What’s more out of place than listening to old-school punk rock using a powerful 11-speaker Harman Kardon stereo in a Buick?
I’ve never been much of a Buick fan as they tend to represent the
doldrums of later life. I didn’t want to like this machine. But I did –
just a bit. It has a sleek body (but, it’s a Buick) excellent fit and
finish (but, it’s a Buick), excellent feature list (still, it’s a
Buick) good handling (remember: it’s a Buick!) and all wheel drive.
(Sigh) What the hell happened to the old Buick!?
The 252 horsepower (wheezing 215 lbs feet of torque) 3.0 liter, V6 is
adequate and; perhaps a little underwhelming in this otherwise stout
package. The 6-speed automatic is glass-like smooth and holds the gears
well into full boil (I have no idea where the shifting points truly
were as Buick ill-advisedly deleted the tachometer). 0 to 60 times feel
into the almost 9-second range. Hardly fast and this thing is so serene
that it felt slower.
The Buick LaCrosse garnered seductive glances whenever a subscriber of
AARP was near (I never told them that some of it was designed in
China). I fielded several questions and even allowed a peppermint
smelling old fellow a moment to sit inside. He asked, “Is it better
Bingo – score one for Buick.
No, it is not as good as the Lexus equivalent (although, I find it a
worthy competitor). But, just being able to creep into the subconscious
of a Lexus-knowing consumer is a victory for GM and Buick. If this
Buick LaCrosse had more power and slightly better driving dynamics, it
could take the fight to Lexus.
I got to the point where I was jetting out of any parking lot that may
have had an individual old enough to remember voting during the time of
JFK. I tried to drive like the moron I like to be, but the Buick’s AWD
and its tepid power wasn’t having any of that. Indeed, I constantly
found myself behaving despite my evil intentions.
This car hums along comfortably – all day – no matter how poor driver’s motoring.
Still, I got this baby down to a combined 17 mpg – which is bad (the
CXL AWD is rated at 16 mpg city and 26 mpg highway) yet, it made me
feel better. This meant that I was rough enough to bring the overall,
normally combined mileage of about 21 mpg WAY down.
The interior is lovely to look at with pleasant trim mixed with great
feeling leather. There is plenty of legroom, front and rear – headroom
is not too shabby either. Seats give good support for big people like
me. One item that elderly folk may not like is the VERY hard to
comprehend ocean of buttons. It needs to be simplified, enlarged and
color-coded for the technologically challenged.
Most of the driving characteristics of the Buick LaCrosse are tight,
smooth and predictable. I was not expecting decent balance when
cornering and I had a lot more grip than I expected. MOST impressive
was the excellent traction in our recent slushy snow. The Buick
LaCrosse never put a tire wrong. I felt so confident that I opted to
use the LaCrosse rather than my Rover to take the kids to school.
Yes, there are other glitches: the trunk is too small (for a vehicle
this size) and has thick lifting pillars obstructing some of the cargo
space, the steering feel is light at best, it can be thirsty and some
of the electronic goodies are less than intuitive to use.
Would I suggest a car like this to Granny?
If she lived in snow country and wanted to spend about 36K – yup.
Automotive media, racing, vehicle evaluation, wrecking yards, and car
sales are just a part of Nathan Adlen’s vehicular past. He writes out
of high octane passion! To read more reviews by Nathan Adlen or just to
enjoy more of excellent writing please visit him on at his examiner.com