• Jun 4, 2008

The current Buick Lucerne shares its underpinnings with both the Cadillac DTS and the Chevrolet Impala, but all three vehicles are set to go their separate ways when they're refreshed in a couple years. Last month we told you that the Impala was staying FWD, and now Motor Trend is reporting that the Lucerne could still receive RWD, but it won't be as big as the DTS/STS replacement. GM is looking into the feasibility of producing a smaller Lucerne that will ride on a wheelbase several inches shorter than the 118.5-inch spread slated for the future Caddy.

The move to shrink the Lucerne will have a lot to do with stricter CAFE standards in the years ahead. MT wisely points out the fact that the Pontiac G8, which already sits on a smaller Zeta platform, shows that RWD isn't always a fuel drain. The current Lucerne is pulled with the front wheels, and gets 16/25 with the ancient 3.8-liter V6 and 15/22 with the 4.6-liter Northstar, while the smaller G8 achieves 17/25 with the 3.6-liter unit and 15/25 from the tried and true 6.0-liter pushrod. Besides the smaller Zeta's fuel economy advantages, downsizing the Buick helps keep the Caddy exclusive over the more pedestrian Lucerne.

[Source: Motor trend]



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  • 30 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      For 2009, the 3.8 liter V6 in the Lucerne will be replaced by the 3.9 liter that's also offered in the Impala and the G6 convertible. With the death of the Grand Prix, that will leave the Lacrosse as the only car that still offers the 3.8, so I guess that engine is finally on its way out.
      • 6 Years Ago
      DTS, Impala, Lucerne, none of these sluggish old man's car should be alive. Theirs existance can only make more traffic jams.
        • 6 Years Ago
        what are you talking about? 0-60 for the Lucerne V8 and DTS is in the low 7 sec range. That is faster than 99% of the 4 cylinder equipped midsize cars on the road today. The Impala SS gets to 60 in 5.6secs which is faster than Camry V6 or Altima V6. You have no idea what you're talking about.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Hi People, when I say they are sluggish, I didn't mean the 0 - 60 time nor the maximum speed, you people are really staight line thinking, are you? What I mean sluggish, is the car not nimble, not agile. To put in a big engine into an old man'car doesn't make it a nimble car, even though its 0 - 60 may be shorter, doesn't mean anything.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Agreed with Frylock.....

        I've driven an Impala SS and they are anything but slow. It is actually WAY too much power at the front tires to get any type of traction. I also found on the chassis dyno that the SS is not limited, and will accelerate all the way to 155 without any complaints.

        Still a RWD SS would be better.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Don't discount the 2gr-fe powered Camry.
        It is plenty quick.
        I do agree that the ES350 should receive an update to a transverse 2gr-fse V6. 300hp should keep it ahead of the Maxima.
        The Camry should get electric power steering to push the output to 275hp (with mid-grade fuel)
        • 6 Years Ago
        They may be old man's cars, but in their upper trims they are anything but sluggish. Even the Lucerne with the 3800 doesn't feel sluggish once you're behind the wheel. It's no 300c, but it's not an Aveo either.
        • 6 Years Ago
        LaCrosse Super / Impala SS are two of the quickest sedans on the road. They're also the most powerful FWD sedans ever built. Either one will outrun anything with a Toyota badge on the the hood, and make shortwork of any of Lexus's FWD cars.
      • 6 Years Ago
      They still make those 3.8 pushrod engines? Is it series III by now? Being in production for 40 years its probably as reliable as a rock by now, too bad it's gutless and has poor emissions and fuel consumption.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The 3800 is not a 40 year old engine. The Series II, introduced in 1995, is a completely different engine than its' 3.8 liter predecessors. The Series III, introduced in 2003, featured a large number of updates to the Series II. This means the current version of the 3800 is, at most 13 years old and has only been in service in its' current form for five years.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yep, they do. Sadly the Lucerne is heavier than the Park Ave it replaced in addition to the 3.8 being rated down (detuned for emissions?) to a paltry 197hp. It doesn't cut the mustard and neither does the Northstar and its poorer numbers in every facet when compared to a small block Chevy all while increasing cost and complexity. Toss in a boring exterior and it isn't any wonder Lucernes can't be given away.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The 3800 is a damn reliable engine but GM didn't really update it since 95. The differences between SII and SIII were reliability related. The SI 3800 could handle immense power on stock internals. If GM kept the 3800 up to date it would be churning out as much power as the 3.6L does and get better fuel efficiency.
      • 6 Years Ago
      @Papi
      I would kill to see an Epsilon II Impala. if it will look anything like the new Buick Invicta concept with such a muscular stance then i am all for it. I just hope they make it performance oriented enough to take it out of Malibu land.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I hope that's the plan as well. From how things look, though, the Impala is gonna stay on W until about 2012. After that, it will most likely go to a stretched EpII platform.
      • 6 Years Ago
      That's nice, but here's the real question. Why exactly is Buick still alive? What does it do that Cadillac isn't already doing or couldn't do better?

      If you're old and looking for a powerful comfy car why would you buy a Buick Lucerne RWD over a Hyundai Genesis for the all-you-can-eat buffets in Florida and Arizona?
      • 6 Years Ago
      The Lucerne shares with the DTS and (recently) the Bonneville; the Lacrosse/Allure is on the same platform as the Impala and Grand Prix.

      I can see the Lucerne going RWD if the DTS does. The Lacrosse will keep getting cranked out as long as the Impala does, too.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The LaCrosse is due to be replaced on Epsilon II, though, leaving the Impala as the only W-body in the fleet.
      • 6 Years Ago
      OOH
        • 6 Years Ago
        I agree that Lucerne should stay huge. GM doesn't even have to do any work to achieve a big Lucerne. Slap a waterfall grille, some portholes, and a tri-shield on a Holden Statesman/Caprice and you're done. I'd be beating down the doors of the dealer to buy it.
        • 6 Years Ago
        That makes so much sense it's scary.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Frylock - I think that car already exists is China with an awsome interior. Just bring it hear. Of course they call it the Park Avenue. http://jalopnik.com/cars/news/chinas-zeta-cake-buick-park-avenue-251730.php
      • 6 Years Ago
      15/25 not a fuel drain? what are you smoking? my civic NEVER gets below 32, and on the highway, I regularly get over 40. you guys need to rethink what good fuel economy means.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Josiah hit the nail on the head, I think. And to add two more points:

        One, saying "oh, well my Civic gets 30+mpg, so this thing (with an engine that's probably ~3x the size and close to that in power output) gets terrible gas mileage" is, at best, silly. The two cars aren't comparable, and shouldn't be compared. Not everybody wants to drive a wrong wheel drive, i4 powered mobile penalty box with a dashboard straight out of Star Trek, regardless of what kind of mileage it gets. For what this car is-a relatively large, cheap, upscale (but certainly not luxury) sedan with a reasonable amount of power, 15-16 in the city and 25ish on the highway isn't bad. At all.

        And secondly, what constitutes good or acceptable gas mileage depends on your perspective, doesn't it? For me, it matters very little whether my car gets 15mpg or 30. I don't drive that much, and even at $4.30/gallon for premium, 15mpg is perfectly fine with me. If you're commuting 100 miles a day, on the other hand, it's different.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The point was to highlight how the change from FWD to RWD won't effect fuel economy negatively. I don't believe they were making a statement about the G8's overall efficiency.
      • 6 Years Ago
      And the point of this is...? Will grandma or grandpa really care that they can do a real drift now, instead of just tray sliding?
        • 6 Years Ago
        I'm only 25, yet I realize now that Grandma and Grandpa have good taste in cars. You don't need gobs of power (foolish for the road), focus should be on comfort, smooth ride (yet can still take corners without wallowing), fuel economy. Leave the racecar for the track.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I had a '92 and a '99 Park Ave with the 3.6 V-6. Both cars had no problem delivering 32 mpg on the highway with the cruise set @ 65 - 70. At 65 mph the motor was turning around 1600 or so rpm. In town we routinely got 22 mpg, but I drive cautiously.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I've got a 98 Park Avenue Ultra, I get 20-22mpg in the city as well. On the highway I can cruise at 75mph at 1,900rpm's. The G body PA's really were damn good cars.
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