As expected, Buick has announced that its new 2012 LaCrosse with eAssist is priced identically to its more powerful V6-powered sibling. $29,960 (*plus an $860 destination charge) will get the buyer either 25 city and 37 highway miles per gallon (along with about 180 horsepower) or 303 horsepower (along with fuel economy that's not yet EPA rated but should be close to last year's 17/27 mpg rating).
For what it's worth, the new eAssist-equipped LaCrosse is thriftier on the highway than the smaller Lexus HS 250h (35/34) and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid (41/36 mpg) but not nearly as frugal as either of those competitors in the city.
The departing 2011 LaCrosse, you'll remember, was available with either a 2.4-liter Ecotec rated at 182 horsepower or a 3.6-liter V6 rated at 280 horses. In other words, the standard four-cylinder has been replaced with the mild hybrid powertrain while the optional V6 (available for no extra charge) has received a 23-horsepower bump. Parsimony or performance at your prerogative.
So, buyers will have the option of significantly improved fuel economy or horsepower – two highly desirable traits. Of course, there's a catch. Last year's base LaCrosse, which carried with it an MSRP of $26,995, is no longer available. That means the least expensive LaCrosse for 2012 is about $3,000 more than it was in 2011. That said, at least buyers will clearly get more for their money. See the complete press release after the break.
Advanced technology helps luxury sedan deliver fuel economy, performance
DETROIT –The 2012 Buick LaCrosse with eAssist™, which is expected to deliver 25 percent better highway fuel economy than the current model, will be priced starting at $29,960 before an $860 destination charge.
"LaCrosse with eAssist is the smart choice for those who want great fuel economy without sacrificing the driving dynamics and passenger comfort that have made Buick the fastest-growing major automotive brand in the United States," said Tony DiSalle, U.S. vice president of Buick Marketing.
LaCrosse with eAssist uses a variety of advanced technologies and body enhancements to deliver up to 37 mpg highway fuel economy, better than the Lexus HS Hybrid and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, as well as non-hybrids like the Acura TL, Lexus ES350 and Lincoln MKS. eAssist will be the standard powertrain for LaCrosse, which will be built at the Fairfax Assembly Plant in Kansas City, Kan.
The fuel economy boost that LaCrosse with eAssist offers comes from state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery system and electric motor-generator that enables regenerative braking capability. This "light electrification" system also will be available on the 2012 Buick Regal later this year.
Although eAssist is the standard powertrain, a new, more powerful and more efficient version of the direct-injected, E85-capable 3.6L V-6 with variable valve timing, Is available at no additional cost on select trim levels. The front-wheel-drive 3.6L model is rated at an SAE-certified 303 horsepower (226 kW) – an improvement of 23 hp – and 264 lb.-ft. of torque (358 Nm). An all-wheel drive version, which is yet to be rated, also is available.
The 3.6L engine's new, integrated cylinder head/exhaust manifold design and a composite intake manifold help reduce its weight by more than 20 pounds (9 kg), which increases horsepower without any loss in fuel efficiency. The direct-injected engine also warms up faster, which can cut emissions of unburned hydrocarbons by up to 25 percent.
Additional new standard features for 2012 include dual-zone climate control, 17-inch alloy wheels, full-color driver information center, and Bluetooth and USB connectivity.
Later in the year, LaCrosse with eAssist will come with standard Buick IntelliLink, which uses Bluetooth or USB to connect the driver's smartphone to a new 8-inch, high-resolution, full-color touch screen display radio. IntelliLink expands on Buick's current Bluetooth and USB capabilities to allow smartphone control via voice activation and steering wheel-mounted controls. It also enables streaming stereo audio from the phone through services like PANDORA® Internet radio and Stitcher SmartRadio®.
Most importantly, Buick IntelliLink enables seamless integration of stowed portable devices with each vehicle's infotainment system, allowing drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
"LaCrosse with eAssist is the most advanced LaCrosse to date," DiSalle said. "The winning combination of advanced technology, no-compromise driving performance and luxurious style and passenger comfort stand to make LaCrosse with eAssist a must-have sedan."
Buick is a modern luxury brand offering vehicles with sculpted designs, luxurious interiors with thoughtful personal technologies, along with responsive-yet-efficient performance. Buick is attracting new customers with its portfolio of award-winning models, including the Enclave crossover, LaCrosse sedan, Regal sport sedan and highly anticipated all-new 2012 Buick Verano compact luxury sedan. Buick is the fastest growing major brand in the U.S. and remains a best-selling brand in China, with continuing record growth. Learn more about Buick cars and crossovers at www.buick.com, on Twitter @buick or at www.facebook.com/buick.