The 2013 Buick LaCrosse takes advantage of GM's eAssist mild-hybrid technology, and in base form it returns respectable, refined performance while achieving an EPA highway number of 36 mpg. And for those seeking a more traditional luxury-car experience, the step-up V-6 engine fits the bill.Included with the eAssist system is an upgraded 115-volt battery, and the electric motor system provides about 15 horsepower of hybrid boost to the engine. We've found this base powertrain to be quite smoothly integrated and perfectly adequate, though not all that enjoyable; and although eAssist helps smooth out shifts most of the time, the system still has moments of roughness and indecision. Just as with other hybrid systems, eAssist enables the engine to stop at idle in some situations, to save fuel, and it starts very quickly and smoothly the moment you lift off the brake.
For those who want an experience that's closer to that of a traditional luxury car or a traditional Buick, a 303-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 is available. Mileage dips significantly, but it's strong and smooth, with plenty of reserves for passing--which perhaps makes it the best choice for those who plan to carry a full load on highway trips.
The LaCrosse is no performance car, but it does handle the curves better than its predecessors. And in Touring guise, with the optional magnetic adjustable suspension (and included V-rated performance tires and variable-effort power steering), the LaCrosse gains a more responsive feel that doesn't come at the expense of ride quality.