Poetry in Motion: 2011 Buick LaCrosse

December 15, 2010

As Family Car Guide scoured the current crop of family sedans – everything from affordable to luxury – to zero in on the 2011 models with exceptional styling (yeah, we know this is subjective), one car surprised us. It’s the 2011 Buick LaCrosse.

You read that right. A Buick – but not just any Buick. Let’s take a look.

2011 Buick LaCrosse

Auto writers and consumers alike have commented that the Buick LaCrosse, introduced in 2010, shows that when General Motors puts its collective resources together, it can design and build a car that can compete with luxury makes. In particular, Buick LaCrosse has the Lexus ES 350 in its cross-hairs and, as it turns out, LaCrosse is more than up to the draw-down.

The 2011 Buick LaCrosse is an affordable mid-size family sedan consumers can cross-shop against luxury makes costing thousands more. Available in front-wheel drive (FWD) CX, CXL FWD, and CXS, as well as CXL AWD, starting manufacturer’s suggested retail prices (MSRPs) range from $26,995 (CX) to $33,765 for CXS. Note that AWD is only available in CXL.

Exterior and Aerodynamics

When Buick designers – architects, really – created and refined the concept that would become the Buick LaCrosse, they obviously had sweeping lines that never seem to end in mind. In that respect alone, LaCrosse delivers. Buick’s marketers talk about the car’s lines as being “seductive and uninterrupted,” leading from curve to the next.

Everything about the exterior design, from the wraparound headlights to the side sweep spears to the seamless merge into LaCrosse’s LED taillamps is thoughtfully done – to perfection. There’s no chop, no disjointedness about the exterior styling, which is also aerodynamically efficient.

Elegant. Modern. Balanced. These words aptly sum up the overall exterior design of the 2011 Buick LaCrosse.

Under the Hood

Two engine options are available for the 2011 Buick LaCrosse. Standard powerplant is the 2.4-liter ECOTEC four-cylinder engine that delivers 182 horsepower and achieves an EPA-estimated 19 mpg city/30 mpg highway. The more powerful choice is the 280-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 spark ignition direct injection engine standard in CXS and CXL AWD. Fuel economy numbers for these engines are 17/27 (CXS) and 16/26 (CXL AWD). Both engines are mated with an electronically-controlled six-speed automatic transmission.


Inviting Interior

With a Zen-like quietness to the cabin, the 2011 Buick LaCrosse provides the kind of comfort and convenience consumers equate with luxury sedans. Many reviewers comment they’re literally astounded by the high quality and superb fit and finish of the sedan’s interior. The seats are spacious and comfortable, not like the hard bench-like seats of Buicks past. The rear seats are equally accommodating – and were designed that way. That’s because Buick is regarded in China as a premium brand and a status symbol, and owners there often choose to be chauffered.  Rear seat legroom is therefore a big plus in the 2011 LaCrosse. While the front legroom is 41.7 inches, in the rear there’s 40.5 inches. The result is that LaCrosse easily fits five adults.

Other interior styling elements that add to LaCrosse include soft leather seats, wood trim bisecting the dash, sew-and-stitch leather-covered dashboard, door panels and instrument cluster hood. LaCrosse also adds features many consumers expect in a luxury sedan, including Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, dual-zone climate control, heated outside mirrors, push-button start, and 354-watt Harman/Kardon 11-speaker stereo system.

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