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December 2004
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2005 Buick LaCrosse CXS

The Good: Classy exterior styling. Luxurious interior with super supple leather. Roomy and cleanly laid out interior. Stable, soft, lexus-like ride.

The Bad:  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. 

 

            Buick has 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 cruiser. 

"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.  

            The 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.

            Buick has 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. 

            Exterior 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.

            The rear 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 speed. 

 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. 

 

PRICING INVOICE RETAIL
Base Pricing 26,586 28,335
Destination 660 660
Appearance Pkg, Chrome • CXL, CXS 262 295
Convenience Pkg, Gold • CXL, CXS
(N/A CX) Includes Steering Wheel Touch Controls, Garage Door Opener, Inside Automatic Day/Night Mirror, Dual Heated Power Mirrors, 6-Way Power Passenger's Seat Adjuster, Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist & Switchable Interior Lighting.
1,023 1,150
Seat Adjuster, 6-Way Power Passenger's 311 350
Sun Roof, Power 801 900
Engine Start, Remote Control 133 150
Wheels, Chrome Flangeless 8-Spoke 578 650
StabiliTrak • CXS 440 495
Restraint System, F&R Side Head Curtain Air Bag 351 395
Radio Equipment, XM Feature 289 325
Seats, Heated Front • CXL, CXS 262 295
Engine Start, Remote Control 133 150

 

  2005 Buick LaCrosse
CXS 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 4A)
2005 Chrysler 300
Touring Rwd 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 4A)
2005 Mercury Montego
Premier Fwd 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 6A)
2005 Lexus ES 330
4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl 5A)
2005 Nissan Maxima
3.5 SL 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
MSRP $28,335 $27,095 $26,545 $31,975 $29,450
Invoice $25,927 $25,226 $24,300 $28,350 $26,929
Basic 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi.
Horsepower 240 hp @ 6000 rpm 250 hp @ 6400 rpm 203 hp @ 5750 rpm 225 hp @ 5600 rpm 265 hp @ 5800 rpm
Torque 225 ft-lbs. @ 2000 rpm 250 ft-lbs. @ 3800 rpm 207 ft-lbs. @ 4500 rpm 240 ft-lbs. @ 3600 rpm 255 ft-lbs. @ 4400 rpm
Active Suspension       Optional  
Tires P225/55R17
all season
P215/65TR17
all season
P225/55R18
all season
P215/60VR16
all season
P225/55HR17
all season
Driver Seat Power Adjustable 6 8 8 10 8
Passenger Seat Power Adjustable 6 - Optional Not Available 4 8 4
One-Touch Power Windows 1 1 1 4 2
Xenon Headlights Not Available Not Available Standard Optional Standard
Navigation System Not Available Not Available Not Available DVD navigation system - Optional DVD navigation system - Optional
Turning Circle 40.4 ft. 38.9 ft. 40 ft. 36.8 ft. 40 ft.
City 19 mpg. 19 mpg. 21 mpg. 21 mpg. 20 mpg.
Highway 27 mpg. 27 mpg. 29 mpg. 29 mpg. 28 mpg.
Exterior LaCrosse 300 Montego ES 330 Maxima
Length 198.1 in. 196.8 in. 200.4 in. 191.1 in. 193.5 in.
Width 73 in. 74.1 in. 74.5 in. 71.3 in. 71.7 in.
Height 57.4 in. 58.4 in. 61.5 in. 57.3 in. 58.3 in.
Weight 3568 lbs. 3766 lbs. 3680 lbs. 3472 lbs. 3467 lbs.
Wheel Base 110.5 in. 120 in. 112.9 in. 107.1 in. 111.2 in.
Interior LaCrosse 300 Montego ES 330 Maxima
Front Headroom 39.4 in. 38.7 in. 39.4 in. 37.6 in. 39.7 in.
Rear Headroom 37.2 in. 38 in. 38.7 in. 36.9 in. 37.1 in.
Front Shoulder Room 57.2 in. 59.4 in. 57.8 in. 56.8 in. 57.9 in.
Rear Shoulder Room 57 in. 57.7 in. 57.6 in. 55.8 in. 56.5 in.
Front Hip Room 55.3 in. 55.9 in. 53.7 in. 55.5 in. 53.5 in.
Rear Hip Room 54.6 in. 55.9 in. 53.7 in. 55.5 in. 54.8 in.
Front Leg Room 42.3 in. 41.8 in. 41.3 in. 42.2 in. 43.6 in.
Rear Leg Room 37.6 in. 40.2 in. 41.3 in. 35.6 in. 36.5 in.
Maximum Luggage Capacity 16 cu.ft. 15.6 cu.ft. 21.2 cu.ft. 14.5 cu.ft. 15.5 cu.ft.

 

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