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  • 2010 Buick Lacrosse CXS

    Posted on October 16th, 2010 jwoodman

    Featured-packed luxury sedan from Buick appeals to a new generation

    by Jim Woodman

    Buick LaCrosse CXS

    If you haven’t driven a Buick lately, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. For many of us who grew up in an age where Buick owners were either your grandparents or their parents, it’s always been hard to wrap your head around adding Buick to your short list of car choices.Any self-respecting young professional worried about status and perception should be looking at Lexus, BMW or Mercedes, right? Well … maybe not. It’s time to put away those old biases and start looking at how the American manufacturers are packing a lot of luxury features into cars that quite honestly rival their foreign counterparts at thousands less.

    On a recent visit to Miami, I had the opportunity to drive the 2010 Buick Lacrosse CXS and came away duly impressed. Most telling was when I picked up one of my sisters at the airport and, after a few minutes of idle chit chat, she commented on how luxurious the car was. “What kind of car is this?” It’s a Buick Lacrosse, I explained.

    “This is a Buick?” she replied. “I had no idea they made cars this nice inside.”

    It got me thinking either Buick has done a lousy job at marketing or old biases die very hard.

    Before you think this is all about me blowing smoke up the Lacrosse’s tail pipe, I’m by no means suggesting this car is a runaway segment leader. I’m simply trying to make the point that GM, and Buick specifically, has made tremendous strides in appealing to a hipper, younger and a more tech savvy audience whose idea of roughing it is going without a café latte while camping in their air-conditioned RV.

    Okay, enough rambling about Buick’s terrible brand perception and on to the whole point of this article.

    While certainly borrowing a lot of ideas from Cadillac, the body style is uniquely Buick. The roofline slopes back toward the trunk and looks a little bit like a Lexus GS sedan. While I really like the look, the only slight negative is that it leaves smaller rear windows and more of a blind spot if you’re doing a quick head check. Though if you adjust your mirrors correctly, blind spots aren’t an issue.

    Inside the Lacrosse

    Nowadays, you expect to find all the creature comforts and technical gadgets when making a buying decision. From perforated and heated leather seating with 8-way power and lumbar control to dual zone climate control, satellite radio, passive entry, keyless start, memory seats, navigation, Bluetooth integration and 120V power outlet, the Buick is loaded.

    Buick Lacrosse’s Upscale Interior

    A combination of wood trim and soft plastics covering the dash create a luxurious feel to the colorful instrument panel. The instrument cluster uses colorful graphics to show trip, navigation, and audio information. I found the navigation system very intuitive and easy to use. The touch-screen LCD was excellent for viewing music information, whether downloaded onto the Lacrosse’s hard drive or through the XM satellite radio. The same LCD screen doubles as a backup camera when the Lacrosse is in reverse. And the 384-watt Harmon/Kardon 11-speaker audio system delivered excellent highs and lows throughout the cabin.

    The navigation system’s maps are stored on the car’s internal hard drive, making route calculation and map-refresh super quick. And the navigation unit also dials in traffic information and gives you a proactive warning whenever it sees bad traffic ahead allowing you to choose a detour to avoid the congestion.

    In addition to Navigation, you also get a year of GM Onstar that also features turn by turn navigation and automatic crash response.
    The trunk was plenty big enough to load a standard 56 cm road bicycle by only removing the front wheel.

    Driving Impressions

    If you’ve read our positive reviews on the Buick Enclave, which essentially turned a lot of heads and got families interested in this attractive Crossover, I would say Lacrosse is the next big head turner. And even though Buick is getting huge traction in China, selling twice as many vehicles as in the United States, cars like the Lacrosse will certainly get younger Americans biting on the Buick brand.

    My Lacrosse was equipped with the optional $800 Touring Package which, in addition to 19” 9-spoke alloy wheels, delivers continuously real-time damping and option to choose a sport or normal mode. The front wheel drive and soft suspension certainly help absorb any bumps or potholes but don’t lend themselves to a real “sport performance” feel. In fact, even in sport mode I didn’t really want to power the car around a turn. The Lacrosse is all about comfort and pampering the occupants.

    The LaCrosse CXS features the same direct injection 3.6-liter V-6 as the Cadillac CTS and Chevrolet Camaro. At 280 horses and 259 pound-feet of torque, you’re not going to feel underpowered in this Buick. The transmission shifted very smoothly and acceleration was excellent from a dead stop.

    There’s a pretty big range for EPA mileage estimates — 17 mpg city and 27 mpg highway – due to a couple big gears designed to maximize fuel efficiency at freeway speeds.

    Safety

    GM’s Stabilitrak stability control system with traction control helps keep the car straight on slicker surfaces and the Lacrosse is completely outfitted with front and side driver and passenger air bags and side curtain bags for all rows.

    Overall, I walked away extremely impressed with the Buick Lacross CXS. In fact, if I were in the market for a sedan, the Lacrosse would certainly be on my short list. At $37,930 it comes in way cheaper than similarly equipped models from Mercedes, Acura, Infiniti, BMW and Lexus.

    Quick facts:

    Make: Buick
    Model: Lacrosse CXA
    Year: 2010
    Base price: $33,015
    As tested: $37,930
    Horsepower: 280 Hp @ 6300 rpm
    Torque: 259 lbs.-ft. @ 4800 rpm
    Zero-to-sixty: N/A
    Antilock brakes: Standard
    Side curtain airbags: Standard
    First aid kit: N/A
    Bicycle friendly: Yes
    Towing: No
    Off-road: No
    Fuel economy: 17/27 mpg city/highway

     

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