I just finished testing the all-new 2014 Buick LaCrosse with the V6 engine and the Premium 1SP trim package. It is an excellent full-size sedan that offers new interior and exterior design cues, plenty of power and performance with advanced safety technologies and enhanced in-vehicle connectivity.
The new refined stance is low and wide with a sleek silhouette. The front fascia shows a more prominent waterfall chrome grille and new sculpted hood with faux heat extractors. The lower front of the grille features active grille shutters that close at highway speeds to reduce aerodynamic drag. The new front fascia is instantly recognizable as a modern Buick and the LED lighting elements enhance it technologically advanced presence. The headlamp housing have a more angular appearance and LED signature accents echo a familial appearance introduced on the 2013 Enclave. They’ve also been positioned slightly outboard to reinforce the car’s presence. The new Bi-Xenon articulating headlights incorporate new technology with enhanced brilliance that improves visibility, is energy-efficient and environmentally (mercury free). The lower bumper features another air-intake with foglamps at the sides set in chrome. The lower bumper has a full-length chrome strip and also a splitter down below to help with front downforce and a flat panel underneath to help with front airflow. The silhouette shows a low, long and sleek design with just the right amount of chrome. The steeply raked windshield A-pillars flow over and quickly down to the rear deck lid. The side includes a full-perimeter chrome strip around the greenhouse, aero-styled power-remote/heated/self-dimming sideview mirrors with directional repeater, flared fenders, chrome pull-out door handles, a chrome strip below each door and lower side extensions to lower the center of gravity further enhancing stability at high speeds. At the rear, a full-width chrome accent reinforces the car’s stance, while fully enclosed exhaust outlets are framed with a chrome finish within the new rear fascia. It is a more integrated appearance designed to show Buick’s attention to detail. An integrated rear spoiler is incorporated in the trailing edge of the deck lid to help improve aerodynamic performance and new LED taillamps-in all-new, wraparound housings-provide a safety benefit by illuminating more quickly than conventional bulbs when the brakes are applied. Down below is a diffuser to help with airflow out the rear. In the front and rear, LaCrosse’s new LED lamps continue the wing-shaped signature appearance that distinguishes Buick’s day and night. With pinched windows the new LaCrosse has a ‘four-door coupe’ look, tight, taut, refined yet luxurious.
The LaCrosse comes equipped with two engine choices: a standard 2.4 liter four-cylinder engine with eAssist light electrification technology, rated at 182hp, and an optional 3.6 liter V6 that I tested in my LaCrosse. This powerful V6 features DOHC, all-aluminum block/heads, Direct Injection with continuously variable valve timing to produce 304hp at 6,800rpm and 264lb.ft. of torque at 5,300rpm. Both engines are mated to six-speed automatic FWD transmissions with sequential shifting. The V6 also features a Sport mode that recalibrates the shift points and tightens the Real Time Dampers for a more responsive ride. LaCrosse is also available with an advanced Haldex all-wheel drive system with electronic limited slip differential that automatically decides how to distribute torque based on vehicle speed, throttle position and individual wheel slip. I would recommend this system where weather is harsh in the winter. I guide the all-new LaCrosse with the standard electric power steering system. This technology helps to save fuel by drawing energy only when the wheels are turned. It also contributes to the LaCrosse’s excellent driving experience with variable assist at different speeds. On the highway the system gave me excellent feedback from the road with very quick response to my inputs. On the city streets the boost was higher but still with quick response to my inputs.
Contributing to the great and easy-to-drive experience is the fully independent suspension with Real Time Damping that reads the road in milliseconds. Up front is a HiPer strut coil-over spring setup with twin-tube dampers with gas-charged valving and hollow direct acting stabilizer bar for quick response and a smooth ride on poorly paved roads. The rear is an H-arm setup with real-time damping, coil springs, gas-charged shocks and a solid stabilizer bar. The ride is always controlled, when passing slower moving vehicles on the road and when changing lanes in fast moving highway driving.
Quickly and safely slowing the all-new LaCrosse down from speed are power-assisted steel disc brakes. Up front are 12.6 inch vented rotors clamped with dual-piston calipers and 12.4 inch vented discs clamped with single-piston calipers in the rear. Standard ABS, StabiliTrak and Traction Control are work together to keep the car headed in the direction that I chose when braking hard on slick or wet pavement. For excellent stability, traction and grip the all-new 2014 LaCrosse Premium rides on big 19X8 inch chrome alloy wheels wrapped with 245/45R19 inch Goodyear Eagle RS-A high-performance tires. The powertrain, steering, suspension and brakes are on par with all entry-level luxury sedans.
The interior features a sweeping dashboard using the finest materials and craftsmanship with excellent attention to detail. The LaCrosse interior uses fine leather; aluminum and chrome trim plus high-quality faux dark wood that sweeps from the dashboard through the front and rear doors. Everywhere is soft-to-the-touch materials. The new instrument cluster features an eight-inch configurable color driver information and cluster display. The sporty, new leather-wrapped/aluminum trimmed/tilt/telescopic steering wheel feels perfect in my hands for easy use. The front bucket seats are very comfortable and supportive and feature power adjustments for both up front including lumbar adjustments for the driver’s side. All buttons, dials, switches and levers are high-quality and within easy reach. While the LaCrosse’s new interior brings more amenities and enhanced personal technology with next-generation IntelliLink, it does so with greater simplicity. The new center stack radio controls, for example, have only seven buttons vs. the previous 17. The larger eight-inch color touch screen is designed to be easier to operate with intuitive controls and smartphone-influenced swipe recognition for easier navigation. The dual-zone climate controls with air filtration also feature capacitive-touch operation and are framed in chrome. The rear headrests fold down to enhance rearward visibility, while the new four-way adjustable front headrests are designed to provide a greater range of comfort, particularly for taller drivers. Interior features inside my test LaCrosse includes grab handles above each door, dual map lamps, dual lighted vanity mirrors, power windows with all express down and front express up/down, power door locks, driver-side easy exit/entry system, electronic parking brake, an eight-inch color touch radio with CD/MP3 player and auxiliary input, XM satellite radio, cruise control, floor mats front/rear, cargo net, dual cupholders and storage bin with padded leather armrest up front, pull-down rear armrest with dual cupholders/storage compartment, storage slots in each door, lighted glovebox, map pockets behind the front seatbacks, rear air outlets behind the front center console, 60/40 split rear fold down seats, rear cargo net with light, two auxiliary power outlets, ambient lighting, Bluetooth for phone and music, USB port, auto-dimming rearview mirror, universal home remote, remote start, 120-volt power outlet, a Bose 11-speaker surround-sound audio system, rain-sensing wipers/washers and aluminum front kick plates, heated/cooled front seats, ultrasonic rear parking assist, memory seats for two drivers, rear vision camera, E-Z key passive entry, push buttons start/stop, heated steering wheel and a power rear sunshade.
LaCrosse uses Buick’s unique QuietTuning engineering that defines Buick’s quality, sound and vibration characteristics and refinement by following a three-point strategy of reducing sounds at their source, blocking sounds from entering the cabin and absorbing any remaining sounds. LaCrosse’s specific QuietTuning features include acoustical laminate on the windshield and front glass, steel laminate on the front-of-dash body area, expanded baffles in the roof pillars, extensive use of melt-on sound deadeners throughout the entire lower body structure, and sound-absorbing material throughout LaCrosse’s engine, passenger and cargo compartments.
Buick’s next-generation IntelliLink Infotainment system debuts on the 2014 LaCrosse. It offers more features designed for intuitive, easy-to-use functionality and incorporates a higher level of wireless connectivity and customized options building on the safety and security of OnStar. In addition to easily identifiable icons covering everything from navigation to phone to music apps such as Pandora, next-generation IntelliLink is designed to accommodate new features and enhancements and be highly customizable. It also features natural language voice recognition, which allows customers to safely place calls, enter destinations, browse media, play music and control other functions simply by telling the vehicle what to do. On its eight-inch screen, customers can swipe and drag. Users with compatible smartphones can pair them with IntelliLink using Bluetooth or a USB connection. This gives customers the ability to play passengers’ music or other media through the car. Standard safety equipment includes driver/front passenger front/side thorax airbags, head side curtain for all rows, battery run-down protection, 3-point safety belts for all five-seats with front pretensioners/load limiters, remote keyless entry, theft deterrent system, front/rear crumple zones and steel beams in each door.
Options that came with my test LaCrosse Premium included Forward Warning System, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Blind Side Zone Alert, Head-Up Display and a Navigation System. You’d be hard pressed to find another entry-level full-size sedan that offers the unique styling, comfort, convenience, luxury, infotainment and safety features as the all-new 2014 Buick LaCrosse.
COPYRIGHT: 2013: HARVEY SCHWARTZ