By on February 17, 2012

 


GM’s track record has been less than stellar. First we had the Saturn Vue Green Line, a very “mild” hybrid that paled next to competitors like the Ford Escape. Next came the extraordinarily expensive 2-mode hybrid system used in GM’s pickup trucks and full-sized SUVs, which cost far too much and delivered far too little. Finally, we have the Volt – ’nuff said. No wonder GM’s latest hybrid endeavor has come to market with little fanfare, no “hybrid” logos on the vehicle and no hybrid branding from GM. Can we honestly call the 2012 Buick LaCrosse eAssist a hybrid?

While the LaCrosse’s styling is dominated by slab sides and FWD proportions, the overall look is handsome, even elegant. Compared to the ES350, the Buick looks a touch more sedate while looking less like its kissing cousin the Chevy Malibu. The fairly high belt-line and increasingly popular four-door-coupe roof-line give the 16.5 foot long Buick an almost modern flair (without being so modern as to drive away traditional Buick shoppers.) Despite the modern styling, Buick has stuck to their dubious “ventiports” which make even less sense now than before with our 4-cylinder LaCrosse sporting six portholes. Maybe port 5 represents the motor and 6 is the battery?

While the new LaCrosse’s interior is not class leading in any way, it is uniquely styled. Personally I’m not a fan of the steeply sloped doors but the 40-inches of rear leg room may compensate for that. The dashboard in our tester sported Buick’s new “stitched” dash which is an injection molded plastic dash that has “cuts”  molded in and is then stitched with thread to give the look of a stitched dash without the cost. Overall, the effect works, but the acres of fake wood are less convincing. I understand the need to differentiate between Cadillac and Buick, but the lack of real tree in the LaCrosse is a problem when Buick’s self-proclaimed Lexus competition having plenty of burl-forest standard.


While many hybrid vehicles ditch the folding rear seats due to the battery pack’s location, the LaCrosse continues to offer a pass-through – although it is about 50% smaller than the V6 model’s hole-in-the-trunk. Also on the list of complaints is a trunk that has shrunk to 10.7 cubic feet and is still hampered by trunk hinges that restrict the cargo area. The lost space is given to the hybrid battery pack and associated cooling ducts. Instead of a spare tire in the trunk you’ll find an empty cavity with a tire inflation kit. Why not toss the battery into the unused spare tire space?

The first generation Belt-Alternator-Starter or BAS system GM used in the Saturn Vue and Chevy Malibu “hybrids” was unloved by the press, ignored by shoppers and euthanized after a short time on the market. Instead of trying to resurrect the fantastically expensive “two-mode”  system, GM went back to basics and fixed what was wrong with the BAS hybrid in the first place. GM threw out the ancient 4-speed automatic and replaced it with a new 6-speed unit. The two extra gears allowed Buick to change the final drive ratio for better “hybrid” performance while still having a fairly broad range of lower gears for passing and take-off. Next, they ditched the low-capacity 36V NiMH battery replacing it with a modern 115V lithium-ion pack. The transformation was finished off by a liquid-cooled motor/generator packing three times the punch of the previous generation (15HP and 79lb-ft of torque). In addition to being more powerful, the motor and electronics are designed for nearly continuous use allowing the hybrid system to operate over a broader range of speeds and conditions. The result is a 0.2 second improvement in the LaCrosse’s 0-60 time and a 25% improvement in fuel economy over the outgoing un-eAssisted LaCrosse. Despite the improvements, GM decided to take a cautious approach and is not calling the new system a hybrid, nor are they including the motor’s assistance in the 182 horsepower or 172 lb-ft torque numbers. The ES350, on the other hand, is inexplicably unavailable as a hybrid.

The addition of a battery and motor alone didn’t achieve the 25 MPG city and 36 MPG highway numbers – the Lacrosse eAssist relies on  active grille shutters, altered gear ratios, low rolling resistance tires, a new trunk spoiler, and aero improvements under the car to help get these numbers. The combination of eAssist and the other improvements are what increase the all-important combined economy score from 23 mpg to a 29 mpg. The highway figure of 36 mpg is possible due to the new final drive ratio, which allows the 2.4L engine to spin at a leisurely 2,000 RPM at 70MPH. Without eAssist, this would be a problem upon encountering a slight rise in the terrain as GM’s 6-speed auto is notoriously reluctant to down shift. Fortunately, the 79lb-ft of torque provided by the BAS motor enables the LaCrosse to deal with freeway overpasses and gentle rolling hills without downshifting or slowing. In comparison, the Acura TL delivers 20/29 MPG, the ES350 is less efficient at 19/28 and the Lincoln MKS rounds out the bottom of this pack at 17/25. The Buick is by far the least powerful in this group and some might rightly compare it to Lincoln’s premium hybrid, the MKZ, which returns 41/36 MPG, but the MKZ is a smaller vehicle.


Our LaCrosse averaged 29.9MPG during our 674 mile week with the car. While the start/stop system helped keep the LaCrosse from sipping fuel at stoplights, the system has to idle the engine to run the air conditioning so your mileage in hotter climates is likely to vary considerably. If you value MPGs over cool air, there’s an “ECO” button which tells the car to sacrifice cabin cooling in the name of efficiency. The transmission is fairly smooth, but to aid energy-regeneration, the 6-speed unit is programmed to be as eager to downshift when slowing as it is to upshift when accelerating. No matter what the engine and transmission are doing, the cabin remains eerily quiet due to some extensive work on the sound insulation. This car isn’t just quiet for a near-luxury car, it’s quiet for any car, period. Serenity does have a downside, as my better half was quite put off by the engine start/stops and downshifts when stopping, which were made somewhat more prominent by the silence. Personally, they didn’t bother me at all so be sure to get in a good road test before you live with the car.


On the tech front, our LaCrosse was equipped with the standard 8-inch touchscreen radio and optional navigation system. I found the user interface considerably easier to use than the system in the Cadillac CTS, and was amused by graphics and colors reminiscent of Star Trek The Next Generation. Buyers not willing to spend $1,345 on the optional nav system, can still get turn-by-turn directions via OnStar, although only the first 6 months of the service are free. iPhone and iPod integration are easy to use, and the user interface is very responsive. Unfortunately the maze of physical buttons are not as intuitive as the on-screen menus. Even after a week, I was unable to stab a button in the dark without taking my eyes off the road. Buick offers blind-spot monitoring on the LaCrosse in a $1,440 “confidence package” which also includes steering xenon headlamps and GM’s vacuum-fluorescent heads up display. You can see some images of the HUD in the gallery below. The monochrome display shows basic navigation instructions, speed and a digital tach but falls well short of the polish BMW’s HUD possesses. Absent at any price is adaptive cruise control or collision warning, features available in a majority of the competition including the ES350.

Out on the road the LaCrosse handles just like you’d expect from 3,835lbs of Buick; it squats, dives and serves up plenty of body roll in the corners, but then again so do the Lexus, Hyundai Azera and Lincoln MKS. If you want sporty and can handle the looks, roll into an Acura dealership for a TL. Buick has set pricing for the LaCrosse eAssist at $29,045 for the base model. Should you step up to the “LaCrosse with Convenience Group” at $29,600, you can choose between the 303 HP V6 or the eAssist drivetrain for the same price. AWD LaCrosse models are available only with the 3.6L engine. While Buick is quick to call the engines choice a “no-cost option”, the eAssist base model is $2,830 more than last year’s base four-cylinder model. At essentially 30-large, the base eAssist LaCrosse compares favorably with the $36,725 base price of the ES350.

As our week with the LaCrosse ended I was more confused about eAssist than I was when it started. This confusion has nothing to do with the actual system itself which worked flawlessly and had a decent impact on fuel economy, it had everything to do with GM’s naming conventions. Somehow I’m not be surprised that the first hybrid viable hybrid from GM, mild or otherwise, would receive little fanfare. While the LaCrosse will never set your heart alight with excitement, it combines an excellent ride, cabin noise levels that Rolls Royce engineers are probably trying to replicate and decent fuel economy with a $35,195 as tested MSRP. While I’d probably still buy the more expensive ES350 ($41,240 similarly equipped), the Buick is a solid product with decent mileage at a compelling price.

Buick provided the vehicle, one tank of gas and insurance for this review

Specifications as tested

0-30 MPH: 2.8 Seconds

0-60 MPH: 7.9 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 16.22 Seconds at 85.7 MPH

Average Fuel Economy: 29.9 MPG over 674 miles

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78 Comments on “Review: 2012 Buick LaCrosse eAssist...”


  • avatar
    Flybrian

    “Despite the modern styling, Buick has stuck to their dubious “ventiports” which make even less sense now than before with our 4-cylinder LaCrosse sporting six portholes.”

    Remember that historically, ventiport count did not always equal cylinder count. In the seventies/eighties, Electras wore 4-holes per side while LeSabres (like mine) wore 3. Actually, mine has 7 ventiports total, but that’s another story.

    Also, thanks for the nice review. And thanks for calling attention to the HUD, which GM was a pioneer of and I am a HUGE fan of. This is a car I’m very interested in and the choice of V6 va eAssist would be a difficult one.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    Curious. What exactly would one be recording with the radio in the car?

    • 0 avatar
      VanillaDude

      Its a Buick.
      So, it would be recording something like,
      “Susan? Sooosan? Honey? Honey, can you hear me?”
      “Did you want me to stop at this rest area, or at the Bob Evans when we stop for a senior coffee?”

      “Damn it, I told you not to wake me up! I need to sleep off that medication Dr. Logan put me on for my night sweats and cramps. Did you take your pill last night?”

      “Yeah, but what good should I take it if we aren’t going to do it?”

      “Your doctor told you it’s supposed to kick up your T count whether we do it or not.”

      “So, we’re going to do it tonight at the hotel?”

      “Are you out of your mind? The way I am feeling? What’s up with the damn dashboard on this car? I can’t find a decent damn radio station. Where’s that Eagles CD?”

      “What the hell does this mean? “REC?” This thing plays record albums?”

      “Shhhht, no! Why is that thing on?”

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff Waingrow

        Dude’s still living in his world of make-believe. Being scared of getting older doesn’t mean it won’t happen. And when it does, you’ll be your own worst joke.

      • 0 avatar
        carbiz

        Sorry, but round these parts, Toyotas are the favored vehicle for those that either can’t drive (Markham, Ontario) or just plain loathe driving. In all fairness, the GTA has become Japan Inc’s wet dream in the past decade, but it seems awfully strange that when there is a chain of 8 cars desperately wanting to pass some car that is sitting in the left lane on the expressway, doing EXACTLY the speed limit, it is usually a Toyota.
        Besides, 60 is the new 50, which therefore follows that I am 40.

    • 0 avatar
      carbiz

      I dunno: my portable XM got some good mileage while out walking my dog, or at the beach. It had a huge memory capacity and for awhile I amassed quite the library before downloading, via the headphone jack, the music to my computer.
      All these advanced car systems have UBS ports, so connection to a laptop or smartphone would make saving the music you’ve recorded fairly easy. XM/Sieius is quite cool.
      My new assignment takes me to an exoburb of Toronto for which the commute can very from 35 minutes to 90 just by leaving 20 minutes sooner or later. (Suck it, L.A., you ain’t got nuthin’ on the traffic in the GTA!)
      Heck, I could mix the next Madonna Cd while driving this Buick. Nothing else to do at 15 mph for an HOUR AND A HALF,

  • avatar
    JCraig

    Sounds like a solid contender from GM, given the lower MSRP.

    I noticed the dash looks slightly warped over the glove box. Is it off or was it supposed to look like that, with the glove box dipping in slightly?

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Well, this appears to work, it appears not to work…I conclude that the E-Assist does work…kind of…

    Still, this is a very nice-looking car. I’ll check one out tomorrow at the Cincinnati Auto Show. Is there a Buick in my future? I have no idea – it depends what my needs are when it comes time to replace my Impala, but when I do, the B&B will know it!

    I won’t buy a Toyota, that’s for sure.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Considering the excellent experience I had in a ’12 Camry hybrid* (the one built down the road from you in Lexington, KY), I think you’re doing a disservice to yourself by not at least considering the ‘yota. The new 2.5L HSD is excellent: fast and efficient. The redesigned Avalon and redesigned ES should have the 2.5L HSD drivetrain as well. Those will be considerably pricier than the Camry Hybrid, though.

      * I test drove one earlier this week as my wife finalize what we’re going to get for our family hauler. Hauler is a pretty appropriate word for the Camry hybrid. The planetary gear CVT means that your engine smoothly moves to the optimal RPM for acceleration and you get to make best use of those 200hp on tap. It is shockingly quick and does so without the downshift shock of an automatic transmission. My 6 mile loop, with hard acceleration over a high crest suspension bridge, interstate overpass, and interstate onramp with scattered red lights returned 37mpg. As far as NHV, it was excellent (as was the chassis; much better than what I remember from the previous gen Camry). 15 cu. in trunk, too. If Toyota still saw fit to make a Camry wagon, I’d have 100% been in the Camry hybrid camp for our family hauler. As it stands, the wife wants a wagon. I can’t say I blame her for all the baby stuff we’re going to be dragging around soon.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        What you really want is a 2012 Volvo 240 wagon. A no-nonsense 5-place wagon built on a modern platform with a big cargo area, excellent durability, adequate but not excessive power, good fuel economy and a modern powerplant. A hybrid version would make considerable sense.

        I want one, too.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        (gritting my teeth, steam arising out of my mussed hair, fists clenched)

        YEAH, I KNOW THEY”RE BUILT DOWN THE ROAD!!!

        Still…My “hatred” of Toyota goes back to 1971 when a friend bought a yellow Corolla 2 door wagon and his family owned a blue Corona. I “hated” them ’cause they ran very well compared to almost any American car back then and I got very angry as why the OEMs didn’t want to emulate the reliability and fuel efficiency of what clearly was a coming tidal wave that would utterly smash the domestics in the future. If a 19/20-year-old kid could see that, why couldn’t the highly-educated suits in Detroit see that, too?

        No, I whole-heartedly respect Toyota – albeit grudgingly…

        PS: I will give them at least a “once-over tomorrow!

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        Yup a 2012 240 would do it. I want practicality, safety, reliability, and efficiency. The Camry hybrid is a hatch away from being perfect. Right now, the Prius v is the closest I can find. The chassis isn’t as well damped as the Camry.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        The man has his preferences, no amount of pestering him is going to change his mind. What works for you will not necessarily work for him…

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      That’s the funny thing about this review: Here you have a system that gives you a %25 increase in mileage – a large car that gets an average of 30mpg – and the writer (with humor-I get it) sort of implies it’s just OK.

      It’s really impressive.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        See I’m not that impressed because a brand new V6 Impala or V6 Charger gets 30 mpg hwy with a trunks that are 19 and 17 cu ft respectively. A big car with a tiny trunk makes about as much sense as a small hands on a fat man.

  • avatar
    tallnikita

    I don’t care if the car gives me a hand job at each traffic light – I will never ever ever buy a car that has fake vents, especially in the most non-sensical place on top of the hood. Designers smoke crack much?

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      Yeah god forbid there is something on a car that sets it apart from the other look alike blandmobiles out there even if this small of a thing. In my ideal world every Buick would have venti-ports, Chevys would have round taillights, Pontiacs twin kidney grilles and minor side ribs etc. I would love a return to the days of being able to tell one car apart from another without looking at the badge or grille.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        Ponchoman49, +1. My father and his brother would sit on the front porch of his parents house in the 1950s and 60s and play a game to see who could identify cars coming down the state highway at the farthest distance. I think that would be a hard game to play today.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        @ Ponchoman49:

        Man, I like how you think!

        I’m adding “sidescript” of the model name to your list. I’m tired of plain sides of a car where you have to look at the back to see what it is.

      • 0 avatar
        tallnikita

        Yeah, because everyone needs ventiports for the engine compartment right in front of their windshield. Why not dildos? That’ll be rather distinguishable. Attach them with a coil spring and you can watch dildo lean to the side as you generate g-forces.

    • 0 avatar
      Secret Hi5

      What about hummers? Would that clinch the deal?

    • 0 avatar
      Prado

      A significant portion of the grill on many new cars is a ‘fake’ vent. It would be nice to see these go away too.

    • 0 avatar
      David

      Why NOT have ventiports? Why complain of a car styling cue whose only function is beauty. If you’re taking a Consumer Reports perspective, and a car is simply an appliance for transportation, then I could understand it. Whether we’re talking about cars, clothing, or whatever, style matters. Please note the following items which have no significant function, but add style and beauty.
      • Chrome trim around windows
      • Deep gloss/shine on the paint
      • Audi’s LED headlight outlines
      • Aggressive grilles

      If style and beauty are wrong, please petition to have earrings, hairdos, makeup and jewelry outlawed. Oh, and oil paintings by Rembrandt.

    • 0 avatar
      tonyola

      So a little detail like side vents is going to keep you from buying an otherwise-good car? Strange priorities. Besides, many Buicks since 1949 have had ventiports. Buick can claim more right to wear the ports than most other makers.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    So it rides like the typical Buick, and handles like a typical Buick so how again is Buick going after a more youthful market? Just by looks and styling? I can buy a set of after market fake vents and put them in my Crapolla and it’ll still look fake.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    “The ES350, on the other hand, is inexplicably unavailable as a hybrid”

    I’ve thought that myself. You’d think, of all Lexus’ models, it would be the most likely candidate.

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      My wife and I thought of this as well. When she bought her es in 2007 the first model year she asked about a hybrid option. The next year the GS gets one??? Nobody buys the GS so what was the point. IMO if they had placed the same engine in the ES it would be there best seller. Admittedly the Lexus is not for me but my wife loves it. The one thing that I like a lot is that it is deceptively fast. It is however rather loud with wind noise around the A pillar. My wife would never consider the Buick but has looked at the new MKZ online. Maybe her next right in two years. All that said I think that Buick is doing a rather good job overall on interior and exterior styling.Tighten up the ride a bit and it may be good to go.

    • 0 avatar
      LectroByte

      Huh? I thought the ES350 was the Lexus version of the Camry, and I thought the HS250 was Lexus version of the Camry Hybrid. Has it been discontinued or something?

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        The HS is quite a bit smaller; it’s a sort-of hybrid Avensis, which is a bit between the Corolla and Camry.

        The ES, which is practically a Camry reskin, would have made more sense: more space, less brittle ride, an already-extant powertrain in the Camry and it’s a big volume seller for Lexus. The HS never made much sense.

      • 0 avatar
        LectroByte

        Thanks, I didn’t realize HS250 != Camry Hybrid++. Not that I am ever too likely to be in the market for a Lexus anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      Volt 230

      So buy the Camry Hybrid and use the savings to take a nice trip!

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Better combined, journalist backed, mpg for full size luxury, non-hybird car than the non-hybrid will ever see? Probably better mpg than M35 luxury cars that don’t have a 4-cylinder too.

    For you Toyota fanboys, the Camry is not a luxury car.

    • 0 avatar
      Volt 230

      Can you please explain the diff between the Camry XLE V6 with leather, sunroof, sat/nav system and an ES? Other than double the cost of an oil change at the local Toyota/Lexus dealer?

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        I think when the ES300 first debuted there were probably several notable differences between it and a loaded Camry, but since the ’03 [ugly] redesign I tend to agree with you. You buy the name I suppose.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Buick hasn’t been a luxury car for well over 50 years either. Your point? A Camry certainly gets more respect than a Buick. When someone is seen in a Buick, the best they can hope for is pitty.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    $30,000 is a great price for what you get, IMO.

    Question: Did you notice if the vehicle speed on the HUD matched that in the dash? In my rental LaCrosse, the HUD speed was about 3 MPH higher . . .

    It was a great car to drive after a hard day at work, but just like in the Regal, there are too many buttons in the center console.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    The LaCrosse is a pretty car, and the interior looks great, but I can’t get past the 10.7 cu.ft. trunk. I commend GM for having the guts to put an unblown 4-cylinder in a full-sized car, but the e-assist takes so much trunk space, I don’t see how this car can fulfill it’s full-sized mission. It’s true that the Fusion & MKZ hybrids and the Sonata hybrid have trunks basically the same size, but those are full hybrids and less oriented towards a full-sized buyer. If they handed me the keys to this car at the Alamo desk at the airport, I’d be pissed. To me, the half-assed trunk shows that this car was rushed to the market. It would have been better if they would have waited until they could design a body style with 2-4 more cu.ft. of trunk space. Note: the 2013 Malibu has over 12 cu.ft. of trunk space with eAsssist on the same platform. The 2012 Camry hybrid delivers 13.1 cu.ft of trunk with full-hybrid mpg.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    40 in of rear leg room and the 3.6VVT engine makes me excited about this as a luxury car. Hybrid model? Meh…

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      I like that it’s a hybrid, and normally I’d appreciate the rear legroom, but the LaCrosse is kind of cramped. It’s a big car for short people.

      If you want a luxury car with maximum spread-out room, you’re basically talking about the Sienna Limited.

      • 0 avatar
        alluster

        “BAS isn’t particularly complex. ”
        +1. It is a simple, low cost option that bumps the fuel economy to class leading levels without bumping the price to hybrid levels. It actually works great for the Lacrosse with sales twice as many as the ES and TL. It added $2500 to the base price to bring the price in line with V6 models and also allowed Buick to claim best in class fuel economy. They could barely keep the E-Assist models on stock.

        http://media.gm.com/content/media/us/en/buick/news.detail.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2011/Nov/1130_buick

      • 0 avatar
        Herm

        eAssist option is priced at $690 on the Canadian LaCrosse web site but it is bundled with other things so I dont think you can actually buy it for that price. GM would be smart to extend that offer to other cars and trucks in its line. The only issue is finding room for the battery pack.

        The start-stop feature alone will save a ton of money in crowded cities…

  • avatar
    doctor olds

    Those critical of Buick’s venti-ports may note that Maserati has copied Buick’s design from the 50′s and several premium SUVs sport similar styling features.

  • avatar
    carguy

    That seems like a lot of complex technology for average results. Why not just option up a Camry SE? It gets 25/35 MPG without all the complex electronics, has better visibility and is a good deal cheaper.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      BAS isn’t particularly complex. It’s a big, fat starter motor with a big, fat battery attached to it.

      To be honest, most hybrid powertrains aren’t that complex, and most (Honda being the exception) are proving very reliable. Hybrid powertrains actually lead a much less stressed life than conventional ones, and don’t peg the battery like EVs do.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Isn’t Camry platformed used in their suvs and trucks? Or is that Honda?

    Buick’s Epsilon ll platform is strict made for cars and is new. How old is that Camry platform?

  • avatar
    Alex L. Dykes

    The XV40 is essentially the 2007-2011 Camry and the 2007-2012 Lexus ES. White the Venza, Sienna, Avalon and others are more or less Camry based, Toyota seems to share a great deal less among variants so I don’t know if you could really say that much is shared between the other variants other than the engine, transaxle and and perhaps some suspension similarities.

  • avatar
    alluster

    “Maybe port 5 represents the motor and 6 is the battery?”

    LOL.

    Can anyone educate me on the use of fake wood. I mean is wood so expensive that automakers have to resort to stupid gimmicks to fool everyone. Isn’t real wood very cheap? GM should do away with fake wood in their Buicks and the new Malibu. It looks cheap and is not fooling anyone.

    • 0 avatar
      JCraig

      I have wondered this too about fake wood. Is it really any cheaper to manufacture fake wood?? Couldn’t a factory in China be set up to cut and polish wood by the boatload?

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        It’s not the wood is expensive, it’s that plastic is incredibly cheap and doesn’t tend to warp, discolour or desiccate. I mean, you could shape and polish and treat it, but when we’re talking hundreds of thousands of products, and if it’s pennies versus dollars, wood could end up costing millions.

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      If Lincoln can do a $495 option package to insert real wood in the MKZ (and a few other doodads) and no doubt make it profitable to manufacture, warrant, etc, then you can bet it doesn’t cost *that* much.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    They layout in the trunk makes the system look like a Rube Goldberg design.

    I’m in the load-up-the-Camry (or Fusion) school of thought. The Lacrosse is not that much nicer (although you can pretend it has “style” if you like) and, as long as I’m spending for a part-electric drivetrain, I’d rather get the better performance and fuel eocnomy of the Camry for less money.

    • 0 avatar
      ixim

      The Buick is nicer than any Camry; maybe not worth the extra $$, but, still, nicer – smoother, quieter, more content. Even with the toy wood, at a lot less $$, a tough choice with the Lexus.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Kix, get in line for your $2,000($1,9XX in Jan) off 2012 Camry. They’ve had specials on the 2012 model since 2011!

      Mr. Schmidt is going to write about Toyota January…the last week of Feburary.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    0 to 60 in under 8 seconds in a hybrid 4-banger full-size Buick that gets 30 MPG combined in the real world and weighs two-tons?

    Impressive.

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      Seems impressive until you look at the new 240 hp engine in the BMW 3 series which also gets 36 mpg on the highway, without any hybrid complexity or negative impact on trunk space.

      • 0 avatar
        Conslaw

        Or the VW Passat TDI, which also has a cavernous back seat and trunk plus has EPA of 30/40. (If I were GM Chairman, I’d make VW an offer they can’t refuse for the rights to the Passat. I’d sell it as the Impala, and my Chevy dealers could move 3-4 times as many units as the VW dealers.)

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Your comparing a BMW 3-series to a Buick LaCrosse? The 3-Series better get better MPG seeing how much smaller it is. 182 inches versus 196 for starters.

        I’m not going to compare Prius MPG to a Camry hybrid for the same reason.

  • avatar
    ajla

    A DOHC four-cylinder “hybrid” Buick sedan? GM is definitely going after a new crowd with this one.

    At least they sent the 3.0L to hell.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Makes ya want to go buy a Lucerne with the 3.9V6 and get almost 30 hwy with a more “traditional” Buick feel. ;)

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        @EotD:

        Although I do have a fondness for the 3900, the ’08 Lucerne came with the 3800 and it’s the last Buick ever to be equipped with a corresponding brand specific engine design. (Depending on if you consider the Northstar a “Cadillac” engine, the Lucerene is the last non-Chevy ever to have this feature.)
        _______________
        It is kind of sad to see the originator of the Rover V8, Dauntless V6/V8, and 3800 go gently into that higher-tech good night.

        However, I do understand that GM wasn’t going to survive by selling people like me old-tech engines under the hoods of 5+ year old used cars.

        All that said, Alex reports 70mph @ 2000RPM, and that’s about what my LN3 iteration of the 3800 did. Hybrids do provide low-rev torque. So it’s possbile that at least the highway performance is what I’m used to from Buick engines.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Alex,

    Is there a mistake on the 0-60 time you reported? Other sources have 9+, which seems more credible, given the modest power and immodest weight.

  • avatar
    DrSandman

    OK. I have to comment on the PICTURES; they’re gorgeous. The car is incidental. Very nice work; the production quality here is very nice.

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      Thanks! Let us know what pictures you like, find most helpful, etc so we can fine tune our photography further.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @Alex: I’ve said this before, put something in the pix with a human scale to it. Meaning, like what you did with the trunk pix, a laptop bag or something we all know how large it is. Maybe find a friend who is 6 feet tall and use them as a scale so folks can judge some dimensions interior and exterior.

        Just a thought.

      • 0 avatar
        DrSandman

        Personally, I liked the soft, reflected light that shows the lines, edges, curves, and form of the car. Normal harsh-light photos hide these all-important shapes which really define the car.

        I loved the human-scale items in the trunk. I personally (selfishly) am shopping for cars that will fit my 6’5″ frame with a car-seat behind me, for instance. My other kid will soon top out @ 6’2″ if she (yes, she…) keeps eating her veggies!

        Is there any way to show headroom in a car? I can safely drive a Mini Cooper with my head (from the nose up) emerging from the sunroof, as an example. I know there is a standard SAE metric, but it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with reality…

        Again, outstanding production quality. Kudos.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    lol ventiports on the hood!

    this is just an hybrid malibu in a new suit?

  • avatar
    shaker

    This car needs more trunk room.
    Other than that, it’s quite nice.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      It could also use a diet, lower belt line for better visibility, a slimmer center console that doesn’t smash up against your right leg, more usefull interior storage that fully utilizes the center console, more simple and logical dash and more distintive styling that doesn’t so blatently rip off Lexus. Also annoying is the cheap rear end appearance with no visible exhaust, lack of a place to put your sun glasses and the silly door pull slits to slam the door shut.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    I give GM credit for releasing this car with the beefed up start/stop system on what is essentially a regular car. I think Mazda is/was on the fence about releasing a car here with the same capabilities. If you want a start/stop system on any other car, most of the time they only are on hybrids.

    Back when I commuted in Atlanta traffic, I would have loved to have a car like this; well equipped, with good fuel mileage. The ability to have the engine shut off while stopped (and I was stopped a lot in that traffic) would have saved a lot of fuel.

    I guess that’s the real issue with the BAS system, it would work better in the heavier traffic jams. I think that this 2nd generation would work fine for most people, as it appears to be transparent. Even though it’s similar in concept and execution to the Honda IMA, it was a mistake for GM to market it as a “hybrid”, as Toyota gained the mindshare for that word. Lesson learned I guess…


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