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2010 Buick LaCrosse Review & Test Drive

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‘IT AIN’T YOUR GRANDFATHERS BUICK ANYMORE’

The all-new 2010 Buick LaCrosse is turning heads and returning younger consumers into Buick showrooms for a test drive.  The average age coming into Buick showrooms has dropped from the mid-60’s to the mid-50’s as the tastefully styled new LaCrosse is being driven home by younger consumers.

The week I had the LaCrosse was the U.S. Open Gold Championship held 350 miles north at Pebble Beach.  GM furnished many of the needed vehicles to shuttle guests around the golf course so all of the loaded GM vehicles were sent north to accommodate the needs.  Therefore I was left with the base CX LaCrosse but I am not complaining.

The base CX LaCrosse is loaded with standard equipment and features not found in any of the competition and makes for an excellent family sedan.

The new styling hits the mark with sculpted round front and rear fascias with just the right amount of chrome to give the car an elegant look.  Up front is the new signature Buick aluminum and chrome grille and just below is another air-intake to give the look a sporty cue.  The scalloped hood features dual heat-extractors in chrome to add even more sportiness to the look.  The silhouette features a low front end, steeply raked ‘A’ pillars sweeping down to the short rear deck with lip spoiler.  A crease that runs from the end of the front lamp clusters to the rear lamp clusters adds a touch of action as it kicks up through the rear door.  Down below the doors is a long chrome strip that matches the full-perimeter chrome strip that wraps around the greenhouse windows, which adds another luxury cue.  The large rear lamp clusters overlap from rear to side, feature LED bulbs, and are wrapped in chrome.  The rear also carries a large bar of chrome with the signature Buick three-shield logo cut into the center.  Down below the rear bumper are two mufflers but there were no exhaust tips, but it gave the rear a seamless look.

The total look is long, low and sleek with luxury design cues and appointments.

The sculpted round exterior follows suit inside with excellent, high quality materials, superb workmanship and attention to detail.  I felt comfortable with at-home peacefulness behind the leather-wrapped, three-spoke, tilt/telescoping steering wheel with buttons for the cruise-control and audio system.   The split cockpit design is perfectly divided with a full-length center console containing the easy-to-use, leather/wood wrapped shifter encased in a chrome surrounded shift-gate, dual cupholders under an accordion-opening slide, also surrounded with chrome, and a padded armrest which slides for the perfect position and hides a deep and wide storage bin.  The dashboard is covered with high-quality, faux leather padding that adds more luxury.  The dashboard features a high-quality faux wood strip that runs from the door-to-door across the top of the dashboard.  The rest of the dashboard is covered with soft-to-the-touch material.

The air-vents are located at the end of the dashboard, and at each end of the center stack.  The center stack is well designed with easy-to-use buttons and dials.  You can feel the extra quality when you turn a dial or switch.

My base CX came with the quality cloth bucket front and rear 40/60 split bench.  The seats were comfortable but lagged extra lateral support found on the leather-trimmed optional seats.  The instrument cluster features a real leather hood, and easy-to-read and understand gauges.  The look is both sporty and elegant with delicate yet sporty needles.

The inside door trim design was not overlooked and features the end part of the dashboard strip of warm wood that expands its dimension and surrounds the unique door handle with the sharp and sleek aluminum sweep and chrome door pull.  Down below is a pull-out storage area.  The top of the door trim was also covered in the quality faux leather material that covers the dash pad.

All buttons, switches, and dials are within easy reach and all are fully illuminated for safe nighttime driving.  The 60/40 rear seat is   comfortable and you have vents blowing hot/cooled air into the rear and a pull-down center armrest with dual cupholders.  The 60/40-rear bench fold down quickly and easily to provide extra storage through the trunk.

Each door also opens wide for easy entry and exit and four grab handles above each door makes entry and exit even easier.

The LaCrosse has the new contemporary style that can’t be beat, and features a uniquely designed interior with higher quality materials and workmanship, featuring Buicks ‘quiet tuning’ that eliminates all outside noise.  It is very comfortable inside for long or short drives.

I enjoyed my time driving the all-new LaCrosse since the base in-line, 2.4 liter Ecotec, DOHC, direct-injected engine puts out a remarkable 182hp at 6,700rpm and 182lb.ft. of torque at 4,900rpm.  That is plenty of power and torque to quickly move the base CX. It is also the lightest of the three models at just 3,948lbs.

I had no problems at red lights and blended in perfectly with the LA city traffic, even maneuvering around slow traffic on the streets and easily passing on the LA freeways.   The middle CXL model features a 3.0 liter V6 VVT, direct injected engine making 255hp and 217lb.ft. of torque, while the CXS model features a 3.6 liter V6 VVT, direct injected engine that generates 280hp and 259lb.ft. of torque.  You can order AWD in the 3.5 liter equipped CXL.

The smooth shifting Hydra-Matic 6T40 6-speed automatic is great and features sequential shifting on the fly.  The 6T40 transmission is mated to all three engines.

Fun and easy-to-drive dynamics were also top notch with the fully independent suspension that features MacPherson strut coil-over springs, twin-tube dampers with gas-charging valving, and a hollow direct-acting stabilizer bar to keep the front end well planted at speed and when cornering.  The rear independent suspension also kept the rear wheels planted on the road.  It features an ‘H’ arm setup with coil springs, twin-tube dampers with gas-charging valving, and a solid stabilizer to keep the rear inline when cornering and to fight cross-winds on the straight-aways at high speed.  The power-assisted, variable-effort rack & pinion steering system gave me good feel for the road and a very good on-center feel.  My inputs into direction change were fast and accurate with very little corrections.  The feel was always comfortable and well damped over poorly paved roads.  On twisting mountain roads the LaCrosse tracked very well through steep curves.  I was amazed how well it handles to steep turns of the two-lane highway up in the mountains.

Brakes are powerful because they are large, steel discs.  Up front are 12.6in. vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers while 12.4in. solid discs clamps on large, single-piston calipers.  Standard ABS and BA keep you in control during severe maneuvers on slick or wet pavement.

The base CX rides on standard 17X7in. steel wheels.  My base CX came with only two options, machined 17in. aluminum wheels and the red jewel tint-coat paint.  The CXL and CXS come standard with 18X8in. wheels with 19X8in. wheels optional on Touring.

The all-new 2010 Buick LaCrosse was well thought out in initial design and engineering meeting and the finished products is a great looking, comfortable family sedan that brings a fresh look for Buick.  It can be the great American family sedan with a base price of just $26,245.00 with a long list of standard equipment that will fulfill most driving needs.

The standard feature list includes stability control, traction control, BA, XM radio, power door locks and power windows with front express up/down and rear express down, tilt-telescoping, leather-wrapped steering wheel, remote keyless entry, automatic heating/AC control with air filtration, cruise-control, AM-FM/CD radio with 7-speakers, heated/power remote sideview mirrors, electric park brake, blue ambient lighting, 8-way power driver seat, 2-way powered front passenger seat, self-dimming rearview mirror, personalization center with outside temperature readout, 2-power outlets, cargo net, retained accessory power, rear defroster, lighted visor mirrors, map/magazine storage net behind each front seat, dual map lamps, thick pile-carpeting with front/rear floor mats, and XM satellite radio with subscription.  Options include auto dual-zone heating/AC system, Bluetooth for phone, power driver lumbar support, remote start, universal home remote, Adaptive HID headlamps, head-up display, Harmon-Kardon Premium amp, tuner and speakers, USB port, 110-volt outlet, heated/ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, rear power sunshade, Buick Navigation System, rear-seat DVD entertainment system, side blind zone alert and rear thorax airbags.

Standard safety features include stabilitrak stability control with traction control, driver and front passenger airbags front and side thorax, head side-curtain airbags for all rows, battery-run down protection, daytime running lamps, 1-year ONSTAR with directions and automatic crash response and turn-by-turn navigation, LATCH system for child seats, theft deterrent system, content theft alarm, five three-point safety belts with front load limiters/pretensioners, adjustable height seatbelt anchors, head restraints that pivot, front and rear crush zones and steel beams in each door.

I almost forgot.  Driving the well equipped and powerful CX with the 2.4 liter direct-injected inline four-cylinder engine returned 19mpg in the city and a healthy 30mpg on the highway.  Now with a low base price and very good fuel mileage, the all-new Buick LaCrosse is a great bargain and deal.

COPYRIGHT:2010:HARVEY SCHWARTZ

SPECIFICATIONS

Price: Base CX $26,245
Type: Large Sedan
Where Built: United States
EPA Class: Midsize Cars

Dimensions

Exterior
Length: 196.9 in. Width: 73.1 in.
Height: 59.2 in. Wheel Base: 111.7 in.
Curb Weight: 3829 lbs.

Interior
Front Head Room: 38 in.
Front Hip Room: 55.2 in.
Front Shoulder Room: 57.4 in.
Rear Head Room: 37.3 in.
Rear Shoulder Room: 56 in.
Rear Hip Room: 53.9 in.
Front Leg Room: 41.7 in.
Rear Leg Room: 40.5 in.
Luggage Capacity: 13.3 cu. ft.
Maximum Seating: 5

Performance Data

Base Number of Cylinders: 4
Base Engine Size: 2.4 liters
Base Engine Type: Inline 4
Horsepower: 182 hp
Max Horsepower: 6700 rpm
Torque: 172 ft-lbs.
Max Torque: 4900 rpm
Maximum Towing Capacity: 1000 lbs.
Drive Type: FWD
Turning Circle: 38.7 ft.

Fuel Data

Fuel Tank Capacity: 18.4 gal.
EPA Mileage Estimates: 17/27/22 (City/Highway/Combined)
Range in Miles: 312.8/496.8/404.8 (City/Highway/Combined)

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