Focus on Sport: New ST Trim Gives Buick LaCrosse an Edge

focus on sport new st trim gives buick lacrosse an edge

No, that image you saw floating around on Twitter wasn’t some prankster’s idea of a joke. Buyers will be able to purchase a Buick LaCrosse bearing the ST trim designation. For 2019, Buick’s adding a new level to its LaCrosse lineup, but it won’t go as far as offering a GS version. That’s the Regal’s responsibility.

So, what does the ST (Sport Touring) trim bring to this traditional, full-size, V6-powered family sedan?

Not a hell of a lot, upon first glance. Appearance is the big news here, with the ST variant distinguishable from its LaCrosse stablemates by the presence of a subtle lip spoiler, 19-inch “midnight silver” wheels, ST trunklid badging, and body-color fender vents and grille surround. That grille now sports fine black mesh, not unlike, say, a Jag.

No one’s going to mistake the LaCrosse ST for an XF S, nor would any would-be buyers be under the impression that the performance specs of the latter vehicle mirrors the former. At least, we hope not.

Motivating this large, but not especially heavy sedan is a naturally aspirated 3.6-liter V6, good for 310 horsepower and 268 lb-ft of torque. If this mill sounds familiar, that’s probably because it also resided under the hood of the Buick Enclave Avenir I tested not long ago, as well as the non-ST LaCrosse I spent time in last year. A GNX it ain’t. That said, the V6 does provide smooth, robust power, and returns pretty decent fuel economy (31 mpg highway).

A nine-speed automatic handles this rig’s shifting duties, but the presence of flappy paddles in even the Enclave Avenir means you’ll surely see them here.

Interestingly, Buick’s media release failed to mention the vehicle’s suspension, leading me to believe that the stock setup carries over. Sure enough, after checking the brand’s retail site, I stand corrected. This is a bad thing if you’re planning on wringing out this ST like the ones in that *other* automaker’s stable.

My 2017 LaCrosse tester revealed legs that were clearly tuned for highway comfort, thus dampening, so to speak, the driving quality bestowed by the vehicle’s precise steering and tame rear end. Buick’s optional Dynamic Drive Package adds real-time damping, 20-inch wheels, and sport mode to the mix, but isn’t available on the ST. You can, however, find it on the Premium trim, which stickers for $700 less than the Sport Touring. You’ll also find available all-wheel drive on the Premium model, as you will with the top-flight Avenir. This model, positioned between the two, is front-drive only.

Frankly, these omissions seem odd, especially for a vehicle with “sport” in its name.

Regardless, if looks are everything and you really dig big, comfy American cars, the LaCrosse ST will set you back $40,295 after delivery. That places it some $5,500 below the top-tier Avenir. With this latest addition, the LaCrosse family grows to six members, the least expensive of which stickers for $30,495 after delivery.

[Images: General Motors]

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  • Sgeffe Bronco looks with JLR “reliability!”What’s not to like?!
  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. Honestly, the idea of a car that can take over the truly tedious driving stuff that drives me bonkers - like sitting in traffic - appeals to me. But there's no way I'd put my property and my life in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time, and neither would the majority of other drivers. If they want this tech to sell, they need to get it right.
  • TitaniumZ Of course they are starting to "sour" on the idea. That's what happens when cars start to drive better than people. Humanpilots mostly suck and make bad decisions.