Not your granddad's Buick | The added touch of all-wheel-drive makes the LaCrosse awesome year-round.
Introduced as the “LaCrosse” in 2009, this full-size Buick sedan gave General Motors a promising future. Fun fact: the LaCrosse was previously sold in Canada as the Allure due to an inability to use the correct name because it alluded to something inappropriate. Since the redesign, GM opted for a new beginning and has never looked back. This is my first time spending an extensive period with a GM product, so I was given the keys to a 2014 Buick LaCrosse AWD to see just how well this brand flagship could be.
Coming bearing Smoky Grey Metallic paint, my tester instantly caught my eye, and it wasn’t just because of the colour. The LaCrosse is a large car, but the lovely sculpted lines that swoop across the car are very forgiving and easy on the eyes. The grille is now a Buick standard but does not necessarily go back to the days when these cars were referred to as land barges. The 19” wheels wrapped in Goodyear performance tires only add to the sophisticated looks of the LaCrosse.
Jumping into the car, one discovers that the interior is beyond spacious. Some sedans are generous with room and others can be tight-fitting. In the case of the Lacrosse, the seats are upholstered in soft leather and were comfortable enough for long drives without aches or pains. The digital display in the instrument cluster is also an interesting and unique part of the LaCrosse – it has multiple options with the ability to display things such as oil temperature, tire pressure, fuel economy, etcetera. The tire pressure display is a bonus for those who may not know how or have the time to check the tires manually. Fully loaded with a price sticker just under $53,000, my tester was a bit on the pricey side. However, this is with all the bells and whistles ticked off and right in line with competitors such as the Acura RLX.
On my first drive with the LaCrosse, I was on the highway getting ready to slow down for traffic, when I felt a very abrupt but bold vibration coming from the seat beneath me. It was the car’s driver aid systems warning me of the slower traffic ahead. New for 2014 is the Forward Collision Alert system that vibrates the seat and lets the driver know that there is traffic stopped ahead. From my opinion it’s a bit on the sensitive side, but the driver has three options for distance; far, close, and a mid range. Another neat feature my LaCrosse was equipped with was the Safety Alert Seat. When the Lane Departure Warning system detects the car leaving a lane without a turn signal engaged, the right or left side of the driver’s seat will vibrate to direct the driver’s attention to the lane encroachment.
Technical numbers aside, the power from the LaCrosse isn’t exactly equal to a stroll in the park. It’s not the “old man car” that its reputation would have you believe. Buyers have two engine options; up first is the 2.4L direct-injection 4-cylinder with eAssist technology. My car came with the larger 3.6L VVT direct-injection V6 with E85 capability. This engine moves the big Buick along without any hassle. Able to push out 304 horsepower and 264 lb-ft of torque and mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission, the Lacrosse does not disappoint. The acceleration and ride are superbly smooth, which makes driving through construction zones particularly relaxing.
The added touch of all-wheel-drive makes the LaCrosse awesome year-round in the dreaded Canadian winter, but it does take a toll on fuel economy. Granted my commute and daily grind is almost exclusively city driving, I averaged just under 14L/100km. The LaCrosse should be achieving 12.2L/100km city and 7.5L/100km city. I’m not terribly disappointed with these results; I could imagine a more average commute returning about 10L/100km combined.
Over the past few decades, Buick has developed a reputation of making cars for the elderly and aging crowd. After spending some time with the 2014 LaCrosse, I can no longer agree with that stereotype or even refer to it as a land yacht. It’s an incredibly smooth, large sedan that just eats up the miles like a proper road-tripper should. This car is capable of doing literally anything you could ask of it. No, it may not be performance-oriented like the similarly-priced Acura TL, but has a lot more to offer. I couldn’t really find anything I truly despised about this car, and that says a lot. The Nissan Maxima is somewhat of a competitor but is front-wheel-drive, aging, and has a very harsh ride. This Buick is a bold contender that is worth a serious look.
2014 Buick LaCrosse AWD Gallery