One of the most important GM brands in China, Buick, is largely an also ran here in America with the exception of the gray haired citizens among us. This is especially true for those that previously would have, or could have, bought a Cadillac in better economic times or before Cadillac started making high-powered sport sedans. There does seem to be an infusion of life on the horizon with the Invicta Concept (see below), but in the interim the most exciting car for Buick is the LaCrosse.
If you’ve driven a new LaCrosse lately, and somewhat begrudgingly I have, than you no doubt are well aware of the most prevalent driving attribute for the sedan: detachment. This is a sad reflection on a company that used to be involved in racing and produced cars like the Grand National. The driving isolation that you feel is by design, of course, for the older set of buyers who want to feel like they are floating on a cloud, or listing in a boat around corners. From a power standpoint, the LaCrosse is more than adequate with the base CX and CXL models producing 200 horses via a V6 that achieves 17 and 28 mpg in city and highway driving. At the upper end of the power spectrum is the “Super” which cranks 300 horsepower out of a 5.3 liter V8. You may argue that the LaCrosse should be in a different segment than the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, but in terms of power it leads both perennial sales leaders in terms of power. Unfortunately, coma-inducing steering and handling coupled with plentiful power are not two things geriatrics should want. Far better for those with let’s say, “declining faculties,” to be better in tune with driving conditions, their speed and whether they just ran into the mailbox backing out of the driveway. Inside, room is as plentiful as you would expect from looking at it with seating for six. Trying to evaluate the interior with the eyes, or trifocals, of a potential Buick consumer I can see how the broad, rather cushy seats and simple controls may be appealing. This does not make up for the fact that the quality of materials and construction lag behind nearly every other competitor.
Pricing for the 2009 LaCrosse begins at just over $26,000 and well into the $30 grand range for the “Super.” In the final analysis, even if you are dead set on buying domestic; the Malibu, G8 and Chrysler 300 outclass the LaCrosse by leaps and bounds.