Thursday, February 9, 2012

First Drive: Buick LaCrosse

Buick has been associated as a brand for old people. Just like with the Cadillac brand, GM did an overhaul with its Buick brand. In 2010, The second-generation Buick Lacrosse was released, showing off the new Buick styling. The first-generation LaCrosse was nothing spectacular. It looked like it was made for old people. GM stepped up big with the LaCrosse's styling. I love the sleek lines. The new LaCrosse does not look like it was made for old people.

The Buick LaCrosse was available for people to test drive at the 2012 Houston Auto Show. This was the first car I test drove. The version GM had out was powered by 2.4L I4 engine with eAssist, paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, that produces 182 hp and 172 lb-ft of torque. The minute I got in, I was impressed. The driver seat was very comfortable to sit in. The LaCrosse is also very spacious, with plenty of head room and leg room.

The LaCrosse drives very smoothly. The car is very responsive when I turned the wheel. The LaCrosse goes from 0 to 60 in 9.4 seconds and reaches a top speed of 150 mph. The LaCrosse is a little bit slow when hitting the gas pedal.  But when at a complete stop, the engine shuts off. When you press the gas pedal, the engine starts up again. The start-stop system works great. There is no lag with the start-stop engine. When hitting the brakes, energy is transferred to a 115 volt lithium-ion battery, powering a 15 kW electric motor. GM does not consider the LaCrosse a hybrid. GM calls this system "eAssist." This aids when the engine is off at a stop sign, stop light, or when you are stuck in traffic. The battery helps with acceleration, but it does not power the car. The car is still powered by a gas engine. eAssist helps make the LaCrosse efficient with fuel, which is great for long road trips. With a car that is comfortable to drive in, this is a good car for long road trips. If 0-60 mph in 9.4 seconds is too slow for you, the LaCrosse is also available with a 3.6L V6 that 303 hp and 264 lb-ft of torque. This powers the LaCrosse from 0 to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds. All-wheel drive is also available on the LaCrosse. Prices for the Lacrosse start around $30,000. The version I test drove cost $32,000.

The LaCrosse is spacious, comfortable, and is a good car. If you want a luxurious mid-size sedan with good fuel economy, the LaCrosse with eAssist is great value at $30,000. If you want some fun while being comfortable, the LaCrosse with the V6 is not bad either. This is not a Buick for old people. Younger drivers will not feel old while driving the LaCrosse. It is a good car.

Photo taken from a digital camera.
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