With Buick being one of the four remaining cornerstones of the General Motors family, executives in the division find themselves in a difficult but familiar dilemma: Deliver competitive vehicles that attract new buyers while not alienating a loyal demographic.
The new Buick LaCrosse is completely redesigned for 2010 and is built on global architecture at the Fairfax plant in Kansas City. It offers all-wheel-drive, a suite of advanced intelligent personal technologies and safety features and choice of (eventually) three engines.
“The new LaCrosse builds on the success of Enclave as the next step in Buick’s renaissance and great attention to detail, craftsmanship and advanced technology,” said Susan Docherty, Buick-Pontiac-GMC vice president at vehicle launch last fall. “It offers unique features such as all-wheel drive and a new, efficient four-cylinder engine that will attract new customers to Buick.”
“There is great harmony in everything offered by LaCrosse – a beautifully crafted exterior, a premium interior and a satisfying driving experience to please the senses and complement any lifestyle,” Docherty said. “It’s a seamless package that incorporates the very best of GM’s global resources to make this Buick an industry benchmark.”
LaCrosse arrives with either 255hp 3.0-liter or 280hp direct-injected 3.6-liter V-6 engine mated to six-speed automatic transmissions soon to be joined by a new 2.4-liter Ecotec four-cylinder for the base CX models as the standard engine. Front-wheel drive is standard across the board with AWD as an option on premium package vehicles.
The new LaCrosse features distinctive-but-apparently-now-requisite “four-door coupe” styling. Neo-retro body-side sculpting borrows from mid-50s models and portholes move to the hood that beckons with Buick’s signature waterfall grille. Contemporary design themes run throughout the interior and (thankfully) lean towards modern Cadillac as opposed to traditional Buick.
I find the new Buick nicely styled and well-appointed. I appreciate the “nod to the Buick gods” with the body side sculpting, but the hood and front fender style combination have me thinking Maxima meets Lexus. Time spent behind the wheel of the new LaCrosse was pleasurable and I made note of the quiet ride and peppy acceleration of the bigger V-6 with DI. Rear seat leg and headroom is very accommodating but the trunk space is somewhat narrow.
Pricing for the new 2010 Buick LaCrosse starts at $27,835 for a base CX model LaCrosse and climbs to just shy of 40 grand for loaded CXS models. LaCrosse is being marketed heavily against the Lexus ES and is already proving its popularity with U.S. and Chinese car buyers.
Buick and GM are awakening from their “near death” experience and LaCrosse predicts a positive prognosis.
Here are a few awards LaCrosse has picked up since launch last fall:
• MotorWeek’s Drivers’ Choice Award winner for “Best Luxury Sedan;”
• Consumers Guide 2010 Best Buy and Recommendation Award;
• MotherProof.com’s 2010 Sedan of the Year;
• 2010 North American Car of the Year Finalist;
• About.com Cars’ Best New Cars of 2010;
• Edmunds.com’s 2010 Consumers’ Top Recommended® Vehicles;
• Drive Car Reviews “Top Picks for 2009;”
• CanadianDriver.com Top Picks Award;
• And, most recently, one of Edmunds.com’s “Top 10 Best Dark-Horse Cars of 2010.”