By on May 5, 2015

2015 Buick Lacrosse

My name is Satish Kondapavulur. I am what most baby boomers would call “a millennial.” I like Vampire Weekend, streaming movies on Netflix, and playing Gran Turismo. My plans this weekend involve driving to Berkeley, going to whatever eardrum-splitting concert my friends want to see, with my dinner plans probably being a burger and fries from In-N-Out picked up at midnight. My daily driver is a 2002 BMW 530i, one of the best BMWs ever made. My favorite movie is American Graffiti, a film which involves plenty of loud exhausts, racing on city streets, and a 30-year-old Harrison attempting to pass for a teenager. And I liked my Buick LaCrosse test car.

“He likes the Buick LaCrosse?!” you might think. “But he’s a millennial! He drives a BMW! He’s likely glued to his smartphone all day! He probably doesn’t know what DOS is! ” And I do have a few of those “millennial” characteristics. I don’t like wearing cardigans, playing golf nearly every afternoon, or eating dinner at 5:30 pm. I don’t drive 5-10 mph slower than everyone else. I don’t look forward to moving into a retirement community at any point in my life, though I am looking forward to the senior discounts at the movie theater, when renting a car, and at Ben and Jerry’s. (Those savings really add up. Like enough to buy another smartphone.)

2015 Buick Lacrosse

But I like the Buick LaCrosse. Yes. Really. I like it. I like the fact I don’t have to brace myself for upcoming bumps on California highways. [What? You have those? -Canada] I like that I’m not a target for any highway patrol officers. I like that the head-up display gives me all the necessary information without having to look at the screen in the center console. I like that it’s quiet enough on the highway so I can listen to “Unbelievers” on the 11-speaker Bose sound system without a pothole interrupting the high notes. I like that it has enough sensors to drastically minimize whatever chances I have of getting in a car accident. I like that OnStar can back me up if I get hopelessly lost and my phone can’t find a signal. I think it even looks good.

Now, the first thing I’ll discuss regarding my Buick LaCrosse test car is its price. It was more than you would expect. Try $45,955. Yes, it was about the same price as a Lincoln MKS, base-level Audi A6 2.0T, Lexus ES350, or a fairly loaded Hyundai Genesis V6. For that price, you would expect plenty of tech features crammed into the car, a powerful engine, large wheels, free maintenance, and a day of dunking lessons with Shaquille O’Neal. The LaCrosse had all of that, with a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 304 horsepower, 20-inch wheels, two years of free scheduled maintenance, and so many tech features I’d need an entire paragraph to list them. Sadly, dunking lessons with Shaq aren’t on the Monroney sticker, likely because customers might ask for free throw lessons, too.

2015 Buick Lacrosse - Engine

The options on my test car included a head-up display, a blind spot warning system, a lane departure warning system, HID lights, a rear cross traffic alert system (which works surprisingly well when backing out of a driveway), a sensor which indicates the distance between my car and the car in front, and a forward collision alert system. All of those features I just listed are part of the $2,125 “Driver Confidence Package #1.” There was also a “Driver Confidence Package #2” on my test car that provided adaptive cruise control and front automatic braking, the latter a perfect feature for the modern millennial distracted by his or her smartphone. Additionally, since my LaCrosse had the Premium II trim level, it came standard with a Bose sound system, heated and cooled front seats, navigation, a keyless entry and ignition system, XM radio, 6 months of full OnStar Coverage, and 5 years of the OnStar base coverage.

One feature that Buick and General Motors advertise heavily is OnStar 4G LTE with Wi-Fi connectivity included with all 2015 LaCrosses. It can connect to up to seven devices as long as they are within 50 feet of the car, like phones, tablets, laptops, refrigerators, coffee makers, GoPro cameras, microwaves, etc. Buick offers a 3 month or 3 GB data trial of the OnStar 4G LTE service, after which customers must sign up for a data plan ranging from $5 to $50 a month for 200 MB to 5 GB, similar to those for phones. According to OnStar’s website, AT&T customers can add the car to their wireless share plan for an extra $10 a month. The Onstar 4G LTE ended up being one of the many features I didn’t sample, since I had a smartphone with a data plan and streaming American Graffiti perhaps would’ve used up the data allocation.

The LaCrosse drove surprisingly well. Since my prior experience with Buick involved a 1990s LeSabre that exhibited tire squeal and an extraordinary amount of body roll during “spirited” driving, I wasn’t prepared for how well the LaCrosse could stick to the road in corners and power out of them. If I needed power, the V6 provided enough pull and it was immediate. The car had a sport mode (I only used it once; it detracts from the driving experience) that adjusted the shift points and allowed the transmission to stay in a gear until it hit a higher rpm. Furthermore, the car had real-time damping and Hi-Per Strut suspension which I’m sure helped the ride and handling dramatically despite the 20-inch wheels. During my week with the car, I drove it down the Pacific Coast Highway from Monterey to Big Sur and had no complaints.

2015 Buick Lacrosse - Interior

Inside, the Buick was a very quiet and pleasant place. The controls were very easy to use, especially when operating the climate control or tuning the radio. I liked that I could rest my arm on the gear selector knob when reaching to tune the radio. The head-up display was very sharp, especially at night, but it wasn’t as good as BMW’s head-up display where one can easily scroll through radio stations and whose display is much more readable when facing directly into the sun. In the back, there was plenty of legroom and access to a 120 volt outlet, presumably for charging laptops to use the onboard 4G connection. An aspect of the interior I didn’t like were the thick A-pillars, which affect visibility and take some getting used to. Additionally, the LaCrosse was difficult to parallel park without the help of the rear camera, hearing the warning of the sensors, the feeling the vibration of the seats if you were getting too close. (The seats also vibrated if there were cars passing by when backing out of my driveway.)

When I had the Buick, thanks to a lot of highway driving, I managed to get around 24.5 miles per gallon during. However, fuel economy in the city, thanks to the 3.6-liter V6, wasn’t very good, especially once I hit stoplights where the indicated fuel economy would go down a few tenths. If fuel economy is a major concern for you, there is the option of a 2.4-liter inline-four with eAssist (a mild hybrid system fitted to the powertrain) which enables the LaCrosse to get an EPA-estimated 25 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. Jack Baruth had the eAssist-ed LaCrosse last year and managed over 31 mpg with the car while describing the powertrain as “satisfactory.” (He drove it around New Jersey Motorsports Park too, if you’re into that sort of thing.)

Buick has for a while been my favorite out of all of the General Motors brands. In the past, people drove Buicks rather than Cadillacs when they didn’t want to come across as having plenty of money or as being ostentatious. After a week with the LaCrosse, I feel the same. While your neighbors will be attempting to one up each other with the latest from Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, and Lexus, you can have the Buick LaCrosse in the driveway and feel absolutely satisfied. With the Buick, you’ll have something comfortable, simple to use, and much less expensive with the same toys as cars commanding $10,000 to $20,000 more. When your coworkers rave about the blind spot warning, head-up display, and active cruise control systems in their cars, you’ll be fine knowing your car has the same systems.

And above all, you won’t be a target for law enforcement, you won’t have to complain of discomfort after long trips, and you will get away with wearing the cardigan you’ve always wanted.

Buick provided the vehicle, insurance, and a tank of gas for the road test.

Satish Kondapavulur is a writer for Clunkerture, where about a fifth of the articles are about old cars and where his one-time LeMons racing dreams came to an end once he realized it was impossible to run a Ferrari Mondial. He’s currently taking golf lessons in between attempting to qualify for GT Academy.

 

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137 Comments on “2015 Buick LaCrosse Review...”


  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    Regarding the car: If only more drivers would put the power to the pavement in real world driving! The LaCrosse and the Verano Turbo are the hidden “Doctor’s Hot Rods” in the current Buick lineup. The Regal most definitely is not.

    Regarding Millenials: What do you know? It’s like every single generation of utes, and, finally give them a little money, they act like every single generation of 20-somethings with a little money! I think it must be the Boomers who were convinced they invented everything and remain perpetually surprised that there is nothing new under the sun.

    To The Author: If you buy one, please go all in and get a captain’s hat, too. Nothing says humiliation like being beaten off the line by a land barge driven by somebody wearing a hat showing he’s in on the joke.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      C&D now ranks the Verano at the bottom of its class.

      As for the Lacrosse, most reviews place the less expensive Impala above the Buick in looks, value, performance, handling, & interior space. Considering they share underpinnings, the overpriced Buick looks just bad.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Agree on the way-too-high price of the Buick. The Impala does look more refined, while this is just bloated and too truck-like. They look so tall going down the road.

        As well, the resale value is horrendous, so you’re better off getting just slightly used CPO if you must have the Buick option. There are always plenty for sale.

        And for $45k, I want AWD included as well.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        True, but then again, the same ‘class’ has cars like the Audi A3 and BMW 2-series, all of which have a completely different mission than a Verano. They also all cost a s**tload more.

        The Verano’s competition is more like a top of the line compact sedan (think Focus Titanium). I’d imagine it fares a lot better against that kind of competition.

        (Still wouldn’t be my first choice, though.)

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The Regal has plenty of power. The turbo is the only remaining engine.

    • 0 avatar

      The captain’s hat is only proper for a Buick Roadmaster with a supercharged LT1. The LaCrosse can’t do 0 to 60 in under 6 seconds. Yet.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Maybe if more cars were like this more people would want to take long driving vacations.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      It’s not the ride, Dan, it’s the destination. We’ve driven to NM twice on vacations; once in a car that was perfectly miserable in almost every way and once in one that was soooo much nicer in absolutely every way.

      The car didn’t define the trip. NM did.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      Despite all its lemony issues, the Verano is a top notch cruiser, and the lady and I have planned a number of trips across western Canada ranging from a few hours away into the mountains day trips, to longer road trips into BC, camping and hotelling as we go. The Buick is a perfect road trip companion.

    • 0 avatar
      SatelliteView

      1 billion %!!! Whenever I look at Buicks, such as this one, I’m think effortless 5k miles round-trip through US. My 2014 Mazda 6 does not cut it for this mission. It is EXTREMELY tiring on long drives. Coming off an exit, one is hit realizing how loud the stereo was playing while on the highway at 80mph

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    The LaCrosse is a victim of the times. Poor visibility- check. Overweight- check. Not so good mileage- see weight. Stubby useless trunk- check. Tight cramped front seat due to massive center console- check. Massive over sized rubber band tires for that one in a million customer who might take this thing around a corner more than 20 MPH- check. More electronic garbage than 90% of the clientele buying this car will ever use or know how to use- check. And priced about 8grand higher than it should be- check.

    AKA the Millennial dream machine

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      I don’t see how you could get it lighter without compromising the NVH or the crash test rating (for a given price point). I will give you the tires though.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        This is interesting. So we have the Volvo S80 (P3/EUCD) costing a bit more at $41K but relative to Europe its a 34,786 Euro car ($38893 at current conversion). We know the S80 will use superior materials and have a superior amount of safety, yet the FWD curb weight is only 211 lbs less (363 less for AWD). Incidentally the Volvo 200 series base model weighed 2,800 lb.

        Curb Weight

        MY15 Volvo S80: 3,545 to 3,799 lbs
        MY15 Buick Lacrosse: 3,756 to 4,162 lbs

        http://www.cars-of-europe.com/volvo/volvo_s80_32_ktd1777.shtml

        • 0 avatar
          jmo

          Volvo.com says the 2015.5 S80 6-cyl starts at $45,100. That’s close to where the Buick tops out.

          http://www.volvocars.com/us/cars/new-models/s80/specifications

          You did read my point about “for a given price point?” Right?

          The starting point for the Buick is 31k while the Volvo S80 starts at 41k. That’s fully 1/3 higher.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            The point is at an even higher price point with better materials you don’t see much weight reduction.

            Wikipedia stated otherwise, evidently Volvo US is sticking it to its customers.

            “Introduced in late 2014, midyear changes introduced for the 2015.5 model include new standard Sensus Connect and Volvo On-Call with 6-month complimentary subscriptions, new Sensus Navigation with Map Care, and a new optional Harmon Kardon Premium Sound System. The 2015.5 Volvo S80 starts at $41,450 in the US.”

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volvo_S80

          • 0 avatar
            jmo

            “The point is at an even higher price point with better materials you don’t see much weight reduction. ”

            400lbs isn’t a lot? Then again the Volvo is a smaller car.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            363lb for AWD, and 211lb for FWD vs a Buick isn’t very much for a 3500 or 3700 lb car in my view. Especially when its circa 1975 designed ancestor weighed 745lbs less with an iron block motor and superior safety for its time. I’d like to see a target of 3,000lbs out of a car of this size using 21st century technology and materials.

          • 0 avatar
            jmo

            ” I’d like to see a target of 3,000lbs out of a car of this size using 21st century technology and materials.”

            It could easily be done but it would cost $10s of thousands more and for a benefit few drivers could perceive.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Audi’s already built several concepts that are just like today’s cars but much lighter. They used a bunch of carbon fiber and composites. The challenge isn’t technology, it’s cost. BMW seems to be in the lead here, judging by the results it’s gotten from carbon fiber in the i3.

        • 0 avatar
          SatelliteView

          what??? The S80 is from another era. In a head to head crash, this Buick will plow through it. The “superior amount of safety” is to Buick not S80

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            The P3 S80 came out in 2006 and the Epsilon platform on which the Buick is based came out in 2008. The earlier S80 (P2) came out in 1998 and I’d wager still does well in crash tests.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        @ poncho & jmo – At least for my zip code–or rather my employer’s data center’s zip code–the Buick configurator is showing the 20″ wheels as a standalone, $4,080(!) option. Suffice to say I’d stick with the 18″ wheels that are standard on “Premium I” LaCrosses. Better yet, I’d see if I could browbeat the dealer into swapping in the 17″ base wheels and giving me a credit.

        • 0 avatar
          SatelliteView

          You could also browbeat him to remove power windows and ask him to remove painted mirrors and replace them with non-painted ones, and get an even bigger credit.

          Hell, you could wait around until there is a fender bender at the dealership and get an even better deal. Come to think of it, maybe you could find a salvage title, that will be on hell of a credit!

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          You could get one hell of a set of aftermarket 20″ wheels for $4K.

        • 0 avatar
          rpn453

          “Better yet, I’d see if I could browbeat the dealer into swapping in the 17″ base wheels and giving me a credit.”

          Don’t expect a credit, but they’d probably accommodate you. My buddy did a dealer swap with his wife’s Mazda3 wheels when they bought it, from 17″ to 16″. The dealer was happy to make the swap, as the 17″ was a much prettier and probably more desirable wheel to a typical new car buyer. The 16″ was unquestionably the practical choice though.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      It is also unattractive.

    • 0 avatar

      Not all automakers resort to thick pillars, but they definitely reign supreme at GM, and really have for quite some time.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        As well as cheapo dog leg trunk hinges, and a very cheaply finished trunk. This thing should have struts and a nice trunk mat with embroidery.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        Kyree

        I would like to ask you a question since your postings show you have a deep knowledge of autos.
        These thick pillars, why are they in so many cars nd SUVs yet not in others? I look at the poor visibility of so many SUVs, such as the Hyundai, then see the Subaru Forester with such fantastic views and thin pillars.
        Why?
        Is it the strength of materials used in some vs others? Is it simply poor design?

        I guess I do not understand why the ever disappearing rear/side view, really.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Even if it had none of the flaws mentioned, as well as the map pockets in the seat backs that already look like garbage and in GM style will only get worse at the pace of milk left on the hood of a car in August, the price of about $46K would still be reason enough to commit anyone that buys one.

    • 0 avatar
      TCowner

      “Tight cramped front seat” – have you actually sat in a Lacrosse? They are far from tight, and I find them quite comfortable. 28mpg on the highway, for a 300hp V-6 full size car is not so good mileage?

      I agree the price on this car was high. The tester was loaded up with every available option, jacking the price and electronic doo-dads. You can get a nicely equipped Lacrosse in the low to mid $30’s.

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        I have sat in one, and it is cramped. In two specific ways:

        1) Like a lot of modern cars, the console needlessly intrudes on my right knee. (The Taurus and its kin are also egregious offenders in this regard.)

        2) Unexpectedly, the gas and brake pedals are too close together, and the brake pedal protrudes forward ahead of the gas in such a way that my foot repeatedly gets caught on the back of the brake pedal when trying to move from the gas to the brake. I don’t recall this problem in any other car I’ve ever driven, and I’m astonished nobody has called it out. Interestingly, they didn’t fix it on the Impala, which makes me bet they didn’t fix it on the Caddy either.

        Pity, because I agree with the author that the car drives nicely. And of course, nobody will come within several thousand of paying MSRP for one of these, especially with the Impala applying price pressure from beneath. Although I do think GM imposed a cheap, frumpy dash on the Impala so the LaCrosse would still have a reason to exist.

    • 0 avatar
      VW16v

      Visibility, what is up with these lazy sedan’s and low visibility. I always thought the 300 had low visibility. But, these other cars are taking to another level.

    • 0 avatar

      Cramped front seat? Shaq managed to fit in it!

  • avatar
    northshorerealtr

    Finally! A review that doesn’t start off with “As a car for old people, Buick has….”
    Yeah, I know the trunk is small, yeah, the mileage could be better, but every sample of LaCrosse I’ve been in has been well assembled with seemingly quality materials, and has an understated presence.
    The only downside is pricing–these certainly aren’t cheap. The review didn’t mention if the car had the sunroof, and it doesn’t appear that it has the luxury interior option. With both of those included (if they weren’t), you’re pushing $48K or so. A chunk of change, sure, but certain that there’s some dealer discounts/rebates available. And the pricing emulates a Genesis, Lexus ES, or loaded Chrysler 300. Guess it’s a matter of picking the flavor of premium experience you want.
    All in all a good review–thanks!

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      What “old people” want in cars has changed a lot over the years. The Lacrosse is no sport sedan, but compared to something like a mid-80s LeSabre, it’s an M5. It’s a darn competent runner by just about any measure. The same can be said of the Lacrosse’s nemesis, the Lexus ES. The day of the floatmobile is gone.

      • 0 avatar
        LectroByte

        The 83 year old widow lady that lives next door to us traded one of these in on an MKZ. She told us she thought the Buick was too much of an old persons car and the Lincoln has some get up and go. She has the V6 MKZ.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      No, it starts out with two full paragraphs of drivel about what millennials are instead. It’s just as bad.

      That was my only real problem with this review.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m glad you liked the review!

      This one had the $1,195 big sunroof and an extra $495 for the black paint. It also had the “choccachino” interior (I didn’t like the name or color), and I think the interior was an premium as it gets in my test car.

  • avatar
    eManual

    The backseat in the Lacrosse has more legroom than the Chevy Impala, but its trunk is smaller. The 2.4-liter inline-four eAssist’s battery takes up significant trunk space, making the trunk seem even smaller. The Chevy is a better value overall. Otherwise, the Lacrosse V-6 should be a good used car value in a few years.

  • avatar
    darkwing

    The technology loadout, by and large, isn’t much different than what you’ll find on most loaded cars nowadays — so I found it puzzling that the list was spelled out, versus going through the differences. And the comparisons to 13- and 25-year-old car didn’t seem to matter much in context.

    But maybe this is so Buick meta that I’m missing the point.

  • avatar
    gasser

    A glowing (relatively) evaluation for Buick.
    For me deal breakers are the price and the compromised outward visibility.
    I’ll check back in 2 years when, used, it’s priced in the $20K zone. That will give me 2 more years of the 4 year warranty before all the expensive electronic gadgets begin to crap out.

    • 0 avatar
      SatelliteView

      Like what? The ABS? The ESP? Or the radio-wave emitting unit for adaptive cruise control??? How often does a WiFi router seizes to work? Howoften does a CPU in your computer quits?? What the hell are you talking about at all, what electronic gadget will crap out???

  • avatar
    Spartan

    This car is exactly why Cadillac is having such a hard time right now. This is the “Lexus ES” fighter Cadillac needs. I can only imagine that if the next generation LaCrosse is a hit, they may come close to taking the throne from the Lexus ES.

    I swear in a parallel universe somewhere, Cadillac and Buick are one and have the perfect lineup.

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      Buying this over a Hyundai Genesis, Chrysler 300 or slightly used and 25% priced Lincoln mkx seems like a spectacularly regrettable decision. Even a Taurus or impala is probably the smarter buy.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I’d still rather have the ES for even money.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I think the LaCrosse might have the ES beat in interior materials. I rode in a new ES not too long ago, and other than the lovely leather smell, the materials were not too great. The window switches and interior door pulls especially bothered me.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Both cars show clear evidence of cost-cutting, so it’s hard to get excited about either interior. Both would be really nice at $30k+ but look a bit chintzy at $45k.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            So you’re saying the answer then, is a three year old LS460 AWD (avoid predator grille), 20k miles at the same price.

            :)

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Good luck with that Corey, high miles don’t hurt the LS4xx value.

            MY10 LS460 RWD Sedan

            04/15/15 DALLAS Regular $24,500 80,776 Avg SILVER 8G A Yes
            04/29/15 DALLAS Regular $24,900 81,985 Avg GRAY 8G A Yes
            04/28/15 STATESVL Regular $32,800 93,531 Above WHITE 8G A No
            04/21/15 ORLANDO Regular $27,600 108,394 Avg WHITE 8G A Yes

            MY10 LS460 RWD Sedan LWB

            04/23/15 CINCINNA Regular $30,250 70,063 Avg BLACK 8G A Yes
            04/16/15 ATLANTA Regular $29,200 70,804 Avg BLACK 8G A Yes
            01/15/15 TX HOBBY Regular $29,250 76,955 Avg GRAY 8G A Yes
            03/11/15 DALLAS Regular $29,500 78,948 Avg RED 8G A Yes

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Pfft!

            ’12 460L AWD, CPO, 29k mi, $45000
            http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicledetails.xhtml?zip=45241&endYear=2016&modelCode1=LS_MODELS&showcaseOwnerId=0&startYear=2011&makeCode1=LEXUS&searchRadius=100&maxPrice=45000&showcaseListingId=0&mmt=%5BLEXUS%5B%5D%5BLS_MODELS%5B%5D%5D%5D&listingId=391250448&Log=0

            ’11 460 AWD, 35k mi, $38,100
            http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicledetails.xhtml?zip=45241&endYear=2016&modelCode1=LS_MODELS&showcaseOwnerId=0&startYear=2011&makeCode1=LEXUS&searchRadius=100&maxPrice=45000&showcaseListingId=0&mmt=%5BLEXUS%5B%5D%5BLS_MODELS%5B%5D%5D%5D&listingId=389980692&Log=0

            ’12 460 AWD, CPO, 27k mi, $45000
            http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicledetails.xhtml?zip=45241&endYear=2016&modelCode1=LS_MODELS&showcaseOwnerId=0&startYear=2011&makeCode1=LEXUS&searchRadius=100&maxPrice=45000&showcaseListingId=0&mmt=%5BLEXUS%5B%5D%5BLS_MODELS%5B%5D%5D%5D&listingId=385856680&Log=0

            I only searched within 100mi of me.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Yep, and a lot of people know it. This is the same reason I don’t have a 2013 GS450h. Love them, but $45k is just too steep.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            I agree with Dal – this LaCrosse (naughty, dirty minded Canadians get a model with a different name) should be priced around the 30k mark, and even the base models should include pretty much everything non-gadgety.

            I also agree that this and the ES350* feel cheap, interior wise, in many respects, from door pulls, dashboards and switchgear, to the way trunks are finished.

            Finally, it has to be said, in terms of real world pricing, this probably can be had in base trim for around 26k (I checked) and loaded for around 35k, but the Chrysler 300 rides better and “does better” at a real world base price (with leather) of around 26k for rwd, and 28k for AWD.

            *Lexus has really dropped the ball on differentiating the ES from the Camry in terms of material/build quality, NVH, etc.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          +1, Corey. I prefer the Lacrosse too…particularly a year-old, CPO model with 15,000 miles for 30 grand.

          I think the newer ES is definitely a step down in terms of interior quality. I miss the old Lexus interiors with all that wood and soft leather.

      • 0 avatar
        GS 455

        I’m sure you’d feel differently if Buick offered Key Lime pies with the purchase of a Lacrosse.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    Buying this over a Hyundai Genesis, Chrysler 300 or slightly used and 25% priced Lincoln mkx seems like a spectacularly regrettable decision. Even a Taurus or impala is probably the smarter buy.

  • avatar
    John R

    Yeah…I’m not the audience for this.

    An R/T Charger can be had for roughly $10k less at one end and the SRT 392 is a breath away at $48k at the other. Apples and Oranges, so when considering the mission of the car, however, the Impala is better looking and better value – https://goo.gl/YOpqAq.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    “Wi-fi in the car, that’s the dream.”

    Admittedly, that’s a Chevy commercial, but I cringe every time that woman says that.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Just wait until her kids go through 27GB of data in the first month.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        +1000 – so much for the Starbucks budget!

      • 0 avatar
        Waftable Torque aka Daniel Ho

        I never understood why people bother with mobile plans other than for mapping. My household rarely uses less than 200GB a month, and my cable internet provider has practically covered the city with wi-fi that my mobile devices can access. It’s actually what keeps me from dropping their service.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Lucky you with wi-fi.

          I go through lots and lots and lots of mobile data on my bus commute. 35 minutes in the morning, anywhere from 35 to 55 in the evening, all while guzzling data like a millenial 10 years younger than me.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      We needed wifi in our car (3 y/o daughter + decent commute = Youtube usage) but a $50 VZW Mifi plugged into the USB charger took care of my needs. And I can take it other places if I want to. Why in the world would I want it built into the car? That’s like a car phone instead of a cell phone.

      • 0 avatar
        Counterpoint

        It’s just stupid to pay for a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot built into a car considering that every modern cell phone has had that feature for years. And when mobile data technology improves in 2 years I’ll be able to purchase a new phone cheaply while that Buick will be stuck with planned obsolescence.

        • 0 avatar
          LectroByte

          I’m honestly not getting why they are basing commercials on the Wifi hotspot… can one of you all explain why GM feels like this is a *big deal* ?

          Seems like if I wanted or needed such a thing in the car, my phone can already do it. Why pay extra for a wireless plan for your car when you are probably only in it one or two hours a day most of the time, and your phone is already there with you?

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    I don’t have anything against Buick, but truly despise their idiotic “That’s not a Buick!” commercials.

    GM, own up to your heritage. Show some pride in your brands. Seems like you’ve already forgotten how “great” the “This is not your father’s Oldsmobile” ad campaign was for Olds.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Not surprising that anyone wouldn’t dislike this car. Dynamically, it’s not my cup of tea, but it’s roomy, quiet, plenty fast, and loaded with toys. It’s hard not to like a car like this.

    Note: these things are EPIC bargains used.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Yeah, used FTW on these. The new prices strike me as way too high. And where an ES will be 90% of new price in a year, this might be 70%.

    • 0 avatar
      LectroByte

      > Note: these things are EPIC bargains used.

      That they may be, but have you lived with a 4 or 5 year-old GM product? There will be enough electrical glitches and check engine lights to make you wish you had taken up that certain Buick/GMC/Cadillac dealership owner when he told you he didn’t care if you ever bought another GM product or not.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “I liked that I could rest my arm on the gear selector knob when reaching to tune the radio.”

    I think that might fall under “bad idea,” but maybe that’s just me.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      For me it works, but my right hand is usually resting on the stickshift, for obvious reasons.

      Which basically translates for me to “I like when designers place the basic controls (HVAC and audio) within easy reach of the stick shift.

    • 0 avatar
      formula m

      I like to rest it on the shifter when I’m searching the radio stations for sure. My Highlander is comfortable to do this, same as the Maxima I had. In my RSX I found it annoying to reach for the radio controls and temp dials.

      • 0 avatar
        VolandoBajo

        Yeah, that’s the ticket! Rest your arm on the gear shift lever as you reach over to tune the radio.

        Just as you hit another pre-select button and “Highway to Hell” blares out of the radio, the weight of your arm pulls the shift lever down into 2nd at 65mph, and as the sudden downshift deceleration throws you forward a bit, your foot presses down on the accelerator.

        After a brief slowdown, suddenly you lurch forward, perfectly keeping with the spirit of the music.

        I just hope I’m not coming down a two lane undivided highway in the opposite direction about the time you execute that “carefully engineered maneuver”.

        I am SO jealous — not! — that I have to turn slightly to select a station on my radio, with the gear shift just slightly inside my arm, instead of under it.

        I wonder how long it will be, before some class action lawyer figures out that this will be a virtual gold mine. Forget the Nader indictment of the Corvair, or the argument that Crown Vic Police Interceptors are prone to have their gas tank rupture when hit by a car going 75 mph while they are parked on the side of the road.

        Now that McDonalds no longer serves a really hot cup of coffee, that just might be the hottest thing going, at least for the lawyers.

        Where were the engineers when the designers designed that interesting little bit of “body” mechanics?

        I’ve been trying to like GMC and their cars ever since I saw a jet black 58 Impala convertible roll into my high school parking lot for the first time. But like is said about marriage, looks isn’t everything.

        I’m sure by now I have been branded as a hopelessly blinded Panther platform lover, but this thing looks like a dwarved (read abnormal proportions on a shrunken frame) Aero era (’92-97)Grand Marquis.

        You may not like the new Lincolns, but at least they have some semblance of newness and differentiation from the rest of the industry about them. GM looks like it has bifurcated into a performance, Vette/Impala division, and a “chase your tail”, “let’s do the same thing all over again” division, which stamps out variations on a theme. Sorry, can’t buy it. In more ways than one.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “In the past, people drove OLDSMOBILES rather than Cadillacs when they didn’t want to come across as having plenty of money or as being ostentatious. ”

    Fixed it for you.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      No, I’d say Buick always fit that description better, Corey. I always saw Olds as a fancier version of Chevy.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        But Olds models were always less ostentatious, and they were the first to get tech things (aside from whatever special engines were reserved for Cadillac).

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          I would say Buick was the brand that once stood for quiet money, but the last time there was much substance behind the doctors’ car image was in the mid-’50s. By the late ’50s, Buick was swept up in jet-age styling and then the dysfunction of GM brand management turned them into the losing roll of the rental counter dice that they are today.

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            Ah, visit the Chinese rental counter. “Sir, we have an American Buick waiting for you.” Crazy aggressive driver included. Yeah, this big Buick can hustle away from the airport!

      • 0 avatar
        LectroByte

        I thought Buick was slotted in under Olds in the GM hierarchy, at least it seemed to me like in the 1960’s that Buick was a “nicer Chevy” and Olds was the “almost a Cadillac”.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Not quite but Olds used to get Cadillac features which were being offered before it was decided to put them in Cadillacs.

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          I always thought that the Buick was the quiet wealth car of doctors, when they were truly wealthy, in another era.

          And Olds was the slightly upscale variant of the Chevy, especially performance Chevys, but with a more subtle air. Pontiacs were the fast bad boys grown men’s cars.

          Or to put it another way, Olds and Pontiac were to Chevy as Mercury was to Ford.

          And Lincoln and Cadillac duked it out at the top of the line, with Cadillac having a bit more of a flashy image, Lincoln a bit more of a “I’m wealthy but don’t want to flaunt it” kind of a vibe.

          And that was pretty much how everyone parsed them out in the late fifties to the mid seventies, at least in my HS FL beach town.

          And one of Edsel’s problems, though not its only one, was that people didn’t quite know what you were supposed to think if you drove, or were seen driving, an Edsel.

          Was it a dolled up Ford? A muscular cousin to a Mercury? A sporty version of a Lincoln?

          And Ford compounded the problem, by claiming (falsely) that they had done so much market research that they knew for sure that the car would be a hit, and they knew for sure who the buyers would be.

          The poor public didn’t want to admit that they were left in the dark about all this, so rather than dare to project who knows what, they just went with something they, and everyone, agreed stood for a certain type of thing, and person.

          And now, a brief word from our sponsor…Bring back the Mercury division!

          (And put the peppy Lincolns there, and let the stately ones take on a confused Cadillac head on.)

          I have a dream: an 800 hp turbocharged big block V8 Mercury that can run with Vettes and Hellcats, but can seat five or six adults comfortably, and has a lot of trunk room. And I don’t care if they decide to make it twenty feet long to achieve that. Or that it has to cost $50-$60K. Just do it!

          Perhaps only in my dreams, but to me it is a sweet dream. That’s the kind of re-defining brands I want to see.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Is this the one the valet lost in the parking lot? Anonymous, yet with excess flash in the snout? What is Buick’s mission I wonder – what driving force underpins the brand?

    Every model is a modification of some other vehicle. No Buick for years has been designed as a lead GM model in any class, which the other divisions then shared in. No, bigger Buicks are even more anonymous than Lincolns, but a step down the pecking order into a fuzzy ‘tween world where their vehicles are mostly bought by mistake.

    Of course the Encore is the exception, a mere tarted up tin box Chevy Trax which preceded it on world markets, but popular with folk adept at identifying true chintz from the genuine article and preferring it.

    I’d say the brand is marking time with no plan in place. Chev has engineering, Cadillac has engineering. Buick has two guys working Wednesday afternoons slapping chrome and faux prestige materials on otherwise everyday cars.

    So, LaCrosse, fare thee well wherever it is you’re going.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      The Avenir could have made Buick relevant. But Caddy gets all the dollars, because NYC. At least Buick can provide Opels to all the foreign afficionados.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    “I like Vampire Weekend, streaming movies on Netflix”

    then I have a treat for you. Please do yourself a favor and find a way to watch:

    WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS…likely one of my fav movies this year by some of my very fav actors and writers in the entire business.

    http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/what_we_do_in_the_shadows/

    Next..is there really a difference between the Buick, XTS or Impala?
    Are these not built upon the exact frames and chassis? Are they not the greatly admonished rebadging the USA makers are legendary for?

    And even after all these years, isn’t the MKS still a better buy and ride? OK…bring on the required urban legend/copy-paste negative MKS/Taurus narrow cockpit replies again.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    I’m not too thrilled that China dictates which car companies we can spend our tax dollars on zombifying.

  • avatar
    slance66

    New, it’s hopelessly overpriced (as is all of its competition). Curious what the used ones go for. You can get an MKS loaded with ecoboost for mid 20’s with only a couple of years and few miles on the clock. It’s too long for my garage though.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      The Lacrosse trades at a similar valuation without the liability of turbo (unless you think that’s a good thing).

      MY14 Buick Lacrosse FWD V6 “LEATHER”

      05/04/15 ORLANDO $23,400 16,041 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
      04/14/15 PA $23,200 16,412 Avg GOLD 6G P Yes
      04/30/15 ARENA IL $23,100 16,949 Avg RED 6G A Yes
      04/10/15 FT LAUD Lease $23,000 17,817 Avg WHITE 6G A Yes
      05/01/15 PA $22,400 18,071 Avg BLACK 6G P Yes
      04/14/15 PA $23,400 18,076 Avg MAUVE 6G P Yes
      04/30/15 ARENA IL $24,000 18,750 Avg RED 6G A Yes
      04/30/15 ARENA IL $21,500 18,831 Below PURPLE 6G A Yes
      04/07/15 DENVER $23,000 18,997 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
      04/06/15 ORLANDO Lease $22,400 19,078 Avg WHITE 6G A Yes

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        28

        what is the talk about liability of turbos? These have been around since I was a baby driver. Seems to me the turbos in the Fords are pretty basic and there is no real danger at all.
        I think the bigger issue we will be facing is NOT turbos but the DI. The news keeps leaking about all makers knowing long tern engine issues with these new tech direct injection motors.

        I keep my MKS running well because I do a lot of high speed driving, which they say is the way to keep the newer engines running clean.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          You bring up a good point on DI vs multiport, which is also something which concerns me. I like to personally reduce my liability of the vehicles I own as much as possible by applying the KISS principle. If you say to me well I just have to have my twin turbo [insert sports car] then have at it but know what your getting yourself into long term. The other thing in my mind about turbo is the emissions system, is it the same or more complex than its N/A brother?

      • 0 avatar
        gasser

        What does the code “6G-A or P-Yes ” mean?

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          6GA is an engine/trans code, it means number of cylinders (6), type of motor (gas) , type of transmission (auto). I believe the “P” trans code means paddle shifting transmission. Ignore the yes, it means it was in the sample I selected.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      Hopelessly overpriced? You’re getting 5k of sticker so many of these are selling new in the mid to upper 20s.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        5k?

        If someone can’t get 6k (base model) to 12k (loaded model) off MSRP on one of these, they’re a “mark,” “laydown,” and moron.

        Better yet, wait until December when the heaps of Buicks have to be cleared from the dealer lots – even more $$$$ will be stacked on the hoods.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    ” I like that OnStar can back me up if I get hopelessly lost and my phone can’t find a signal.”

    … how’s that work?

    OnStar is Verizon/Bell (US/CA) network CDMA cellular (with 4G LTE available these days); it’s *not super likely* to have coverage when your phone doesn’t.

    (Spot checking OnStar non-data vs. AT+T Voice shows damn near the same coverage gaps, unsurprisingly.)

    • 0 avatar
      rentonben

      The cellular modem in the car typically is higher wattage with a better antenna and a good ground plane (typically the roof). Usually works in fringe areas much better than a typical phone.

      • 0 avatar
        jjster6

        Gotta agree with you. I’ve been way out in the boonies of Northern Ontario with no signal whatsoever on two mobile phones (Whitman Dam, north of Searchmont to be precise). Pushed to Onstar button and talked to an advisor though. I didn’t even need to talk to an advisor, I just didn’t think it would work. I was surprised when I got through. YMMV.

  • avatar
    JLGOLDEN

    At 42 years old, I like “larger” cars such as the Lacrosse, and my most recent purchase was a ’15 Impala LTZ. I love the looks, the stance, and proportions. I appreciate the relaxed ride comfort, the plentiful go-go power, and the super comfy qualities of the front seats. My Impala is a satisfying companion! A pal of mine (a 37 year-old school principal) leased a loaded ’14 Lacrosse last summer. According to him, his Lacrosse is a soothing and entertaining decompression zone, and well-suited for the nasty Houston commute. Another pal, a 33 year-old medical professional, opted for a ’14 Lincoln MKZ, as it provides many of the same luxury / comfort benefits and driving dynamics that our GM models have. None of us fall into the typical buyer’s age demographic for our chosen cars; we buck the expectations. Each of us favors the multitude of positive feelings and experiences that our cars provide… with no fixations on handling prowess or technical specs.

  • avatar
    gertman

    I agree that it’s VERY high, NOT so exciting and is really just good enough not GREAT! AND with the insane depreciation I don’t know how anyone can justify buying one new. And it doesn’t help that it feels like it’s been on sale for 6 to 8 years….WAAY over due for a replacement, screw the recent and extremely mild face lift….but that’s the same with the Lamda’s too

    ALSO, I just LOVE when the “That’s not a Buick!” commercial comes on, especially when they show the Regal to SCREAM OUT, “YOU’RE RIGHT IT”S A F***ING OPEL!!!”

  • avatar
    red60r

    I had a rental ’90’s leSabre that was so loose the rear wheels would leave the ground passing over a moderate bump. It got into a resonance with the expansion joints on an east-coast freeway so that it wallowed up and down like a cartoon clown car (again with daylight under the rear tires). Weren’t no dang cartoon, though. It was just short of terrifying. At least the Opelescent new versions have some sort of modern convenience known as a shock absolver or something…

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Having had my share of these as rental upgrades, I tend to agree that they are perfectly decent comfortable cars. I don’t like that I can’t see out of them, the visibility is horrid. I think it much better looking than the impala. The XTS is just hideous.

    At 46 this seems like it should appeal, but it doesn’t at all as something to buy. I am not dead yet. Asking price seems class appropriate for a loaded barge, being GM I would expect a massive discount. Folks on here get too wound up about MSRP.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    I feel like Harrison Ford wasn’t playing a 30-year-old teenager so much as he was playing one of those early-20-something guys who never went anywhere or did anything after high school, just tried to keep their golden years going by racing high schoolers and dating their girls.

  • avatar
    Southern Perspective

    Thanks Mr. Kondapavulur for your exceedingly well-written review of this car. Your article had me snickering right out loud a couple of times, especially the bit about maybe customers might ask Shaq for free throw lessons. :)

    It’s too bad you did not continue your PCH trip from Big Sur to San Simeon; I have always considered that stretch of road to be more interesting.

  • avatar
    craiger

    Similar to Satish, I had a 2001 530i, I liked the Chevy Impala that I rented, and my first Buick was also a LeSabre (1967).

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    This Lacrosse and all of the Buick sedans aren’t bad cars by themselves. The problem is that when you take AWD off the table, a loaded Accord EX-L (or whatever the top trim is) is better, if not as a car, at least as a value proposition.

    The problem is most people know this, so the market has shifted in two ways, higher end (Audi, BMW, Lexus, etc) and loaded lower end (loaded Accord, Impala, etc). Acura has escaped this even though they are at the same tier as Buick, their cars feel really solid and punch above their weight class.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Even at 10k off MSRP on this, it’s still 35k, and a 22k Honda Accord is just as roomy inside, far more reliable, and just as comfortable in the real world with better visibility, better fuel economy and far better resale value (I’d not be surprised if a 22k Honda Accord sells for MORE used after 4 years than a 35k Buick LaCrosse does used).

  • avatar
    skeeter44

    Its looks nice – like an American Lexus but that $10K you save will be given back and trade-in resale time.

  • avatar
    Counterpoint

    I had a FWD one as a rental. The review is accurate but he didn’t mention the torque steer, which is significant and unpleasant.

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      I suspect that the average driver today feels torque steer, and thinks it is a display of the amount of power under the hood (and thinks “good!”), instead of recognizing torque steer as a significant weakness.

      “Did you SEE the way that wheel tried to lift when I gave it some power!”.

      Puh-leeze!

  • avatar
    fn2drive

    I purchased one about 2 months ago. No one was more surprised by my decision than me. After rebates etc fully loaded it was the same price as the Impala with albeit better quality materials. Looks are subjective but pluses and minuses compared to each other. I Have owned pretty much every high end make over the last 15 years. Germans off my list while superior in handling are unreliable. This time out the Japanese luxury just want impressive. Lexus grill is offputting while Infiniti is just very dated. Genesis was very nice and would have bought one if any of the dealers could treat a customer ready to spenf nearly 50k appropriately. Rather they are used to selling to a very different demo and it shows.

    As for the Lacrosse. What i can say after 2 months of ownership is that it is rhe first car in a long long time where i dont have buyer’s remorse. It is good to,great on a variety of real,world dimensions. Indeed the only serious flaw is the intellilink which is really poor-well thought out but slow. And voice recognition is abysmal under most use cases. Indeed i would have paid anything to witness the design team demo it to Steve Jobs. It would look like the Texas Chain Saw Massacre. The Lacrosse is a totally fatigue free driving experience. It is comfortable handles very well and makes long traffic commutes easy to bear. I cant say that for many of my recent purchases. If the reliability is as good as the survey’s suggest this will be winner.

  • avatar
    Pebble

    Why are consoles so damn big nowadays? I looked at a Lincoln MKZ, and the console ate up half the passenger space.

  • avatar
    Chan

    That interior actually looks great by GM standards, on par with Lexus and without the excessively bulbous warts seen on the Impala centre console.

    My only beef with the LaCrosse is that it seems to have taken the tight lines of the Regal (Opel Insignia) and slapped it onto a super-size car.

    The result is a large car with poor sight lines. But if the price is right, this is a true budget luxury car.


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