We put the 2014 LaCrosse Premium AWD to the test – Buick’s mid-size luxury sedan offering
Few luxury vehicles garner the attention they deserve, and the 2014 Buick LaCrosse is perhaps one of them. The automaker’s luxury mid-size sedan offering, the LaCrosse discretely yet confidently exudes confidence with advanced performance and sculpted design, all with a higher level of refinement and comfort the Buick nameplate has been synonymous for.
Available in four trims, the LaCrosse starts at $35,795 MSRP and powered by a 2.4L Ecotec Direct Injection inline-four engine with eAssist rated at 182-hp. For an extra three-thousand dollars the same LaCrosse finds additional luxury packages with heated front bucket seats, leather package, plus a longer list of comfort and convenience features.
For more power and presence, the Buick LaCrosse Premium at $42,525 (as tested) gets bigger 19-inch chrome aluminum wheels replacing the 17-inch, with power from a capable 304-hp 3.6L DOHC V6 paired to an electronic 6-speed automatic transmission with overdrive.
On the road, the LaCrosse handled well and comfortably, with next to no cabin noise in part to a Buick exclusive called QuietTuning: an engineering process to reduce, block, and absorb interior noise courtesy of laminated window glass, triple door seals, and liquid applied sound deadening. Accelerating out of corners was smooth with ample power by way of the 264 lb.ft of torque from the 3.6L V6. For better grip, especially for slippery conditions, the V6 offers an available AWD featuring an electronic limited slip differential.
The top-end LaCrosse starts at $43,095 with the even larger 20-inch machine-faced silver painted aluminum wheels.
Granted, Buick is attracting a younger market with the likes of the smaller, livelier (and affordable at $22,836) compact sedan Verano; the sportier 2.0L turbocharged mid-size sedan Regal built here in Canada; or Buick’s best-selling, stylish Enclave SUV. But the iconic luxury brand still has love for the the old-school, brawny-sedan aficionados who won’t settle for anything less than a V6. That’s where the LaCrosse comes.
Fortunately, the entire Buick vehicle lineup — from the Verano to the Enclave — maintains assertive exterior styling both refined yet sporty, and the 2014 Buick LaCrosse is no exception. The fake chrome hood inlets could probably go (personal choice, I suppose) but from the waterfall grille to the LED-accented headlights and wraparound redesigned LED tailights, the LaCrosse styling is pure Buick and instantly recognizable.
Both the wing-shape LED daytime running front lamps and LED wraparound taillights are new for 2014, as well as new front fascia and a sculpted hood into the waterfall grille. Also new for 2014 LaCrosse and included in the Driver Confidence Package are the Xenon HID headlights which articulate in the direction of the car
With sculpted curves and clean lines front-to-back, the 2014 LaCrosse manages to maintain the elegance without compromising the youthful, sporty styling cues — from the dual-exhaust pipes integrated into the rear valance to the long flowing lines, LED lights, and larger wheels.
Few of the standard exterior features on the LaCrosse V6 trim include active aero shutters (front lower grille), light-tinted and solar absorbing glass, door handles in body colour and chrome strips, heated side mirrors with signal indicators and ground illumination. Plus, QuietTuning, a Buick exclusive.
Inside, the entire cabin is spacious and incredibly elegant, as you’d expect from the American luxury automaker. Warm woodgrain tones throughout coupled with smoked-chrome accents, the 2015 LaCrosse feels less entry-level luxury and more inline with the likes of the Lexus ES 350 or Lincoln MKZ.
My LaCrosse tester found the $2,050 Ultra Luxury Package, stepping it up entirely with sangria opus perforated leather seating, driver/passenger ventilated seats, a wood instrument panel, more wood door inserts and wood console trim, leather-wrapped centre console, plus suede pillars and suede headliner/vanity mirrors with stitching. And above all, an oversized power sunroof for an extra $1,660.
New for 2015, the LaCrosse finds a redesigned centre stack with a clean layout design utilizing a nice mix of hard switches and on-screen buttons. Reducing the dial clutter and retaining the clean esthetic even further, the HVAC duties are now managed on-screen.
Front-and-centre, the driver now enjoys a sleek 203mm reconfigurable information display and gauge cluster.
Overall, after spending some time inside the LaCrosse, it’s clear Buick is striving to make luxury affordable but without veering off course — the 2015 Buick LaCrosse certainly exudes class and confidence.
Standard entertainment and audio equipment includes the Buick IntelliLink AM/FM radio stereo with CD player, including Bluetooth streaming, enhanced USB music playback iPod control, and SD memory card slot with full song indexing, to name a few, all working alongside a Bose 11-speaker premium system. This LaCrosse found the upgraded IntelliLink with navigation for $995, plus a rear seat entertainment package for $1,660 adding a Blue-ray capable DVD player, rear seat dual-display in seatbacks, and dual-wireless headphones.
While General Motor’s product line has shrunk post-Great Recession, the vehicle offerings are now more targeted, and arguably, more logical; the performance-minded looking to compete with the BMWs and Mercedes-Benz can turn to Cadillac, while Chevrolet still caters to the volume-market of well-built family vehicles from sub-compact to full-size utility. But those entering the luxury market with the likes of Volvo, Lexus, and Acura, Buick is certainly keeping up but is perhaps often overlooked, despite it’s analogous and inspiring relationship with German brand Opel. Nevertheless, the 2014 Buick LaCrosse is world-class luxury, exemplifying everything the iconic Buick brand has stood for.