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

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
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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  • SCE to AUX From the SAE: Level 3: "When the feature requests, you must drive."The timing of that request will be the subject of lawsuits. Too little warning, and this is just a Level 2 system wearing nicer clothes.Pretty car, though.
  • Analoggrotto So, who has the digital Tourettes?
  • Analoggrotto Mercedes can try but will NEVER match the superlative engineering of TESLA. The #1 Choice for the #1 members of society. The lower class can stay on earth and drive Mercedes.
  • Dukeisduke The "fix" is not a fix - it just assures that when the o-ring breaks down and leaks brake fluid onto the board, the fuse will blow and the car won't burn to the ground. The HECU ("Hydraulic Unit Assembly" in H/K parlance) will still be dead, and you'll have no ABS or ESC. So the car won't burn to the ground, but you'll be looking at an expensive repair. I priced the HECU (Kia p/n 58920-1M640) for the 2012 Forte Koup - the MSRP is $2,325.79, and I can get one from the online seller I buy from for $1646.65. It's not much labor to replace, but then you have to bleed the brakes, or preferably flush the system, since the car's 11 years old and could use a flush. Folks relying on a dealer will be out $3k or more for repairs.I went to the NHTSA site and filed a defect report (the only way I could find to comment on the recall) to tell them that they should force H/K to replace the HECUs on all the affected vehicles, instead of allowing them to just do the minimum.
  • SCE to AUX All right Hyundai - enough of this.These are all older cars, and I believe H/K issued a recall for the same thing before. My former 09 Sedona was recalled for an ABS fire risk. The solution was some sort of extra ground wire from the battery down to the ABS unit or something - I didn't trace it.H/K has a habit of issuing partial solutions with limited scope (saving face), then later expanding the recall greatly. They did this with the 2.4 engine debacle, corroding control arms, and now this ABS thing.As for the EV vs ICE fire debate, no need to stir that pot here. EVs use hydraulic ABS brakes as well, but they don't appear to be covered in this recall (yet... and it would only be the early Ioniq 1 EV, if any).Looking into my crystal ball, they'll probably have to recall the Ioniq 5/6 and Genesis GV60 for an ongoing charging issue, where the charging port heats up and limits the charging rate on an AC plug (at home).Following their usual pattern, a software fix was issued first, greatly slowing the charge rate. Owners are irate, and I think Hyundai is simply delaying the day when they have to replace the wiring harness and charge port on all their new EVs, at great expense.Sorry Hyundai - can't defend you on this one.