Overall, it's probably appropriate not to approach the 2011 LaCrosse with high performance expectations—as it's no sports sedan—but it can hold its own as a daily driver and highway cruiser. And in CXS form, the LaCrosse does add a host of hardware that really does lead to a sportier, more buttoned-down feel. A front HiPer strut suspension gives the LaCrosse more body control and finesse, while it also gets upgraded V-rated tires and an improved magnetic, variable-effort power steering system.
With the discontinuation of the 3.0-liter V-6 versions, the 2011 Buick LaCrosse is offered in two very different flavors, set by which powertrain is underhood. The base CX and CXL models come with a 182-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, while standard on the CXS and CXL AWD (and available on the CXL front-wheel drive) is a 280-hp, 3.6-liter V-6. All models come with a six-speed automatic transmission, which really does its best to help the four-cylinder feel sprightly; but it's hard to mask the laws of physics here, and the four-cylinder model can feel quite wheezy with a full load or on long grades. The V-6 is essentially the same engine featured in the Buick Enclave crossover, tuned here to 280 horsepower; it can make the dash to 60 mph in under seven seconds, and here especially the automatic is very smooth and responsive.