Friday, July 25, 2014

Buick's LaCrosse sedan is worth knowing

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website  via the “GALLERY: Reviews of new cars” link at

Sacramento, California – Buick has been bombarding the TV airwaves with commercials insisting that the public really doesn’t “know” the General Motors division.  Some ads show puzzled folks standing in front of a gleaming car that they’re quite sure is not a Buick.

I guess the iconic Buick logo the approximate size of a Frisbee on the front grille didn’t tip them off.

Anyway, I get it.  Yes, Buick has made changes, and it made some pretty big ones for its 2014 LaCrosse full-size sedan.

Change is good in this case.  I confess that I liked the LaCrosse as it was, feeling it was a relatively well-kept secret in a market where most buyers’ eyes seemed drawn to all those shiny Lexus, Infiniti, BMW and Mercedes-Benz sedans.

The 2014 LaCrosse was redesigned inside and out.  On the front end, a seriously imposing grille (Buick calls it a “waterfall” grille) can be accented by saucy-looking LED lamps.  The wrap-around lamps on the tail end look pretty sharp as well.

Inside, the interior layout of controls – a reworked center stack is part of the new package – is much easier to learn and use from the driver’s seat.

The LaCrosse has a ton of tech goodies on the menu, including warning systems overseeing lane changes, blind spots and potential collisions front and rear.  Yes, some of these can be sensitive and jarring, but for the most part, they function appropriately enough so as not to disturb the pleasure of driving.

Figuring out the alphanumeric-named trim levels of the current LaCrosse lineup might throw you off course, but in simple terms, my tester was a LaCrosse Premium with front-wheel drive.  It was incredibly dressed up with extras, which pushed the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $39,755 way up the ladder to $49,235.

Say it with me: WOW!

Considering the full-size crowd of cars that the LaCrosse must compete with, I suppose that explains the sticker jolt to some degree.  Needless to say, prospective buyers should carefully consider the option packages being offered on the LaCrosse.

Power on my ride was provided by a 3.6-liter V-6 with 304 horsepower.  The power plant was responsive and capable in all situations, and on-demand, high-end power rushed to the fore quickly when asked.

Fuel mileage is so-so at 18 miles per gallon in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

Overall, this LaCrosse holds its own amid the feature-loaded, glittery competition.  It’s a solid “B” or “B-plus” of an American sedan.

Is this Buick worth knowing?   Absolutely.  If you haven’t test driven a Buick passenger car in a long time, this LaCrosse is a ride worthy of your time.


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