It was a tough day for me. In the morning I found out I would not be testing the new 2005 Corvette. There were unforeseen events that prevented it from reaching the Autoblog Garage. In exchange I was offered a variety of choices, obviously none as exciting as the Corvette. I settled on the new Buick LaCrosse simply because it is such an important model for the Buick brand. Plus I needed a ride home so who was I to argue.
I don?t know if other writers admit this but I read lots of reviews of the cars I test, mainly because we post so many of them on Autoblog. Yesterday we linked to Brian Moody?s review over at Edmunds.com. After only one day in the car I think Brian and I are almost on identical pages. This is a large American sedan. It should not be compared to a Lexus by the automaker or journalists. It will not win in that comparison.
Two things the LaCrosse has going for it are the 240 horsepower engine in our CXS test car and the quiet and comfy ride that I?m guessing exists throughout all trim levels. But what I was blown away by was something much less noticeable. Knobs. Yes knobs are back. You remember knobs right? Little stubs that stick out of the dashboard to control lights, radios etc. Sure they?ve mostly been replaced by buttons these days but not in the LaCrosse. There are two knobs (pictured here, click on the image for a larger version) to the left of the steering wheel to control headlamps and interior lights. Of course their functionality is pretty confusing but hey we have knobs.
Otherwise the interior isn?t going to blow people away. It is very conservative compared to the sleek exterior lines. Our test car has a center mounted shifter and seats five but you can get a LaCrosse to seat six that comes with a column mounted shifter. This is kind of a cool idea to accommodate the grey haired set that wants six seats (why I have no idea) and younger folks who want a center column of cubbies and shifter placement.
However in our five-seater there is still a foot brake that is always getting hit by my left foot on entry and exit and just one stalk on the left of the wheel column. Obviously these need to be universal to save costs.
And yes look at that exterior. There are elements of Jaguar around the front headlamps and clearly more modern Mercedes around the taillights. My favorite feature in person is the curved line from the rear door over the rear fender. It adds some needed personality. While the LaCrosse will never, and I mean never, win over the younger set it offers a very viable alternative to the Ford Five Hundred and Chrysler 300. The 300 will win every time of course but many people don?t like that styling and the LaCrosse has a mild elegance to it.
Read Day 2 here.