Buick LaCrosse CXS
Classy exterior styling. Luxurious interior with super supple leather. Roomy
and cleanly laid out interior. Stable, soft, lexus-like ride.
Lacks road feel through steering which is a bit soft. Higher quality wood
trim is needed to match the leather. Other than that it's an amazing car.
been making cars for 100 years and until recently their cars have been the
staple of older American car buyers. When you see a Buick on the road it is
usually driven by a grey haired driver. Buick's have come to be known as
the couch on wheels, offering basic transportation for the driver that does
not really want to drive. Well, after a huge surge in population and the
need for drivers to actually pay attention while driving, GM is beginning to
offer vehicles that provide luxury and control, with agile handling and a
comfortable driver's seat. This Buick LaCrosse begins a revolution from
Buick that will surely put it back on the map when looking for a luxurious
"Buick has been successful
for 100 years primarily because it has produced great passenger cars - and
LaCrosse is the first of a new lineup of cars that will demonstrate how we
are going to build on our strengths as we move into our second century. Our
cars will be more powerful than ever. They will be quieter than our
competition. They will be beautiful and elegant. And they will feature ride
and handling that is smooth and at the same time agile and responsive."
These are words from Mark D. Hines, marketing director for Buick's midsize
cars. High marks for a model that replaces the Regal and Century,
accounting for more than half of total car sales for Buick.
standard engine in the top-of-the-line CXS model is a new aluminum 3.6 Liter
V-6 with VVT (variable valve timing). This premium model offers 240
horsepower and 255 lb.-ft of torque with an estimated fuel economy of 19 mpg
city and 28 mpg highway, though we only achieved 18.5 mph in mixed driving
on our new test car. The base CX and mid level CXL LaCrosse models offer an
older GM V6. The new VVT V-6 engine is incredibly smooth, feeling more like
a Lexus engine than a GM powerplant. Gear shifts are barely noticeable,
both when downshifting or upshifting. The engine is also very quiet under
normal operation. There is a bit of a heavy pedal feeling, which makes you
feel more like you are driving a large car than a BMW 3 series but overall
it is quite good.
refined the LaCrosse's suspension extensively. Tuning is 80 percent new
compared with the regal. Other improvements
include rebound damper bumpers that are four times longer for improved
cushioning; retuned power steering systems for improved response and more
precise on-center feel at higher speeds; and a new aluminum engine cradle
and mounting system for quieter and smoother powertrain performance. The
result is a car that feels controllable, agile, while being smooth and
responsive. Large 17-inch wheels in chrome also help provide a feeling of
more control than your usual Buick. Even traction control, GM's
StabiliTrack, was included as a first for a midsize Buick. The Gran
Trouring suspension is standard on the CXS which features larger stabilizer
bars than the two base models.
design is something that you will no longer be able to complain about in the
Lacrosse. The exterior is simply stunning to look at, very much fashioned
like a Maserati Quattroporte. The shape of the windows from the profile
view is simply beautiful. The front hood is curvaceous and sleek with
sculpted forms sweeping back toward the windshield. Futuristic looking
headlamps up front slide back onto the sides of the car. The rear end is
also styled well with classy tail lamps similar to those on a Mercedes E
class. There is loads of bling-bling to glitter back at you from the clear
headlamps to the abundant use of chrome trim all over the exterior. All
body panels fit well and a small wheel gap lends to a great overall
appearance. American cars have finally gotten it right!
"The latest industry battleground has moved inside
the vehicle, where automakers must create interiors in which owners will
actually want to spend time," said Christopher J. Gamble, design manager of
instrumentation and components for LaCrosse. "Creating such an environment
is more important than ever for us, as Buick establishes itself as a premium
yet attainable automotive brand to a new generation of consumers."
The interior is a sight to marvel and a
tantalizing feeling for your sense of touch. It exudes high quality, from
generous use of burl wood trim, chrome tipped dials, and ultra soft
leather. The overall effect is an elegant and comfortable environment with
parts that all feel great to the touch. Many surfaces are covered in
"protein vinyl" which is vinyl and silk milled together to create a more
supple and durable surface. As you open the door chrome oval doorsills greet
you with the Buick name. Even the headliner is made from an elegant woven
fabric, not the fuzzy material found in most other cars in this category.
Every part inside feels great, and that is a whole lot to say for a car
built by GM.
The LaCrosse is also superbly quiet with all
windows closed. Significant emphasis was placed on Buick's goal of
providing best-in-class quietness. This initiative, called "QuietTuning,"'
is an all-encompassing approach to reduce unwanted noise and vibration
levels even further throughout the entire body structure. We only found
high wind noise from the sunroof when open. Windows do not cause loud
booming which can be found in many other cars.
XM satellite radio along with OnStar is
offered and is quite useful we found. The leather wrapped steering wheel is
generously appointed with controls for stereo, climate control temperature,
as well as cruise control features. It is all done in a nice and sleek
looking package. The steering wheel is also manually adjustable four ways.
We would have liked the LaCrosse to have wood or chrome inlay around the
central dash where black plastic is currently used.
The instrument cluster is clean and modern
with a green background color and crisp white needles, even chrome rings are
placed around the dials for a upper class feeling. An information display
in the instrument cluster shows all trip computer functions as well as
OnStar functions and any errors in the vehicle.
All buttons feel solid to the touch,
another first for a GM product. Headlamps are automatic, turning on when
the skies get dark. We would have liked Bi-Xenon lamps in this high-end
model. A Dual temperature climate control system works very well and is
quiet also. Perhaps a bit too many buttons were on the system but overall
it was clean and easy to use. Front seats are also heated with two
temperature settings. We also liked the dual use of the unlock button also
being able to unlock the rear hatch, just one less button or lever you have
to hunt for. We would like the rear hatch to have a button on it as well
though, which the LaCrosse lacked. Even air vents feel solid and well made
with smooth movement and chrome tipped knobs. Our LaCrosse also featured
Ultrasonic rear parking assist sensors that let out a discreet tone as you
near an object while reversing.
compartment is equally comfortable and luxurious. We liked the large center
armrest and chrome door handles. A 60/40 split folding seatback is standard
without losing the convenience of a center mounted armrest with integrated
cup holders. We would like a handle on the armrest of the door to grab for
times when the driver gets excited with all that horsepower. Front seat
backs are also very large and thus take away from the amount of legroom in
back. The rear quarter windows have been moved into the C-pillars from the
rear doors. They add a nice old world charm to the LaCrosse.
To meet a wider array of
customer requirements, the 2005 Buick LaCrosse is offered in either a five-
or six-passenger seating configuration. In the five-passenger models, a
wide center armrest provides a deep, multi-function storage area that holds
up to eight CDs, an integrated coin holder and a power outlet. The forward
edge of the armrest/console has a molded-in penholder. Rear of the shifter
is an innovative open storage bin with an articulating arm that serves a
dual purpose as a multi-sized, adjustable cup holder.
The LaCrosse offers a new for
GM Bosch 5.3 series antilock brake system. The system also regulates
braking force. Traction control is also offered on the CXS model regulating
engine as well as brakes to restore traction. GM's StabiliTrak stability
enhancement system is also available on the LaCrosse, a first for any Buick
midsize car. More technology is found in the steering system, where GM uses
Delphi's Magnasteer system to adjust steering effort depending on vehicle
The Buick LaCrosse CXS is
priced at $28,335. Our model featured the Gold convenience package for
$1,150. A very small price for a long list of great features including the
multifunction steering wheel, universal garage transmitters, auto dimming
inside mirror, heated power outside mirrors and a power passenger seat as
well as the rear parking assist sensors. A power sunroof costs $900. 17
inch chrome plated wheels cost just $650. Stabilitrak is a separate option
for $495. Head curtain side impact airbags cost $395. XM satellite radio
with service for three months adds $325. Heated front seats cost $295. The
chrome appearance package was another $295. A remote vehicle start system
adds only $150 and is integrated into the remote, a very handy feature.
These $4,655 worth of options brings our vehicle total to $32,990. A price
which puts the LaCrosse in competition with a great number of vehicles in
the market. GM has finally built a car with style and quality along with
luxurious appointments and a great overall ride. This is a vehicle to test
drive when previously you might have overlooked it.