2010 Buick Lucerne Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Nelson Ireson Nelson Ireson Senior Editor
February 5, 2010

Comfortable and roomy with classic styling, the 2010 Buick Lucerne is still a valid choice as a premium sedan.

TheCarConnection.com's editors have taken the wheel of the Buick Lucerne to bring you their expert opinions on the 2010 model, and supplemented that with extensive research from the most useful road tests available to help deliver you a complete, conclusive picture on the 2010 Buick Lucerne.

As part of the "old" Buick-as differentiated from the new 2010 LaCrosse and 2011 Regal-the Lucerne retains conservative styling and a focus on comfort above all. Classic, if somewhat dated, lines and abundant chrome accents are characteristic of the 2010 Lucerne. Alloy wheels with optional polished upgrade versions, plus a wide range of exterior colors and interior upholstery materials, allow the buyer to style the Lucerne to suit their taste. The Lucerne Super gets some unique elements, including integrated exhaust tips, and "Super" badges on the rear decklid. A unique grille and front and rear bumper treatments finish the exterior differences. Inside, the Super builds on the 2010 Buick Lucerne's restrained yet premium interior design with real walnut accents, additional leather elements, French stitching on the dash, suede door panel inserts and seat trim, and upgraded floor mats.

For 2010, the Buick Lucerne retains its previous drivetrain options, with engine choice divided among the three available trim levels:; the CX, CXL, and CXL Premium get a standard 3.9-liter V-6 rated at 227 horsepower, and the Super gets a 4.6-liter Northstar V-8 rated at 292 horsepower. The V-6 is FlexFuel-capable, meaning it can run on either gasoline or hard-to-find E85. Both engines deliver lots of low-end torque, helping the big sedan accelerate from a stop with relative ease. Electronic throttle control logic helps improve engine response and fuel economy across the range.

The Super also adds magnetic ride control technology, which employs magneto-rheological shocks that automatically adjust to minimize body roll while delivering cushy ride. Large aluminum-alloy wheels and all-season tires boost traction and handling in most conditions, without compromising ride quality.

Review continues below

As we've noted, the Lucerne focuses largely on comfort, so it's not surprising that the Lucerne features large seats and a quiet cabin. Ample storage space can be found in the cabin and trunk, while materials are generally good throughout, particularly in the Super. Fit and finish aren't quite up to European standards, but buyers interested in a classically- styled car likely won't mind. CXL, CXL Premium, and Super models feature standard leather upholstery, while the CX comes standard with cloth seating. Both the CX and CXL can also be configured with six-passenger seating via a front bench seat.

The 2010 Buick Lucerne features a wide range of protection, offering two-stage front-impact driver and front-impact passenger airbags with passenger sensing system, plus driver and right-front passenger side impact and front and rear outboard head curtain airbags standard on all models. ABuick cuts a few corners are cut, however:; though traction control is standard on all models, stability control isn't available at all on CX models and is an optional upgrade on the standard CXL. The CXL Premium and Super feature stability control as standard, however. Similarly, Buick's lane departure warning system and blind-spot obstacle detection are only equipped on the two upper-end models.

Despite the classic styling, there are many high-tech features and options available on the 2010 Buick Lucerne. While the CX and CXL feature a standard AM/FM/MP3 stereo system, an optional upgrade includes touch-screen navigation with a 280-watt, nine-speaker Harmoan Kardon audio system, or for those that don't need navigation, there's an intermediate six-disc CD changer stereo upgrade. XM Satellite Radio is standard across all models, and a real-time traffic feature is available on the CXL Premium and Super. A sunroof, a lane departure warning system, and side blind-spot detection are also available. The Lucerne Super also adds heated and cooled driver and front passenger seats.

Two available options packages up the features even further:. the Comfort & Convenience package adds dual-zone air conditioning, a Universal Home Remote, a trunk cargo convenience net, Bluetooth phone connectivity, 16-inch steel spare wheel and tire (for CX and CXL models), or a 17-inch compact aluminum spare wheel and tire for the Super; the Driver Confidence package adds a number of safety and convenience features, including an anti-theft alarm system, remote vehicle starter system, Rear Parking Assist, and GM's StabiliTrak stability control system with brake assist.

7

2010 Buick Lucerne

Styling

The 2010 Buick Lucerne offers conservative and understated styling whichthat can be brought up to true premium levels in Super trim.

As part of the "old" Buick-as differentiated from the new 2010 LaCrosse and 2011 Regal-the Lucerne retains conservative styling and a focus on comfort above all. Classic, if somewhat dated, lines and abundant chrome accents are characteristic of the 2010 Lucerne.

Alloy wheels with optional polished upgrade versions, plus a wide range of exterior colors and interior upholstery materials, allow the buyer to style the Lucerne to suit their taste. The Lucerne Super gets some unique elements, including integrated exhaust tips, and "Super" badges on the rear deck lid. A unique grille and front and rear bumper treatments finish the exterior differences.

According to Kelley Blue Book, the "sleek roofline" is enhanced by the "distinctively-shaped rear pillar," and the design of the wheel wells presents a "muscular stance." Chrome portholes are a classic Buick styling cue, which Cars.com notes are "machined and set high in each front fender." The number of portholes is also a hints as toat what's under the hood-Cars.com points out that V-6 models "have three portholes on each side, while V-8 sedans get four."

Autoblog doesn't care for the Super's unique grille, noting that it "looks like a beak," due to the low-slung point at the grille's bottom, and that it "takes away from the Lucerne's otherwise classy styling." Car and Driver finds the whole design stodgy, arguing that "the wedgy shape seems familiar and tired, a repeat of a '90s Camry; only the big-eye look in front saves it from being a complete cliché."

Inside, the Super builds on the 2010 Buick Lucerne's restrained yet premium interior design with real walnut accents, additional leather elements, French stitching on the dash, suede door panel inserts and seat trim, and upgraded floor mats.

"Fresh and appealingly minimal," is how Car and Driver describes the Buick Lucerne's interior, and findsdeems the Super "very luxurious," notingciting the "leather-finished dashboard and a heated wood steering wheel" in particular. Automobile agrees, praising the 2010 Buick Lucerne interior's "quiet taste and subtle style."

Edmunds finds the Lucerne's interior "handsome and cleanly styled," and welcomes the "simple, friendly controls." Autoblog points out the Super's " leather-wrapped upper instrument panel with French-seam stitching, unique finish on the instrument panel center stack, leather seats with perforated suede fabric inserts for the outboard seating positions, and suede door trim inserts," as particular treats.

6

2010 Buick Lucerne

Performance

The 2010 Buick Lucerne Super performs well, though it requires more fuel than some of the competition, but the V-6 models lack the power to impress.

For 2010, the Buick Lucerne retains its previous drivetrain options, with engine choice divided among the three available trim levels:; the CX, CXL, and CXL Premium get a standard 3.9-liter V-6 rated at 227 horsepower, and the Super gets a 4.6-liter Northstar V-8 rated at 292 horsepower. The V-6 is FlexFuel-capable, meaning it can run on either gasoline or hard-to-find E85. Both engines deliver lots of low-end torque, helping the big sedan accelerate from a stop with relative ease. Electronic throttle control logic help improve engine response and fuel economy across the range.

The V-6 engine delivers 227 horsepower-a 30 hp improvement over the last year's 3.8-liter V-6. PoweringPropelling the Super is a 4.6L Northstar V-8 engine with 292 horsepower and 288 lb-ft of torque. Paired to either engine is an electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission.

The V-6 provides "only adequate around-town power," says ConsumerGuide, though the V-8 in the Super is "noticeably stronger, particularly in highway merging and passing power." They go on to point out that neither engine "matches the rival Chryslser 300's V-6 and V-8 engines for outright muscle." The four-speed automatic, archaic in comparison to modern six-speed units, shifts "smoothly enough," according to Edmunds, but the "widely spaced gear ratios hurt both performance and mileage." ConsumerGuide only notes the "smooth shifting" nature of the gearbox.

The 2010 Buick Lucerne is no sports sedan, but Kelley Blue Book finds the "standard car allows relatively spirited driving (more aggressive than its buyers will likely attempt)." EPA-rated at 16 mpg city and 25 mpg highway in V-6 trim, or 15 mpg city and 22 mpg highway for the V-8 Super, the Lucerne isn't a hog, but it's not particularly efficient either. Edmunds notes that "real-world fuel economy often falls well below the 20-mpg mark." It's worth pointing out that while this is true of in-town driving, the Lucerne does better on the open road.

The Super also adds magnetic ride control technology, which employs magneto-rheological shocks that automatically adjust to minimize body roll while delivering cushy ride. Large aluminum-alloy wheels and all-season tires boost traction and handling in most conditions, without compromising ride quality.

Autoblog praises the magnetic ride control system, noting it provides "a refined, premium ride that simultaneously enables crisp, responsive handling." Edmunds finds that without the advanced suspension, "handling is mediocre on the softly tuned Lucerne CX and CXL models, which exhibit considerable body roll during cornering."

8

2010 Buick Lucerne

Comfort & Quality

Barring the use of some lesser materials, the 2010 Buick Lucerne's meets the definition of a luxury vehicle.

As we've noted, the Lucerne focuses largely on comfort, so it's not surprising that the Lucerne features large seats and a quiet cabin. Ample storage space can be found in the cabin and trunk, while materials are generally good throughout, particularly in the Super.

The rear seats boast "an inch more rear legroom" than the previous Park Avenue, according to Kelley Blue Book, and ConsumerGuide notes that "only taller riders might wish for more head clearance," though they point out that while "legroom is good," it's down low where there's a problem-"foot space is tight."

Both the CX and CXL can also be configured with six-passenger seating via a front bench seat.

According to Cars.com, "seating for either five or six occupants is available," depending on the style of front seat. However, ConsumerGuide points outremarks, however, that "Three-across travel is complicated by an uneven floor and cushion shape." Edmunds disagrees, finding that with both five- and six-seat options, "room is abundant in any position," though they note that "seat comfort is only average."

Storage space is good, but not without its quirks. Consumer Guide notes that the Lucerne's "[trunk] lid hinges intrude into the cargo area," and that the "small rear-seat pass-through" doesn't serve as an adequate replacement for folding rear seats. In the cabin, they go on to find storage space to be "subpar," mostly due to "a small glovebox and door map pockets." Cars.com states that "the trunk holds 17 cubic feet of cargo," a solid figure for the segment.

Fit and finish aren't quite up to European standards, but buyers interested in a classically- styled car likely won't mind. CXL, CXL Premium, and Super models feature standard leather upholstery, while the CX comes standard with cloth seating.

ConsumerGuide finds that whilesays, "Cabin materials are mostly of high quality," but also remark thatsome of the interior's "lightweight plastic panels seem out of place given Lucerne's pricing." The Lucerne Super makes up for the shortcomings with "a leather-covered dashtop and upgraded trim more befitting the car's near-luxury status." Edmunds also notes a "few low-grade plastic pieces thrown into the mix, and fit and finish needs improvement."

Quietness is a strong suit of the 2010 Buick Lucerne. Consumer Guide says the Lucerne models it reviewed "were impressively quiet," and Autoblog reports that all Buick Lucerne models feature "an exclusive engineering process called QuietTuning to reduce, block and absorb noise from entering the interior."

7

2010 Buick Lucerne

Safety

The 2010 Buick Lucerne falls short in some areas, but crash -test ratings show it's still safe.

The 2010 Buick Lucerne has crash-test scores that are decent-though not noteworthy in a positive sense-crash-test scores for such a large, overtly secure-feeling sedan. The 2010 Buick Lucerne features a wide range of protection, offering two-stage front-impact driver and front-impact passenger airbags with passenger sensing system, plus driver and right-front passenger side impact and front and rear outboard head curtain airbags standard on all models. A few corners are cut, however:; though traction control is standard on all models, stability control isn't available at all on CX models and is an optional upgrade on the standard CXL. The CXL Premium and Super feature stability control as standard, however. Similarly, only the two upper-end models are equipped with Buick's lane departure warning system and blind-spot obstacle detection are only equipped on the two upper-end models.

The 2010 Buick Lucerne earns four- and five-star ratings in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash tests, and "good" and "acceptable" ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for frontal and side crash protection, respectively-middling results at best considering the Lucerne's size and price.

Optional upgrades can help improve the situation, however. Cars.com points out the Lucerne's "Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist and an electronic stability system" as examples, while noting that "six airbags are standard in all Buick Lucernes, including side-impact and side curtain airbags," plus "all-disc antilock brakes."

The higher-tech features such as lane departure warning and blind-spot detection are only "mildly useful," says AutoWeek, whose reviewers go on toalso note that "unlike the lane-departure system offered by Infiniti, the one Buick uses is not nearly as intrusive."

8

2010 Buick Lucerne

Features

The 2010 Buick Lucerne offers a lot of modern features in a classic package-if you're willing to pay for the upgrades.

Despite the classic styling, there are many high-tech features and options available on the 2010 Buick Lucerne. While the CX and CXL feature a standard AM/FM/MP3 stereo system, an optional upgrade includes touch-screen navigation with a 280-watt, nine-speaker Harmoan Kardon audio system, or for those that don't need navigation, there's an intermediate six-disc CD changer stereo upgrade. XM Satellite Radio is standard across all models, and a real-time traffic feature is available on the CXL Premium and Super. A sunroof, a lane departure warning system, and side blind-spot detection are also available. The Lucerne Super also adds heated and cooled driver and front passenger seats.

Motor Trend says the Buick Lucerne gets "an extra helping of technology," making special note of the "optional touch-screen navigation system," and "XM NavTraffic, a subscription service that displays real-time traffic information on-screen." Kelley Blue Book marks the remote-start option as a "favorite feature," and says that, "Once you've tried it you won't want to live without it."

Two available options packages up the features even further:. tThe Comfort & Convenience package adds dual-zone air conditioning, a Universal Home Remote, trunk cargo convenience net, Bluetooth phone connectivity, 16-inch steel spare wheel and tire (for CX and CXL models), or a 17-inch compact aluminum spare wheel and tire for the Super; the Driver Confidence package adds a number of safety and convenience features, including an anti-theft alarm system, a remote vehicle starter system, Rear Parking Assist, and GM's StabiliTrak stability control system with brake assist.

Edmunds notes that while the Buick Lacrosse has "greater availability of features" than the Park Avenue that preceded it, but it's not in a league with more modern alternatives. Out of the Lucerne lineup, however, Kelley Blue Book says the "V8-powered Super would be our choice for its full complement of features."

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7.2
Overall
Expert Rating
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Styling 7.0
Performance 6.0
Comfort & Quality 8.0
Safety 7.0
Features 8.0
Fuel Economy N/A
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