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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