2018 Buick LaCrosse Review

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2018 Buick LaCrosse Overview

Full-size sedans are becoming an endangered species in the automotive landscape. Squeezed out by luxury sedans and crossovers, the number of available models has dwindled over the past few years. Some, however, are still going strong—the Buick LaCrosse, for one. Last year, the automaker redesigned the model to make it more luxurious and powerful, and 2018 sees Buick introduce some key changes to the powertrain lineup.

Previously, the LaCrosse came exclusively with a 3.6-liter V6 engine good for 310 hp and 282 lb-ft of torque. For 2018, this is joined by an all-new eAssist system paired with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, which will stand as the standard powertrain across the LaCrosse lineup. eAssist is GM’s mild hybrid system, and it uses a small electric motor and compact lithium-ion battery pack to provide better acceleration, a smoother stop-start system, and a 19 percent increase in city fuel economy. What eAssist cannot do, however, is allow the vehicle to travel on electric power alone, due to the battery’s small size.

For 2018, the Lacrosse’s now-optional V6 engine will be paired with a new 9-speed automatic transmission. This will help improve performance and fuel-economy figures, although official EPA numbers are not yet available. Buick has also expanded the availability of all-wheel drive (AWD) to the Essence trim.

Buick strikes the right balance of comfort and sport with the LaCrosse’s suspension. The ride is nearly magic-carpet smooth as bumps and other road imperfections are subdued. On corners, the LaCrosse doesn’t embarrass itself—body motions are kept in check and the steering provides a natural and precise feel. If you order the optional 20-inch wheels, an adaptive suspension is included that helps smooth out the ride for everyday driving and sharpens the driving dynamics when the sport mode is engaged.

With its curved haunches and distinctive character lines, the handsome LaCrosse stands out from other models in its class. Up front, it features Buick’s new grille with an emblem supported by 2 slim bars. You’ll be seeing more of this grille on future Buick models, such as the upcoming 2018 Enclave and Regal. Wheels range in size from 18 to 20 inches.

Buick has put a lot of work in making the LaCrosse’s interior a special and comfortable space. The material quality is noticeably better than in the previous-generation model, with large swaths of leather and premium plastics. Whether you sit in the front or back, you’ll find plenty of head- and legroom. The only disappointment comes with the trunk—it offers a mere 15 cubic feet, placing the LaCross below competitors like the Chevrolet Impala, which provides 19 cubic feet of space.

For tech, all LaCrosses are equipped with an 8-inch touchscreen and Buick’s IntelliLink infotainment system. IntelliLink is a cinch to use, thanks to its logical menu layout, exuberant graphics, and quick response times. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility are standard, allowing owners to hook up their smartphones and use the various apps through the system. Also included is OnStar 4G LTE with a Wi-Fi hotspot, which provides a high-speed data connection for up to 7 devices.

The LaCrosse comes kitted out with a full complement of safety equipment, including 10 airbags, anti-lock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, a reversing camera, rear parking sensors, OnStar telematics, tire-pressure monitoring, and the Teen Driver feature. Teen Driver allows a parent to set up a special key for their young driver that limits speed and volume and provides the parent with a driving report, detailing how fast the car was traveling and the number of times the ABS or stability control system came on. Higher trims add blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic alert, lane-departure warning, and forward-collision alert, while automatic parking assist and adaptive cruise control are available as options. Both the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic and Safety Association (NHTSA) have awarded the LaCrosse with high honors—the 2017 model received Top Safety Pick status and the 2018 model earned a 5-star overall rating.

Pricing for the 2018 Buick LaCrosse has dropped slightly compared to last year’s model, thanks to the new eAssist powertrain taking over as the base engine. The base model will start out at $30,490 when it arrives at dealers later this year.

Updated

Ask William Maley how he started as an automotive writer and he would say he just fell into it. Based in Michigan, William has driven vehicles of all sizes and shapes. His work has appeared on Autobytel, CARFAX, Cheers & Gears, and U.S. News Best Cars.

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