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SAFETY | 9 out of 10
2014 Buick LaCrosse: "Good," frontal offset and roof strength
2014 Buick LaCrosse: Five stars frontal crash, four stars rollover resistance
Our biggest complaint with the interior of the LaCrosse remains the outward visibility. The thick A-pillars make for very prominent blind-spots when turning or running down a curvy road.
Rear visibility, however, is compromised by the car's high rear deck and thick roof pillars.
The LaCrosse is already one of the safest sedans you can buy, but for the 2014 model year, Buick's adding two new packages of safety gear that pack even more technology into its four-door body. Some of them may be a case of too much information, depending on your driving skills and driving budget.
First things first. For the 2014 model year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has only ranked the LaCrosse at five stars for front-impact protection, and four stars for rollover resistance. Last year, it gave the LaCrosse five stars overall for crash protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the 2014 LaCrosse a "good" score for frontal impacts, but without a small-overlap score, it doesn't qualify for its former Top Safety Pick award.
Forward visibility is in good supply from the LaCrosse's driver's seat, though the thick rear pillars and smaller rear glass create big blind spots to the rear.
Those flaws can be muted with the available safety gear. Eight airbags are standard, though a rearview camera is not, and should be. Blind-spot monitors and adaptive headlights can be ordered, too.
New on the docket are more exotic features like forward-collision alerts, lane-departure warning and lane-change alert systems, adaptive cruise control, and collision-mitigation braking. All these systems use cameras and radar to judge the situation around the car's perimeter, and to try to predict if a crash is imminent--whether you're changing lanes, or if another driver is approaching quickly in the lane you'd like to be in next. Outfitted properly, the LaCrosse will buzz and beep and light up and even vibrate the driver seat to warn you of the danger--more useful information to some, expensive distractions to others.
Buick's LaCrosse has been a safety standout, and we don't see anything changing that.