2009 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, but with precise steering and a chassis that handles winding roads with aplomb. Inside, it's elegant, comfortable and easy.
The Buick Lucerne comes in several models. The Lucerne CX is tuned as a traditional Buick, with the Premium Ride Suspension. The Lucerne CXL comes with a firmer 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.
A full-size, front-wheel-drive sedan, the Lucerne benefits from a larger, more powerful, and more efficient V6 for 2009. Horsepower is up 15 percent from 197 to 227; while fuel economy has improved from 16/25 mpg city/highway to 17/26. The Lucerne comes loaded with more standard features for 2009, including a Bluetooth hands-free phone interface. XM radio with NavTraffic is available.
The V8-powered Lucerne Super, first introduced as a 2008 model, delivers even more performance for 2009, plus Magnetic Ride Control, an adaptive sports suspension developed for the Corvette.
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 with Brake Assist is offered as well.
Buick has a long history of innovative engineering, handsomely conservative styling, and premium luxury at below-premium prices. Lucerne follows these Buick traditions.
The 2009 Buick Lucerne comes in four trim levels, with two engines available.
Lucerne CX ($29,265) is powered by a new, 227-horsepower 3.9-liter V6. 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, and remote keyless entry. Added for 2009 are Bluetooth phone connectivity, cornering lamps, a six-way power passenger seat, heated outside rearview mirrors, an extended-range key fob, and 17-inch bright-silver-painted aluminum wheels.
Lucerne CXL ($32,520) upgrades with leather seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, universal home remote, and a cargo net. The CXL suspension is tuned a little tighter, too, and includes Airlift rear shocks for automatic level control. New for 2009 are eight-way heated front seats with power lumbar support and memory settings, a heated leather steering wheel, and turn signals integrated into the outside mirrors.
The Comfort & Convenience package ($495) adds dual-zone automatic climate control, a universal home remote and a cargo net to the CX. The Driver Confidence package adds StabiliTrak, Brake Assist, rear parking assist, remote starter, a theft-deterrent system and RainSense wipers with heated washer fluid to CXL ($995); or all of the above, plus the Comfort & Convenience package, to CX ($1,500).
CXL Special Edition ($33,120) adds chrome wheels and unique interior trim, and offers additional options and packages, including a heated wood-trimmed steering wheel ($100-150) and heated and cooled front seats ($895). But the only engine choice for the 2009 Special Edition is the new V6; a V8 is no longer available.
The get a V8 this year, you'll have to opt for the Lucerne Super ($39,315), powered by a 292-hp 4.6-liter V8 and equipped with Magnasteer power steering, Magnetic Ride Control adaptive suspension, StabiliTrak stability control with Brake Assist, and P245/50R18 all-season radials on 18-inch aluminum wheels. Inside, Super features a leather-wrapped upper instrument panel with French-seam stitching; heated and cooled leather seats with suede fabric inserts; Harman-Kardon audio; heated, wood-accented steering wheel on a power tilt-and-telescope steering column; wood shift knob; and other upgraded finishes and trims. The Driver Confidence and Comfort and Convenience packages 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 for all Lucerne models include Side Blind Zone Alert ($395), Lane Departure Warning ($295), a power tilt-and-slide sunroof ($900), and an engine block heater ($75). Touch-screen navigation ($1,945) is optional on Super, CXL, and CXL Special Edition; the Harman Kardon stereo is available ($495) on CXL and CXL Special Edition; and a 6CD changer is optional ($300) on models. (But there isn't enough room in the dash for all three, so check with your dealer for limitations.) Six-passenger seating is available on CX and CXL by ordering front bench seats ($295). Some paint colors are extra-cost options.
Safety features on all models include six airbags: a dual-stage driver's front airbag and a dual-depth front passenger bag, front-seat side-impact airbags, and full-coverage side-impact curtain airbags. (The dual-depth passenger airbag has two sections; a smaller section deploys in a less severe crash or if the passenger is small or seated nearer the dashboard. In a bad crash or if the passenger is not wearing their seat belt the full bag deploys for maximum effect.) The front seatbelts come with pretensioners, so be sure to wear them. 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.