car I wouldn’t buy, it looked damned nice at the auto show. Hope it sells.

  • avatar
    Bruce from DC

    Hmm. Two years ago, when the Enclave was just introduced, my wife and I shopped it when we were looking for a replacement for the primary family vehicle (which she ends up driving most of the time). We got a Honda Pilot, but that’s another story. This story is that my wife was impressed by the Enclave’s relative silence, that it didn’t drive as big as it was and that she liked the interior (although preferred a less attractive, but boxy rear end because of its greater utility.) But, the most damning thing was that she said, “You know, I just don’t think I can see myself in this.” She’s in her mid-50s.

    The choices that Detroit makes about engine/drivetrain combinations are puzzling. The 3-liter engine might be ok as the base engine for this car (except for the disappointing mileage). There are lots of buyers who have lower acceleration expectations than your typical car nut or car reviewer. But making the more powerful engined available with only FWD really is a mistake. Hell, I spin the front wheels on my 250hp Saab inadvertently more times than I care to admit, unless I take the autobox out of “sport” mode.

    So, what we have here as seems to come from Detroit so often is a product that is half-baked. That is, it is sent to market without all of the components necessary to make it “right” being ready. In this case, it appears that GM doesn’t have an AWD system that it feels can handle the output of the 3.6L engine. Maybe that will come next year?

    Oh, yeah. Trying to push a car with this much weight with a 4-cylinder is absolutely crazy. And if its the same “Ecotec” 2.3 liter engine that’s in my Saab, that’s an engine that’s gruff and thrashy over 3000 rpm. Not “luxury,” folks.

  • avatar
    iceracer

    When they started putting backup cameras in huge SUVs it made some sense. But when you have to put a backup camera in a mid size sedan because you can’t see out of the back of the damn thing then there is something seriously wrong with the design of the car. Next they will get rid of windows completely and replace them with wrap around LCD screens!

  • avatar
    PennSt8

    “So, what we have here as seems to come from Detroit so often is a product that is half-baked. That is, it is sent to market without all of the components necessary to make it “right” being ready. In this case, it appears that GM doesn’t have an AWD system that it feels can handle the output of the 3.6L engine. Maybe that will come next year?”

    Far from a Detroit issue. I guess Honda has a hall pass for the continued usage of 5 speed autos, and Toyota for failing to make an IS350 available with AWD?

    I haven’t driven a Lacrosse nor am I a GM fan, but I’d be willing to bet it is far less sucktacular as some are making it out to be. Lexus or not, when I see an ES I immediately think old lady….nothing about that car screams premium.

  • avatar
    who919

    I have to say that is a good looking car,Now GM has a turbo they could use right now it is found in all of there SAAB vehicles they spent how many billions of dollars for the company that they could not make a profit from so why not use it technology which they do that is why you have a lot of safer vehicles on the road due to SAAB. So if this car is going to make it they have to change who they market Buick to, cause I work for a Buick dealership and the only people who seem to drive a Buick is the very old except for the suv/crossover . I used to say Buick should change there slogan to this is the last car you will ever drive.
    May be they should get there Cadillac division to do this since they did a good job at turning there division around.

  • avatar

    GM’s AWD system can handle the power and torque, since the Saab 9-3 Turbo X had as much power and more torque. And from a related but turbocharged V6. Different transmission, from Aisin, but related drivetrain.

    The Lexus IS 250 AWD is even more underwhelming. And you similarly can’t get AWD with the top engines in the GS or the BMW 5-Series. But that doesn’t make it a good idea.

    I do wonder what Ford has done to channel the EcoBoost’s torque through a transaxle. Might be a record amount for a regular production powertrain.

    Also note that these other cars are RWD, which does not suffer from the power delivery problems of FWD.

  • avatar

    Forgot, about the four-cylinder. There have been four-cylinder Buicks before. But there haven’t been four-cylinder 3,800-pound Buicks. Does ANYONE currently offer a 3,800-pound sedan with a 180-horsepower (or so) four cylinder?

  • avatar
    WetWilly

    @th009

    Comparing like for like (2WD V6 to 2WD V6), the weight difference is 150-200 lbs, in Hyundai’s favour, but it’s not 400 lbs.

    The closest like-for-like would be the 3.6 V6 FWD LaCrosse CXS without the extra AWD hardware vs the 3.8 V6 RWD Genesis; the LaCrosse weighs 4065 lbs and the Genesis V6 weighs 3748 lbs, a difference of 317 lbs. For that matter, the Genesis 4.6 V8 at 4012 lbs is 53 lbs lighter than the LaCrosse 3.6 V6.

    On top of that, both the 3.0 and 3.6 FWD LaCrosses are EPA-rated at 17/27 while the Genesis 4.6 V8 with a 100-125 hp advantage is EPA-rated at 17/25.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    What’s interesting to me is how many people have commented on this thread. I think the majority of us would have liked to have seen a better vehicle overall. GM just can’t get it right.

    I think the reviewer did a good job.

  • avatar
    ohsnapback

    Unlike the Taurus, this is a truly all new design, ground up, and doesn’t suffer from rogue tire slap and suspension crashing on rough roads.

    Major point for us living in shitty ass road states: Buick

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    A few thoughts:

    1. The major rental car companies don’t buy “rental special” stripper crap cars anymore. I drive cars from Hertz 30+ weeks a year as I travel extensively for my job. I rent “mid-size Mazda 6 or equivalent” every time. I get nicely equiped mid-size cars, often Japanese or Korean. Occasionally something oddball like a Grand Marquis or an SUV if it is what they have left at a smaller airport. I have not gotten a mid-size American car in ages, though that is probably because Hertz considers an Impala or a Malibu as “Full-size”, but I have certainly gotten plenty of both over the years. And Crapsler and Ford cars too when I used to rent from Avis. This week I got stuck with an ’09 Corolla, which is dire on wheels. I had a KIA Forte two weeks ago that was DEEPLY impressive – absolutely KILLS the Corolla in every possible way. So I do not see much shame in selling to the rental agencies these days – I sure get to try out a lot of cars that way.

    2. The 2.3L Saab four is NOT a GM engine in any way shape or form. It is absolutely ancient, and descends though many iterations from the Ricardo Engineering designed Triumph motor that Saab bought in for the 99 way back in the 60′s. The 2.0l Turbo four and 2.8L V6 in the 9-3 IS a GM engine, though Saab had significant engineering input into it. Both are clean sheet of paper designs. The 2.0L Turbo is a fantastic smooth, modern four. I have not driven the 2.8, but other Saab folks call it smooth but very thirsty. These engines should be in the Buick, but they probably cost too much.

    3. On the Lacrosse – I agree, not good enough. I’ll probably get one as a rental eventually. :-)

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    For those of you complaining about being “cocooned” in the driver/front passenger positions, that’s by design. The airbags work best when the person to be protected is in optimum position, and the people in the front seats are most at risk in an accident. In our litigious society, the manufaturers can’t afford to let you roam around in the front seats, so forget the bench seats and ample room to move around.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    This car has flop written all over it. Coming to the table with a severe weight problem (nearly 500 extra lbs over the old model), a much smaller 12.8-13.3 cu. ft. trunk, squinty windows with resulting terrible visibility (thick oversized A-pillars included) 15 LESS lbs ft of torque in a much smaller displacement V6 with resulting gutless lower end performance, mileage figures that have dropped by 2 MPG on the highway with the base 3.0 engine 17/26 vs 17/28 with the old 3800 and 4 speed automatic and a cranky weird shifting 6 speed automatic compared to the always smooth right there 4T65 auto in the old car. Alas lets not forget those cost cutting intrusive trunk hinges that gobble up what little trunk room there is, way too light tan and gray cloth seat material that will soil quicker than your first huge car payment reaches the bank, interior door pull straps that must have been designed by Cosmo the alien frog and plastic fascia wheels that would look more appropriate on a rental Chevy Malibu. Other than fancier interior materials and greater rear seat legroom I fail to see how this is much of a step forwards. The exterior styling fails to deliver too. The silly sweep spear looks tacked on. The “we really didn’t want to add those port holes” located on the hood where they are out of site, mislocated chrome strip on the bottom of the doors where it does no good whatsoever and Lexus cloned rear end with stubby trunk are areas where GM should have known better than to copy from it’s Asian nemesis!
    On the plus side it does have a glovebox light like the old model and lots of toys to entertain the youth market.

  • avatar
    KalapanaBlack

    th009 :
    October 14th, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    “but the decision to fully encapsulated the (trunk) hinges make it nearly unuseable …”

    Actually, it’s not the encapsulation that’s the primary problem: it’s the cost-cutting that dictated old-style intrusive trunk hinges rather than modern non-intrusive ones with struts.

    This is the second review I’ve read (Edmunds was the other) that mentioned the new LaCrosse’s trunk in a negative light. It’s baffling, as all other Epsilon-platform cars have strut-operated trunk hinges, and even the old W-Body LaCrosse/Impala/Grand Prix had struts operating their trunks. Why the sudden cost cutting? Did it really save that much money?

    lawmonkey :
    October 14th, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    First time I saw one of these on the road was when it was leaving…the Austin/Bergstrom rental car lot. Come on GM – I’m rooting for you, but you have to help yourself! To paraphrase Whitney Houston, “[fleet sales] is whack!”

    The only one I’ve seen was a silver CXL (I think; it had smaller alloys) sitting on the Enterprise lot on the way to work. The Buick dealer hasn’t even gotten one yet.

    Michael Karesh :
    October 14th, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    Forgot, about the four-cylinder. There have been four-cylinder Buicks before. But there haven’t been four-cylinder 3,800-pound Buicks. Does ANYONE currently offer a 3,800-pound sedan with a 180-horsepower (or so) four cylinder?

    Not sure, but I’ve driven approximately 3.9 million Ecotec-powered Malibus, Auras, and G6s, and they all feel utterly gutless, even the Malibu LTZs and Aura XRs with the six-speed auto (the G6 with its antiquated four-speed is nearly pointless). And they all weigh hundreds of pounds less than this car.

    All that said, I’m (Olds?) intrigued by the CXS version. It looks fantastic in a fairly nondescript sedan kind of way, which really seems to be what attracts me to a car. Further, I don’t have particularly high expectations for sales, and relatively rare cars attract me, too. So, I’m thinking a loaded CXS might be a decent used buy in 3-4 years.

  • avatar
    KalapanaBlack

    krhodes1 :
    October 14th, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    A few thoughts:

    1. The major rental car companies don’t buy “rental special” stripper crap cars anymore. I drive cars from Hertz 30+ weeks a year as I travel extensively for my job. I rent “mid-size Mazda 6 or equivalent” every time. I get nicely equiped mid-size cars, often Japanese or Korean. Occasionally something oddball like a Grand Marquis or an SUV if it is what they have left at a smaller airport. I have not gotten a mid-size American car in ages, though that is probably because Hertz considers an Impala or a Malibu as “Full-size”, but I have certainly gotten plenty of both over the years. And Crapsler and Ford cars too when I used to rent from Avis. This week I got stuck with an ‘09 Corolla, which is dire on wheels. I had a KIA Forte two weeks ago that was DEEPLY impressive – absolutely KILLS the Corolla in every possible way. So I do not see much shame in selling to the rental agencies these days – I sure get to try out a lot of cars that way.

    We recently upped the Hyundai Elantra from compact to YC “Specialty Midsize.” I think in preparation for buying Elantra Tourings.

    Agreed about the Forte. We’ve been getting those and ’10 Souls, which is also an excellent car. Althought, after two years, we definitely buy lower-grade vehicles now than we used to. I used to regularly see Explorer Eddie Bauers, LaCrosse and Lucerne CXSs, Impala SSs, Grand Prix GXPs, Mazda6 V6s, Sonata LXs, Azera Limiteds, and Avalon XLSs. Now, we see base models nearly across the board.

    And, yes, even at the midsize price point you may still get a Corolla with no cruise or power locks. Ugh… At least they have standard power windows now (not standard through ’08).

  • avatar
    boyphenom666

    “doctorv8: Nice review, Michael. If I were in the market for an oversized sedan with SUV like height, the SHO has it all over the LaCrosse from a performance standpoint, and likely in the luxo-gadget count as well. A Ford with more performance and luxury than a Buick…imagine telling someone from 1955 about that!”

    Funny you should make this comment, because I’ve been anxiously awaiting the introduction of this car for some time because it seemed to have the right style, and I liked the idea of an American Lexus. Ironically, the last car that piqued my interest this much was the Ford 500 because it was billed as being a poor man’s Volvo S-60, since it was built on that platform. The big knock on that car was that it had an anemic engine and how ironic it is that the Buick Lacrosse seems to suffer from the same problem.

  • avatar
    ohsnapback

    For everyone harping on curb weight, the Taurus is as or more portly and heavy than the LaCross, and doesn’t generate significantly more HP or Torque from an older and less refined motor in N/A form (the old Duratec).

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    ohsnapback – The 3.5 liter Duratec isn’t an old an unrefined motor. The 3.5 is a clean sheet design vs the older 3.0 model, but with the addition of variable valve timing even the 3.0 is hardly an old and unrefined design.

    The GM 3.0 in the CXL makes 255hp/217 ft/lbs while getting 17/26 mpg. vs the Duratec 3.5s 263 hp/249 ft/lbs and getting 18/27 mpg, despite being more portly. The 3.6 edges out the naturally aspirated Ford engine at 280 hp/ 259 ft/lbs, and still gets 17/26, but can’t even come close to the SHOs 365 hp and 350 ft/lbs while getting the same city mileage at 17, and only one less highway mpg at 25, despite nearly 100 more hp, a full 100 more foot pounds of torque, and the addition of AWD, plus considerable extra weight.

  • avatar
    ohsnapback

    NullModo:

    With all due respect, the 3.5 liter Duratec has been described as coarse and grainy by publications ranging from Consumer Reports to Car&Driver to MotorTrend.

    I’m not so sure comparing the 3.6 GM motor to the EcoBoost (a much costlier option) is quite fair. I’d like to see what a twin turbo setup in the 3.0 or 3.6 GM motor would do.

    As for weight, the difference between the Taurus and LaCross is negligible.

    I will agree with you that AWD option on the Taurus is advantage Ford even though I think of AWD in anything other than a car such as the Nissan GT-R or certain Audis as unnecessary in all but the most unforgiving climates – good tires for inclement weather have come a long way in the last decade.

    I’m not a huge critic of the Taurus, though I will concede my bias that I think of it as a restyled, warmed over last gen, with flashier sheet metal and an (admittedly) higher quality interior than the outgoing model.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    Does ANYONE currently offer a 3,800-pound sedan with a 180-horsepower (or so) four cylinder?

    They’re not sedans per se, but the Toyota Venza (& Highlander for that matter) 4-cyl variants weigh at least that much.

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    Maybe it´s good enough for the americans, but don´t bother to send it over here(Europe).
    It looks good but that´s all.

  • avatar
    Brock_Landers

    quote: The all-wheel-drive system includes the active rear differential pioneered by the Saab 9-3 Turbo X. This differential counteracts understeer by routing torque to the outside wheel in turns.

    In 1995 R33 Skyline GT-R introduced exactly this technology :) So Saab hasn’t pioneered anything! :)

  • avatar
    PennSt8

    “For everyone harping on curb weight, the Taurus is as or more portly and heavy than the LaCross, and doesn’t generate significantly more HP or Torque from an older and less refined motor in N/A form (the old Duratec).”

    The D35 has been around since 2006. If this were the 3.5 Toyota mill we were talking about I’d concede but this is a GM power plant, and I highly doubt it’s much more refined (if at all) over its Ford counterpart.

    I also find it amusing when people ramble on about Ford’s dated and warmed over platforms. So long as said platforms offer up the right amount stiffness, superior crash test scores and can be fitted to chassis that doesn’t induce motion sickness who cares how old it is. Besides how much of the D3 platform has been replaced/updated? Better question….are the platforms that every other automaker in this size class utilize all new, or we’re all new at last redesign?

  • avatar

    Nice Review MKaresh

    This car is for old people – or people who just want a nice car to get from point A to point B.

    Doesn’t hold a candle to a Lexus or Benz, but does well in its segment. I like it more than the Taurus.

  • avatar

    READ THIS REVIEW on the LACROSSE and TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK:

    http://www.epinions.com/review/2010_Buick_LaCrosse_epi/content_483387018884

  • avatar
    KalapanaBlack

    Brock_Landers :
    October 15th, 2009 at 3:59 am

    quote: The all-wheel-drive system includes the active rear differential pioneered by the Saab 9-3 Turbo X. This differential counteracts understeer by routing torque to the outside wheel in turns.

    In 1995 R33 Skyline GT-R introduced exactly this technology :) So Saab hasn’t pioneered anything! :)

    Further, isn’t this exactly the purpose and operation of Honda’s SH-AWD system, which hit the market back in 2005 on the Acura RL?

    PennSt8 :
    October 15th, 2009 at 4:27 am

    “For everyone harping on curb weight, the Taurus is as or more portly and heavy than the LaCross, and doesn’t generate significantly more HP or Torque from an older and less refined motor in N/A form (the old Duratec).”

    The D35 has been around since 2006. If this were the 3.5 Toyota mill we were talking about I’d concede but this is a GM power plant, and I highly doubt it’s much more refined (if at all) over its Ford counterpart.

    With all due respect, the GM 3.6s I have experienced in the Malibu, Aura, Gen1 LaCrosse, CTS, Vue, Equinox, and Suzuki XL7 have been extremely smooth at idle, sonically sophisticated, and very smooth with respect to power delivery. I expect the updated LaCrosse version to be even moreso. I have lots of respect for the Duratec 35 – it’s a strong engine with good power and decent fuel economy – but it is simply quite a bit rougher than the GM HF 3.6, which is closer to the smoothness of the Toyota GR and MZ V6s in passenger car applications (such as the Camry, Avalon, and Lexus ES).

  • avatar

    As far as I’m concerned, the best full sized car I ever drove was the 750 BMW. The only reason I bought the S550 instead was that the 7 was smaller inside.

    People who buy Buicks typically aren’t sport car buyers and typically aren’t speeders. These are retiree cars (like the MKS) for people who want a taste of the luxury they’ve been missing while they were working stiffs.

    I didn’t really get a taste of true luxury till I stepped into the S-class. Till I was 26 I thought the Escalade was the most awesome car ever. Now I’m test driving S63 AMG’s and BMW 760′s and Lamborghni’s and S8′s and having the time of my life.

    Still, the Buick Lacrosse is gonna do WELL in China. The Chinese still hate the Japanese and perfer American Buicks to Japanese cars. Theey buy twice as many Buicks as Americans do. The Chinese helped design this car in fact.

  • avatar
    dolorean23

    @KalapanaBlack We recently upped the Hyundai Elantra from compact to YC “Specialty Midsize.” I think in preparation for buying Elantra Tourings.

    Ugh, really? I loathe the Elantra sedan, completely ghastly in its design. Be honest though when you look at the Elantra Touring do you see the ghost of the Opel Astra 5 door?

    Autosavant :

    When was the last time someone paid sticker for ANY Domestic, or even for a Nissan for that matter?

    Actually I can think of a lot of examples, but would all be in the top of the line sports cars such as the Cobra R, Vette ZR-1, and Nissan GT-R to name but a few. Of course, most paid over the sticker, but point is the same.

    Durwood So how much does it cost? That seems to be a big omission to have the price left out of the review. I think if it is about equal to the Taurus on price, i would rather have the Taurus. After looking at both recently while getting my Saturn serviced (traveling 65 miles one way now for a dealership) I gotta say the Taurus just feels better and without the old man feel to it, and for the price I’d take the Taurus.

  • avatar

    I notice alot of people knocking the interior space. THANK YOU.

    Interior space on the Lacrosse was underwhelming for a few reasons.

    #1 The steering column doesn’t tilt high enough and the dashboard is too low for the taller people. The Chrysler 300 actually got this VERY RIGHT.

    #2 The driver’s seat is bolted farther forward than necessary.

    #3 The console on the transmission tunnel rises too high for the knees.

  • avatar
    IdiotSavant

    The Japanese hit it out of the box, always it seems, on the first try.

    Except that pesky Toyota Echo, Suzuki Samurai, and anything by Isuzu.

    Don’t think I want one, but if you can strip away any preconceived prejudices of the brand, and leave the hoon-lust at home, it’s actually a pleasant, real world people hauler.

  • avatar
    ohsnapback

    The Japanese hit it out of the box, always it seems, on the first try.

    The Honda Insight and Acura TL & RL aren’t exactly lighting up sales’ charts or editorial enthusiasm.

  • avatar

    ———Durwood So how much does it cost? That seems to be a big omission to have the price left out of the review.———–

    ILL ASK AGAIN.

    CAN WE PUT THE AS TESTED PRICE NEXT TO THE NAME OF THE CAR AND AT THE BEGGINING OF THE REVIEW?

    SHOULDN’T BE TOO HARD.

  • avatar

    Overly thick A-pillars and a high belt line are tricks used in the Taurus, the 300 and numerous other cars to strengthen side impact resistance. I looked up crash test results on numerous cars with these elements and they all score very well.

  • avatar
    IdiotSavant

    Flashpoint : READ THIS REVIEW on the LACROSSE and TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK…

    I think bigtruckseries needs to get a room with a LaCrosse.

  • avatar
    Bridge2far

    “When was the last time someone paid sticker for ANY Domestic, or even for a Nissan for that matter?”

    Currently selling at MSRP (or above)- Cadillac SRX, Chevrolet Camaro, Equinox, GMC Terrain, Buick LaCrosse…

  • avatar
    meefer

    Looking forward to the HS writeup and hoping I can get over the fact it looks like a Corolla.

  • avatar
    npbheights

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Savant_syndrome

  • avatar
    jeremy5000

    I guess Lexus is the new Buick, so it makes sense that Buick would copy one. Also, remember how GM dashboards never used to fit or flow nicely into the door panels, well it appears they are remedying that by doing nothing but making flowing door/dash panels. An allude to the future of overused styling cues perhaps?

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    The rear seat, a bit low to the floor in the traditional GM manner…

    This is why I don’t own a GM car. I understand why they do this:
    * They love coupe rooflines and need to make up for the lack of headroom
    * The low bench makes it look like there’s more rear-seat space than there actually is
    * Most people at GM still think it’s 1962.
    …but I still wish they wouldn’t. It also makes me suspect that most GM** cars are styled, designed and engineered by people who never, ever have to ride in the back of (or own and maintain) their own car.

    Extraordinarily broad A-pillars (why?)

    Convertible? With the Solara gone, the Sebring pathetic and everything else either tiny or hideously expensive, there’s a small but present market for a touring convertible that seats four in comfort.

    ** and most German models

  • avatar
    davey49

    “can i ask why a medium sedan needs to be 4,200lb?
    and why do they think a 3.0 v6 is gonna motivate it?”

    4200/255= 16.47lbs/hp
    anything under 20 lbs/hp is fine

    “Except that pesky Toyota Echo, Suzuki Samurai, and anything by Isuzu”

    Isuzu yes, Echo and Samurai no. The Echo/Vitz/Belta/Platz/Yaris or whatever you want to call Toyota’s B segment car has always been sucessful.
    The Suzuki Jimny (Samurai) has been in constant production since 1965.
    You should try to think internationally when contemplating the car business.
    Isuzu’s MD truck business is quite successful

  • avatar
    revolver1978

    3400 lbs and 180 HP . . . the Toytoa Venza comes to mind, though that’s similar platfrom with a different purpose body. . . .

    I have to agree with Karesh, a 180HP four in a car this heavy doesn’t sound “luxury” or “near luxury” or whatever Buick means thease days.

    Design-wise, I really love this vehicle, save two elements: 1. Someone mentioned in a review on antoher website that the radio buttons resemble a robotic puppy face. When I look at it that’s all I can see now. Freaky. 2. The headlights, nicely shaped, remind me of the Chevy Cruze. All-in-all, the exterior reminds me a bit of the Infiniti Q, another handsome, but heavy car.

  • avatar
    MattPete

    Based on looks alone, this is the first Buick I’d ever consider buying. Perhaps I’ll look at one in a few years when I go to trade in my 3-series (with new kids, I’m thinking of ‘trading-down’ to something roomier and with an automatic, like an Acura).


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