2008 Buick Lucerne Performance

$3,686 - $5,049

2008 Buick Lucerne Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2008 Buick Lucerne was new.


Performance: 7.1

Overall, reviews say the Lucerne's performance is pleasant as it delivers a smooth ride that's typical of Buick sedans.

Edmunds concludes that though the Lucerne "won't appeal to demanding drivers, its comfortable cruising demeanor is hard not to like on long road trips." In sum, Forbes concludes that the sedan "delivers decent performance with a smooth ride," adding that these are "attractive attributes for those who must endure a grueling daily commute or travel long distances."

Acceleration and Power

The Lucerne CX and CXL come standard with a V6 engine and the CXS comes with the Northstar V8. Most reviewers find the V6 adequate and the V8 a more impressive performer. Both are mated to a four-speed automatic, which reviewers find smooth. Consumer Guide says both engines "provide adequate around-town power." Kelley Blue Book adds that the car provides, in sum, "adequate power, good control and solid braking." The V6 Lucerne's have an Environmental Protection Agency estimated fuel economy of 16 miles per gallon in the city and 25 on the highway.

Reviewers had more to say about the V8, claiming it is "refined" for "merging and passing power," says Consumer Guide. The Boston Globe "could not feel the full pull" of the V8's torque, but concludes, "the straight-ahead thrust of the horsepower was sufficient." Edmunds writes that the V8 "is brisk off the line, and the engine sounds great under full throttle," but points out, "We aren't as delighted with its midrange response."

Cars.com echoes reviewers consensus by adding that the Northstar V8 "doesn't provide the kind of low-rpm torque typically associated with eight-cylinder engine," but continues to say that it "hits its stride as the revs rise, and it belts out a pleasing roar when pushed hard." But at higher speeds, the Chicago Tribune points out that it "has plenty of spirit to stay ahead of the pack on the interstate." The V8 has an EPA fuel economy of 15 mpg in the city and 23 on the highway.

Edmunds says that the four-speed automatic transmission "shifts smoothly enough, but its tall, widely spaced gear ratios hurt both performance and mileage -- not a good thing in a class where competitors' transmissions offer five or even six forward gears." Of the transmission, the Washington Post says "Good enough isn't good enough in a car that is superior in so many other ways." MSN adds that it's "responsive, but a modern five-speed automatic should be used in such a new car." Forbes concludes, "Five speeds are routine even in Hyundais and Kias, while six and seven speeds are offered by several upscale brands."

Handling and Braking

The Lucerne is equipped with four-wheel independent suspension that is calibrated differently for each model. Edmunds calls the CX and CXL "softly tuned," adding that they "exhibit considerable body roll during cornering," while "the high-line CXS model is fairly nimble through turns." On the turns, the Lucerne is "agile but hardly athletic," says Car and Driver. The Sacramento Bee finds the handling "a tiny bit mushy," explaining, "I was hoping for a little more firmness in the steering wheel and a little less body sway on gentle, high-speed Interstate corners." Automobile.com, on the other hand, "was surprised by how well this big Buick hunkered down, gripped, and zoomed around a curve."

Forbes says that the "steering is nicely weighted and moderately communicative."  CNET, however, notes "a slight understeer" that necessitates "stretching a couple of extra millimeters to change lanes in town." Many reviewers pointed out the Lucerne's turning radius, which Automobile.com calls "huge -- bordering on ridiculous." Edmunds reviewers add that its' "large turning circle makes it cumbersome, and its abrupt steering response feels mismatched to its otherwise lazy reactions."

The Lucerne comes with four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes that stop the sedan well enough but feel a bit soft, according to reviewers. Car and Driver reports that braking distance falls within "expected range for a sedan of this intent," but continuing to say that the feel is "less satisfying. The pedal is downright squishy as you wait, motionless, for the light to change. And each stop requires a push through an initial slack zone before braking gets serious." Edmunds calls the Lucerne's handling and braking "subpar." Yet, Consumer Guide concludes that all Lucerne's "stop with confidence, but some testers complain of a dull brake feel."

Performance Options

The 2008 Lucerne CX and CXL come with a 3.8-liter V6 that delivers 197 horsepower and 227 pound-feet of torque. The CXS comes with a Northstar 4.6-liter DOHC V8 with 275 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The Buick Lucerne Super will utilize a stronger version of the Northstar V8 that will produce 292 horsepower -- a jump from the 275 horsepower available on the standard V8. The Lucerne Super makes 288 pound-feet of torque and will come with a stiffer suspension. All four models are mated to a four-speed enhanced electronic automatic transmission.

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