2018 Buick LaCrosse

Performance


$29,565 MSRP
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2018 Buick LaCrosse Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.5

The 2018 Buick LaCrosse may not be the most exhilarating large car to drive, but it still provides balanced performance that should appeal to most buyers. The base mild hybrid powertrain gets exceptional fuel economy, while the available V6 delivers plenty of punch. The ride is smooth and silky, yet the sedan is still poised around corners.

  • "No, this isn't a sport sedan, and it isn't trying to be. But the mere fact that it doesn't roll over and play dead through the twisty bits is a development that Buick worked hard to achieve with the new LaCrosse, a way to lure potential customers looking for a smidge more dynamic appeal from an otherwise comfy, quiet sedan." -- Automobile Magazine (2017)
  • "The 2017 Buick LaCrosse glides down the road with impressive comfort and isolation, soaking up bumps and treating its occupants to a whisper-quiet interior courtesy of many sound-deadening measures. The steering is low in effort, and the engine responds sharply to your gas pedal inputs. In general, we found this big sedan to be easy and pleasant to drive." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "No matter how you spec it, the 2017 Buick LaCrosse takes a very specific approach to driving dynamics. This isn't a car you grab by the scruff and toss around. If you want a GM sedan for that, buy a Chevrolet SS. Speed sneaks up on you in the LaCrosse. It's the look-down-and-you're-doing-80 kind of speed, not the 'hey, watch this!' kind." -- Left Lane News (2017)

Acceleration and Power

The 2018 LaCrosse has a new standard 194-horsepower powertrain this year called eAssist. This light hybrid powertrain consists of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, an electric motor, and a six-speed transmission. With the eAssist powertrain, the LaCrosse gets up to 25 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. The only large car that gets better fuel economy is the Toyota Avalon Hybrid.

A 310-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 is available, along with a new nine-speed automatic transmission (replacing the previous eight-speed). The V6-powered LaCrosse gets 21/30 mpg city/highway, which is above average for the class.

The eAssist powertrain has quick acceleration from a stop, thanks to the immediate torque provided by the electric motor. The optional V6 is very potent, accelerating the sedan with ease from a stop and at highway speeds. Both powertrains have a stop-start system to improve fuel economy, and it isn't intrusive like similar systems in other vehicles.

  • "Smaller but offering greater power than its predecessor, Buick says the more sophisticated eAssist setup in the 2018 LaCrosse boasts a nine-percent bump in overall torque compared to the 110 lb-ft total of the package used on the 2016 model. That extra output … adds smoothness and spirit to vehicle launches and refines operation of the start/stop function." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Helping things further is a powerful V6 engine paired to a crisp-shifting … automatic transmission and a relatively imperceptible automatic stop-start system (so imperceptible, Buick controversially decided to not include an Off button)." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "Given its elderly buyer demographic, you might expect the LaCrosse to lurch off the line with all the rapidity of the Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi that I'm typing this story on, but it actually gets out of its own way in something of a hurry. I'd estimate 0 to 60 mph in a little over 6 seconds, and power is administered without fuss." -- CNET (2017)

Handling and Braking

The LaCrosse strikes a good balance between athleticism and comfort. It's reasonably nimble around corners, with little body lean, though it can't keep up with true sports sedans. The ride is smooth over rough roads, especially in models with the available adaptive suspension, which lets you select from two driving modes: Normal and Sport. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is available.

  • "As is often the case, we found the base suspension to be a fine compromise. The adjustable suspension has 'Normal' and 'Sport' modes, but the 20-inch low-profile tires made Normal feel a bit stiffer over small bumps than the standard set-up. In the twisties, the Sport mode acquitted itself quite well, providing sportier steering along with a more-controlled ride with less body lean, but we doubt most buyers would find the optional suspension's $1625 price tag worth the complication and slight sacrifice to overall ride quality." -- Consumer Guide (2017)
  • "Like some of the best luxury sedans, the 2017 LaCrosse has the ability to be both comfortable when cruising and surprisingly sharp around turns. Even that nice-and-easy steering is precise, natural in feel and consistent in its effort. We are legitimately surprised at how good the new LaCrosse is to drive." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "Comfort and capability are traits evident on any LaCrosse trim level. In standard tune, some steering precision disappears but the vehicle remains light on its toes and provides ample driving enjoyment despite its smaller shoes." -- New York Daily News (2017)
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