2006 Buick Lucerne Page 1




GET J.D. Power Circle ratings for new cars and trucks




Buick is hoping to become the American Lexus — and the '06 Lucerne is the model Buick hopes will change buyer's hearts and minds. Or at the very least, get them to give Buick a shot at their business before they buy their next Lexus.

Based on the car itself, they should. The Lucerne, which replaces the Park Avenue as Buick's top model, stands a good chance of changing their image dynamic and of doing so without completely alienating the current buyer pool.

This is a handsome ride, for starters, smooth and purposeful. The Lucerne has a steeply sloped windshield, a crisp beltline and minimalist ornamentation save for a nicely done reinterpretation of the classic Buick porthole motif on each front fender (four for V-8 versions; three for those equipped with the V-6 engine) and the classic Buick waterfall grille up front. The Lucerne 's shape and presence is entirely modern, yet very much in keeping with the Buick tradition of subtlety and good taste.

The car rides on a platform shared with the Cadillac DTS, so it's a big (five- to six-passenger) front-wheel-drive sedan with a limousine-like 115.6-inch wheelbase — which happens to be a significantly longer wheelbase, incidentally, than both the Lexus ES330 (107.1 inches) and GS300 (112 inches) and even slightly longer than the wheelbase of the top-of-the-line LS430 (115.2 inches), a car that costs roughly twice the base price of the Lucerne CX ($26,990).