The 2010 Buick LaCrosse is set to start retail sales next month, and our colleagues at Motor Authority were invited up to Detroit this week to test out the sedan that Buick hopes will inspire a new crowd of buyers.
Covering the event for TheCarConnection and Motor Authority, Nelson Ireson sums up his judgment on the LaCrosse's attempt at mainstream luxury saying, "you'd do well to give the 2010 Buick LaCrosse a serious look."
Why should you consider a Buick, when, after all, it's more likely to find brand resonance in a retirement home than around the office watercooler? Ireson says it's because, "Unlike Lexus, which shows strong Camry roots in much of its center-stack material and layout, the LaCrosse presents a coherent image without letting the design down with flimsy buttons or cheap material."
Of course, there is the obligatory mid-luxury use of a few less-than-choice materials and a few design elements that left him scratching his head, but on the whole, Ireson felt that "this is a really, really good car. It's not a hot-dog performer or an all-out technological luxury onslaught, but it does combine mid-size powertrains and pricing with large-sedan size and comfort, all with a healthy dose of style and luxury."
Those mid-size powertrain options include a 3.6-liter V-6 with direct injection shared among other GM vehicles, a new 3.0-liter direct-injection six and a not-yet-in-production 2.4-liter four-cylinder. While the 280-hp 3.6-liter "get[s] to freeway speed just fine", the 3.0-liter unit is the one Ireson prefers, noting its "sweeter - if somewhat quieter - exhaust note" and more controlled NVH.
Comparing the Buick to the competition, including the Acura TL, Infiniti G and M, Lexus ES and GS and even the German offerings, Ireson found the car to offer a strong package, combining quality with value, though it comes up a bit short in power and higher-end luxury features. Those shortcomings are, to a degree, necessitated by its relationship to the Chevrolet and Cadillac brands, however, as the Buick has to find a way to tread the middle ground.
Head on over to Motor Authority to check out the full first drive details, plus original photography, but don't hesitate to let us know your opinion in the comments below - whether you agree or not.