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2010 Buick LaCrosse Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2010 Buick LaCrosse was new.


Performance: 8.5

In the recent past, Buicks were known as sluggish and floaty cars. Their ride was a throwback to an earlier time, and they lagged well behind the performance of most modern sedans. With the 2010 LaCrosse, all that has changed. Test drivers say the 2010 LaCrosse is a capable performer. It offers confident acceleration with either of its two available engines, and while it doesn't handle with the sharpness of a sport sedan, reviewers say it handles as well as any family sedan and should easily meet the needs of most drivers.

  • "The LaCrosse is no sport sedan, but it's not meant to be one. And as one might expect from a Buick, the car does ride beautifully." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "The LaCrosse moves out when pushed, but its capabilities stop short of an all-out sport sedan's - fine by me, seeing as no one ever wanted Buick to build the next BMW." -- Cars.com
  • "The LaCrosse drives as well, if not better than, a [Cadillac] CTS during non-spirited driving." -- Road and Track


Acceleration and Power



The LaCrosse is available with a choice of two V6 engines. A 3.0-liter unit making 255 horsepower drives the CX and CXL model, while a larger 3.6-liter engine putting out 280 horsepower powers the CXS edition. Reviewers like both engines, but the smaller of the two is so capable that there may be little reason to pay for the added power of the larger engine. The only transmission offered is a six-speed automatic. The EPA has given the LaCrosse a 17/25 mpg rating when equipped with the 3.0-liter engine, and 17/27 mpg with the 3.6.

Shoppers who aren't planning an immediate purchase might want to note that Buick plans to offer a twin-turbo four-cylinder engine later in the model year, but few details on its performance are available at this time.

  • "Acceleration is strong, smooth and actually enjoyable." -- Jalopnik
  • "Unaware of which V6 was in our test car, based on the reasonably strong acceleration, we assumed it was the 3.6-liter. Not so. The 3.0-liter was under the hood and proved an excellent powertrain for this car." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "The CXS gets off the mark smoothly, and it hits 60 mph in about 7.5 seconds -- reasonably quick -- but the extra weight doesn't help it in corners and there is the inevitable tendency of a front-drive car to overwhelm the tires and understeer." -- Los Angeles Times
  • "Both of GM's ‘high-feature' V6s are smooth running and highly refined, and could easily find a home in any of the foreign premium brands that compete with the LaCrosse." -- Autoblog
  • "During my test-drive, I liked the larger 3.6-liter V-6 with its 280 horsepower and 259 pound-feet of torque better than the 255-horsepower, 217-pound-feet-of-torque 3-liter engine. It just gave the LaCrosse the gusto I expect in a large sedan" -- Detroit News


Handling and Braking



Buicks have a reputation as ponderous, floaty cars, but the 2010 LaCrosse goes a long way toward erasing it. Reviewers say that buyers accustomed to the ride and steering of imported cars would be comfortable with the handling of the redesigned LaCrosse. Many reviewers take time to point out that the LaCrosse isn't quite up to the standards of European sports sedans - but for the comparison to even cross the mind of a reviewer is big news.

Still, those looking for a sedan that handles well in tight corners might want to look toward true sport sedans like the Cadillac CTS, or upscale trim levels of sporty family cars, like the Mazda6 Grand Touring edition.

Few reviewers have tested the all-wheel drive available on the CXL edition, making it difficult to evaluate its performance.

  • "The steering of the LaCrosse is direct and the polar opposite of Buicks in the past. A sneeze at freeway speed could cause a lane change if you're not careful." -- AutoWeek
  • "Another big change for the LaCrosse is Buick's determination to leave soft and floaty rides behind. The ride is smooth but not too hard or too soft. Baby Bear must have calibrated the real-time active dampening suspension found on the top-of-the-line CXS model because it feels just right." -- Detroit News
  • "The steering has a good balance of feel, weighting and precision" -- Road and Track
  • "The steering wheel turns with Lexus-like smoothness; in parking lots, turning is a two-fingered affair. On curvier roads, handling isn't as razor-sharp as a genuine sport sedan - there's more steering slop and body roll on curvy roads, for example, than in a TL or Infiniti G37 - but Buick fans may find this a step in the more athletic direction." -- Cars.com
  • "Simply the best steering feel we've ever experienced in a Buick." -- Autoblog

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