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FEATURES | 8 out of 10
The available navigation system absorbs audio functions
A Harman Kardon audio system makes music sound beautiful
The Buick LaCrosse approaches Cadillac levels of standard and optional equipment. The line blurs even more this year, as the big sedan gets a lighter version of the Cadillac infotainment system--an advanced version of Buick IntelliLink that's shared with this year's new Chevy Impala.
The standard LaCrosse comes with the usual power features, cruise control, climate control, and AM/FM/XM/CD player. There's remote start, eight-way adjustable front seats, and Bluetooth with audio streaming, a tech feature that might not mate up with the core Buick audience of yesterday, but thinks ahead for the customers it needs to attract.
It's when it's trimmed out into Premium or Touring trim levels that the big Buick turns out Caddy-style feature content--features like a nicer instrument panel and an optional head-up display. Other options include a power sunroof, Bose audio, and a DVD entertainment system.
This year, the LaCrosse revamps the IntelliLink system it's offered for a few years, and made it standard on all models. As before, IntelliLink connects with smartphones for hands-free or streaming audio functions, and enables access to apps for Pandora or Stitcher audio.
With a cleaner, more colorful interface, this year's version of IntelliLink gets more and better functionality. Users can define up to 60 favorites from any IntelliLink function--a favorite destination, a radio station from any band, etc. The system will hold up to a thousand contacts, and it understands natural-language commands, for safer operation when driving. The home screen can be reconfigured in Apple-like fashion. And if the LaCrosse is outfitted with the optional navigation system, it's possible to enter a destination in one pass--a great shortcut that cuts through some of the cumbersome screen touching and voice steps that plague some other systems. The major difference from Cadillac's CUE system is the lack of haptic feedback--the subtle vibration from the screen that signals gestures.
More like Cadillac in content and Chevy in price, the Buick LaCrosse gets better at infotainment this year.