2011 Lucerne New Car Test Drive
The Buick Lucerne is a highly competent sedan with smooth, clean lines and driving manners to match. Underway, it's smooth and quiet, with precise steering and a chassis that handles winding roads with grace and security. Inside, it's elegant, comfortable and easy to operate. It's a very luxurious car, and at a price that represents a commendable value.
The Buick Lucerne is a full-size, premium sedan with front-wheel drive and a standard V6 engine. The Lucerne CX is a traditional Buick, with the Premium Ride Suspension maximized for cushioned comfort. The Lucerne CXL comes with a firmer (but certainly not at all harsh) Ride and Handling Suspension, and is positioned to compete with the Toyota Avalon and Lexus ES 350. We found it a very enjoyable car to drive, with agile handling and plenty of performance. The CXL Special Edition adds numerous trim and convenience features. The Super is the top of the Lucerne line and includes a V8 engine and Magnetic Ride Control, a sophisticated adaptive suspension with responsive handling.
Advanced safety systems are available on all models. Side Blind-Zone Alert uses radar to provide drivers with more information about vehicles in hard-to-see areas around the car. Lane Departure Warning uses a camera to warn drivers of inadvertent lane changes. StabiliTrak, which includes the function of traction control, and Brake Assist are offered as well.
For 2010, the changes are relatively minor. The Super receives a new optional 18-inch chrome wheel, the entire line-up gets the rocker panels and fog lamps from the Super model, Bluetooth is available on the base model, the instrument panel gauges are backlit, and there are some revised interior treatments and new exterior colors.
Buick has a long history of innovative engineering, handsomely conservative styling, and premium luxury at below-premium prices. The Lucerne follows these Buick traditions.
Buick Lucerne CX ($29,230) is powered by a 227-horsepower 3.9-liter V6 engine with a four-speed automatic transmission. Standard equipment includes cloth upholstery, air conditioning, seats for five people with a power driver's seat, power windows, power door locks, leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel, AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio with six speakers and steering wheel audio controls, XM Satellite Radio, cruise control, electrochromic rearview mirror, remote keyless entry, cornering lamps, heated outside rearview mirrors, an extended-range key fob, and 17-inch bright-silver-painted aluminum wheels. Package 2CX ($1,700) adds StabiliTrak, Brake Assist, rear parking assist, remote starter, a theft-deterrent system, dual-zone automatic climate control, a universal home remote, a cargo net and Bluetooth to the CX.
Lucerne CXL ($32,730) upgrades with leather seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, universal home remote, a cargo net, eight-way power heated front seats with power lumbar support, memory settings, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, and turn signals integrated in the outside mirrors. The CXL suspension is tuned a little tighter, too, and includes airlift control in the rear for automatic level control. The CXL Special Edition ($33,230) adds chrome wheels and unique interior trim, and offers additional options and packages, including a heated wood-trimmed steering wheel ($150) and heated and cooled front seats ($895). The Driver's Confidence package adds StabiliTrak, Brake Assist, rear parking assist, remote starter, and a theft-deterrent system to the CXL ($945).
Option packages for CXL: The 3XL ($2,100) includes Side Blind-Zone Alert, Driver's Confidence Package, dual heated mirrors with turn signals and left-hand day/night feature, Lane Departure Warning and chrome alloy wheels. The 4XL ($3,000) includes Driver's Confidence Package, harman/kardon speakers, heated and cooled front seats, leather, heated steering wheel and chrome alloy wheels. The 5XL ($3,500) includes the features of the 3XL and 4XL packages combined.
Lucerne Super ($39,230) is powered by a 292-hp 4.6-liter V8 and equipped with Magnasteer power steering, Magnetic Ride Control adaptive suspension, StabiliTrak stability control, Brake Assist, and P245/50R18 all-season radials on 18-inch aluminum wheels. Inside, The Super features a leather-wrapped upper instrument panel with French-seam stitching, heated leather seats with suede fabric inserts, harman/kardon audio, heated and wood-accented steering wheel on a power tilt-and-telescope steering column, wood shift knob, and other upgraded finishes and trims. StabiliTrak, Brake Assist, rear parking assist, remote starter, a theft-deterrent system, dual-zone automatic climate control, a universal home remote, a cargo net, and Bluetooth are standard. Outside, the Super sports its own unique grille, front and rear fascias, extended rocker panels, and integrated dual exhaust tips. Chrome wheels are optional ($750).
Options include Side Blind-Zone Alert ($395), Lane Departure Warning ($295), a power tilt-and-slide sunroof ($950), and an engine block heater ($75). A sound system with DVD-based navigation ($1,945) is optional on the Super, CXL, and CXL Special Edition; the harman/kardon speakers ($495) and a six-CD changer ($300) are available on the CXL and CXL Special Edition. Six-passenger seating is available on the CX and CXL by ordering front bench seats ($295).
Safety features on all models include six airbags: A dual-stage driver's front airbag and a dual-depth front-passenger airbag, front-seat side-impact airbags, and full-coverage side-curtain airbags. The front seatbelts come with pretensioners to enhance the effectiveness of the airbags. Traction control, anti-lock brakes, and a tire pressure monitor are standard on all models. OnStar comes standard and includes the first year of Safe and Sound service; OnStar operators will dispatch rescue crews if your airbag deploys and you don't respond to calls, a great feature for you and the rest of your family.
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