2015 Buick LaCrosse Premium I Review
Full-size luxury dynamics with mid-size affordability.No Comments
The LaCrosse's interior gives the car a bit of character that its competition lacks.
When it comes to figuring out the angles for each of GM's brands in the 21st century, your author has always assumed that whereas Cadillac has its luxury infused with a healthy dose of sport, Buick's luxury has always come by itself, independent of any of the 'sporty' things that younger buyers gravitate towards. This isn't entirely true; Buick's more affordable offerings come with some sporting pretensions, such as the manual transmission on the Regal GS. However, it's pretty darn true on the 2015 LaCrosse, Buick's largest car, which is still considered a mid-sizer.
Whereas the Verano and the Regal might be catered to younger buyers in order to bring them to the brand, the LaCrosse is what you buy when you mature a little and want something a little more sedate and responsible, but without losing your soul entirely (when that happens, you buy a Lexus ES). As it stands, the LaCrosse does a good job standing out from the competition by way of a soft, compliant ride that feels like it belongs in a larger (and more expensive) luxury car, and when all is said and done, you can get one for a very competitive price. But it's still not a car that will get younger buyers jumping out of their seats.
The controls are arranged sensibly, with HVAC-related switches just below the infotainment screen. We think the touchscreen controls for the temperature and seat-heaters are lovely to look at but a little laggy to respond, which is a complaint we also levied against Buick's IntelliLink infotainment system.
Overall, though, the LaCrosse's interior is a good place to be sitting. The seats are comfortable for humans of all shapes and sizes, the rear seat accommodates adults with ample legroom, and nearly every surface both looks and feels nice. The single blue strip of interior accent lighting gives the car some nighttime character, something that the competition has had trouble mustering up through interior design.
If you like outside noise, don't buy this car; Buick has done an excellent job creating a cabin that isolates unwanted sound as well as any expensive set of noise-canceling headphones. Buick has come out swinging in an arena that Lexus typically dominates without competition.
However, all that luxuriousness comes at a cost, and that cost is any sort of sportiness whatsoever. Sure, the V-6 has 304 horsepower, but unless your foot is buried into the firewall, you won't be able to tell that the car is capable of anything beyond moving with the flow of traffic. That said, it will get going in a hurry, and if you're smart enough to floor it, Buick will reward you with an engine note that's surprisingly exotic. There is no Sport button in this car, no way to tighten up the luxury-loose steering or the sponge-cake throttle mapping; clearly, the car was built for one purpose and one purpose only, a soft ride. And it succeeds with flying colors.
When you look at other cars in its class, especially the Lexus ES, the LaCrosse stands apart with a fair bit of character that its more staid counterparts lack. Combine that with its silky-smooth on-road demeanor and a cabin that feels positively plush, and you've got yourself the cure for the common Lexus.
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Drivetrain Layout: Front-engine, all-wheel drive
Power Output: 304 horsepower / 264 lb-ft
Fuel Economy (mpg): 17 city / 26 highway
Base Price: $40,285
As Tested: $46,765 (incl. $925 destination)
Driver Confidence Package #1: Following-distance sensor, forward collision alert, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning, HID headlamps, head-up display, front fog lamps
Driver Confidence Package #2: Adaptive cruise control, automatic braking assistance
Ultra Luxury Package: Semi-Aniline leather seating, real wood trim, leather-wrapped center console and door armrests, leather-wrapped heated steering wheel, ultrasuede headliner
Individual Options: Power panoramic moonroof, premium infotainment with navigation, rear-seat entertainment