GM is on a roll! Whether you’re talking new full-size pickups, the Corvette Stingray, the Cadillac ATS and CTS, or that the new Chevrolet Impala tops consumer reports sedan ratings. Call us home teamers all you want, but we love seeing the general storm back. On that score, the Buick LaCrosse has already had quite an impact on the premium mid-size sedan class, but now GM is sending reinforcements for a further attempt to shock and awe.
We were certainly shocked by the 2014 Buick LaCrosse. Shocked at how nice it is! And while we’ve been a fan of the LaCrosse’s sleek style and premium interior since the previous design launch for 2010, things have only gotten better.
The chic sheet-metal that graces the latest LaCrosse is not a “departure from”, but rather a “refinement of” the previous design. Exterior dimensions remain the same, but body panels are more flowing, the hood more sculpted, and the grille more expressive.
Headlights are more angular in appearance, highlighted by signature wing-shaped LEDs similar to the Buick Enclave’s.
In back, there’s a chrome accent strip spanning the entire width, new wrap-around LED tail lights, and a spoiler integrated into the deck-lid.
The interior is equally well done, with good looking and luxurious feeling materials, even if the “wood” does come from a plastic tree. Four interior themes are available, ours featuring the Ebony with leather package.
A new Ultra Luxury Interior package takes things a notch farther up with leather and real ash wood trim.
Buttons and switches are kept to a minimum, thanks to the Buick IntelliLink 8-inch touch-screen and the captive-touch HVAC controls; except for on the steering wheel where it’s almost button overload.
Gauges are attractive, highly configurable, and you can even bring up navigation maps so you don’t have look away to the center stack.
Rear doors open very wide for easy access and there’s plenty of legroom, but seats are a little on the flat and hard side of things and head room is tight for those over 6-feet. Material quality is very nice back here as well.
Trunk space, at 13.3 cubic-ft, is decent if not great; and there are a lot of protrusions into that space as well as a smallish opening.
A rear view camera, with parking guidance, is standard on all but the base model.
Two Driver Confidence packages are available to beef up safety. Features include lane departure warning, forward collision alert, rear cross traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control among others. Many systems work with GM’s vibrating Safety Alert Seat.
And while the nannys help keep it between the lines, you’ll find the ride is very German, with a surprisingly sporty feel that falls just short of being an all out sport sedan.
We also believe in Buick’s QuietTuning approach as the interior is calm and serene.
The direct injected 3.6-liter V6 engine has plenty of power for passing and excellent pickup for getting off the line.
Output is 304-horsepower with 264 lb-ft. of torque. GM’s light hybrid 2.4-liter I4 eAssist engine is also available; as is Haldex all-wheel-drive with the V6.
At the test track, our all-wheel-drive V6 launched to 60 in 7.4-seconds. The engine revs quickly and shifts from the 6-speed automatic transmission, whether triggered manually or not, are surprisingly quick; as the LaCrosse worked its way to 90 miles-per-hour at the end of the quarter-mile in 15.7-seconds.
As for handling, we found our V6, with adjustable shocks added to the standard HiPer Strut front suspension, remarkably well balanced. Indeed, there is more chassis feel than many Euro sport sedans we’ve driven of late. Steering weight is well done and the front end reacts with nimble lightness.
And the good vibes continue when it came time to slam on the brakes, as our stops averaged 120-feet from 60.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for our V6 AWD are 17-City, 26-Highway, and 20-Combined. We averaged a fine 23 miles-per-gallon of Regular for our test.
Still, the Energy Impact Score is only average at 16.5-barrels of annual oil consumption with CO2 emissions of 7.2 tons.
With so many upgrades, pricing is up significantly over last year however. The base LaCrosse now starts at $34,060. But, add all of the goodies that made our test car so great and you’re over $45,000. As nice as it is, it’s still hard for us to wrap our heads around spending that much on a mid-size Buick.
But, the brand has certainly fired a shot hear ‘round the segment as the 2014 Buick LaCrosse not only delivers the premium style and features we liked before, but does so with much more of the sporty sedan driving disposition we always love, one that some benchmark four-doors are losing in exchange for more comfort and luxury. Strategically, not a bad place for the LaCrosse to be, as it looks like GM’s army of winners has recruited yet another new soldier.
Engine: 3.6-liter V6
Torque: 264 lb-ft.
0-60: 7.4 seconds
1/4 mile: 15.7 seconds @ 90 mph
60-0: 120 ft.
EPA: 17 mph city / 26 mph highway
Energy Impact: 16.5 barrels of oil/yr.
CO2 Emissions: 7.2 tons/yr.