2011 LaCrosse New Car Test Drive
The 2011 Buick LaCrosse offers efficiency, comfort and style with a responsive driving experience. Completely redesigned for 2010, this latest LaCrosse is distinguished by its fresh styling.
The 2011 LaCrosse features a new four-cylinder engine, GM's Ecotec 2.4-liter direct-injection four-cylinder engine and a 6-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is an EPA-estimated 19/30 mpg City/Highway. The Ecotec engine replaces a 3.0-liter V6 that came standard on 2010 models.
A 3.6-liter V6 is available for all models offering 280 horsepower and an EPA-estimated 17/27 mpg City/Highway. The sporty LaCrosse CXS comes exclusively with the 3.6-liter V6, along with a host of features and options designed to enhance its sporty character, yet it retains comfortable driving characteristics and the same fuel economy rating.
Completely redesigned for the 2010 model year, the LaCrosse looks contemporary, elegant and refined. It's conservative but not conventional. There's an edge to it. It's a fresh take on traditional Buick design, but it includes Buick heritage cues, such as the waterfall front grille and the signature portholes. The portholes, however, have been moved from the traditional fender placement to the hood so as not to disturb the fluid body lines. The result is a sweeping, fluid exterior design that flows uninterrupted around the vehicle, with no disconnected lines.
The interior has a finely detailed, high-quality character. The more you look, the more you see. Throughout the cabin are few straight lines and 90-degree joints, if any. Instead, surfaces and controls are rounded, coved, or arched. Real stitching is used to join seams of the seats, shifter boot and soft material used on the door panels and around the instruments. Chrome and wood trim are used judiciously, tastefully, and the materials in the headliner and upper parts of the cabin look and feel like premium material. Features like remote starting, rear-seat DVD and ice-blue LED interior lighting accents are available, along with in-dash navigation, heads-up display, Bluetooth, and auxiliary audio input with USB port.
OnStar's automatic crash response and StabiliTrak electronic stability control headline a full complement of active and passive safety features. All-wheel drive is available, improving capability in winter weather.
We found the LaCrosse relaxing to drive yet it will respond eagerly to driver input. The smooth ride of the current models is a big improvement over the pre-2010 models. Buick engineers working in Germany stiffened the body structure beginning with the 2010 models; a stiff structure is the key to a quiet cabin and smooth ride. Buick also improved the suspension starting with the 2010 models, and we found this latest version exhibits less body roll in the corners and less float on lumpy surfaces. The LaCrosse also offers continuously variable smart shocks, which adjust themselves in real time. Steering was quickened to complement the new chassis, so it steers more precisely, but without inducing noticeable torque steer under hard throttle. Adding to the feeling of security are four-wheel disc brakes that seem better proportioned, with better feel at the top of the pedal, than any GM brake system we can recall. All of this makes the LaCrosse a compelling choice.
The LaCrosse can be configured for a wide range of customer priorities. Each model is specifically developed and tuned to emphasize qualities such as sport driving, road isolation, high mileage, or enhanced luxury. Even so, all models have a high level of standard equipment, and most safety equipment is standard on all models.
The 2011 Buick LaCrosse comes in three grades: CX ($26,495), CXL ($29,055), CXL AWD ($32,570), and CXS ($33,265). The front-wheel-drive CX and CXL come with the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. A 3.6-liter V6 is optional ($1,370) in the CX and front-drive CXL, and standard with all-wheel drive and on the CXS.
LaCrosse CX comes standard with premium cloth upholstery, automatic air conditioning, AM/FM/XM/CD/MP3, OnStar Safe & Sound, remote keyless entry with extended range, programmable power door locks, power windows, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, heated outside mirrors, and 17-inch steel wheels.
LaCrosse CXL upgrades with leather heated seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, fog lamps, outside rearview mirrors with puddle lamps and turn-signal indicators, and 18-inch alloy wheels.
LaCrosse CXL AWD ($32,570) adds an intelligent all-wheel-drive system paired with a more sophisticated H-arm rear suspension and the 3.6-liter V6.
LaCrosse CXS features the 3.6-liter V6 and includes leather heated and cooled seats. Chrome plated 18-inch wheels are standard; 19-inch wheels are optional ($2,745). An optional H-arm suspension touring package ($800) is available on CXS, which includes real-time damping and sport mode selectivity; 19-inch wheels; and lower-profile, higher grip tires.
Options for CSX include the Driver Confidence Package ($1440), which combines Side Blind Zone Alert, Xenon High-intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps and Heads-Up Display; navigation with rearview camera ($1,995); oversized sunroof ($1,195); and a DVD entertainment system with screens in the front seatbacks ($1,295). Many items that are standard on the CXS are offered individually or as packages on the CX and CXL. (All New Car Test Drive prices are Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices, which do not include destination charge and may change at any time without notice.)
Safety features StabiliTrak electronic stability control, traction control, four-channel ABS, Electronic Brake force Distribution and Brake Assist. There are air bags for driver and passenger at front, side, and thorax, plus head-level side curtain air bags for all rows. This is all standard equipment on all models, as are pedestrian protective features. OnStar, with automatic crash response, comes free for a year. Rear seat-mounted thorax air bags are optional ($350) on all models. Optional all-wheel drive can further enhance safety. The LaCrosse comes with well-designed seat belts, which are your first line of defense in an accident.