- Easy-to-grok infotainment
- Excellent safety record
- Rides smoothly
- Swanky interior on most models
- Classy, without the irony
- Interior trim isn't so premium on base models
- Luxury prices on Premium versions
- eAssist isn't the smoothest unit
The Buick LaCrosse is both supremely comfortable and excellent on gas, but we'd point you to the Premium versions if you're seriously considering one.
The Buick LaCrosse is now the GM brand's largest sedan, and in many ways it's the only Buick left in the lineup that feels like the brand's past. Buick's gone upmarket and upscale, and has shrunk its car and crossover line in quick succession.
The mid-size to large LaCrosse flouts those trends, but unlike Buicks of the past, it doesn't wallow in the past. It may be big, but it accelerates briskly and handles well in V-6 form, and offers fairly good gas mileage as a mild hybrid.
The LaCrosse shares much in common with the Chevy Impala, but the Buick is more graceful, and was here first—its soft shoulders and creased body lines haven't faded since its arrival. It was reworked a little last year with LED taillights and eyeliner, but the thick shape has always had the details right. We'd like to remove every fake porthole from the LaCrosse and banish them forever, but that's the only fault we can find in the big Buick. The revisions this year also include work on the center stack to make it simpler, and the Ultra Luxury package drapes tamo wood and semi-aniline leather into the creases of the cockpit.
Buick stops short of calling the 2015 LaCrosse a luxury product, it's a premium ride for now. The most expensive models can be trimmed like Cadiallacs, with an upgraded instrument panel and Bose audio inside. The IntelliLink touchscreen has been updated to mimic the Caddilac CUE system, but without the haptic feedback, it boasts Bluetooth connectivity for smartphone calling and audio streaming, and access to internet radio streaming apps such as Pandora and Stitcher for on-the-go entertainment. It's features that many familiar with old Buicks might find foreign, but it's light years ahead of where Buicks were in the past—it's right in line for where the automaker would like to go for the future in search of younger buyers.
Two powertrains offer distinct views on the LaCrosse's approach to performance. The base model can be equipped with GM's mild-hybrid technology, dubbed eAssist, and it returns respectable performance and an EPA highway figure of 36 mpg. The V-6 version is closer to our ideas of what a luxury car should feel like, and with 304 horsepower on tap it's probably closer to your definition too. The LaCrosse won't be confused with a performance car any time soon, but it handles better than its predecessors, which we felt were too soft. In Touring trim, the optional magnetic adjustable ride (with V-rated performance tires and variable-ratio power steering) adds a more responsive feel that doesn't sacrifice ride quality.
The LaCrosse comfortable seats five, including a back seat that's roomy enough for three, and it's more comfortable than comparable mid-size sedans. The big Buick may punch above its weight class in terms of interior refinement and luxury appointments. Top-trim models get upgraded heated and cooled front seats with perforated leather, including power adjustable seats with memory functions, and Buick's QuietTuning efforts throughout the lineup result in a quiet cabin that we appreciate.
The LaCrosse has earned top safety scores from federal and independent testers and ranks among the top of the GM family with good active safety features and eight standard airbags. Blind-spot monitors, rear side thorax airbags, a head-up display for the driver, and adaptive headlights are all available as options. The LaCrosse also features a newly developed driver's seat that buzzes and vibrates to warn of side- or front-impact collisions, which we've found useful in some circumstances.
For 2015, the LaCrosse adds some modern technology that's becoming a necessity in its price class. A rearview camera is now standard on all LaCrosse sedans, and Buick's IntelliLink infotainment system can give directions to your iPhone through Siri Eyes Free. The LaCrosse now can also come equipped with a 4G LTE connection, which includes the ability to broadcast a WiFi data connection inside the vehicle.