$6,951 - $9,992

2011 Buick Lucerne Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2011 Buick Lucerne was new.


Performance: 7.2

When it comes to performance, the 2011 Buick Lucerne offers optional V8 power, but that’s about it. Reviewers complain about the available engines and the elephantine handling. On the plus side, the ride is comfortable. However, reviewers say the ride is just as smooth in the Buick LaCrosse, which beats the Lucerne in almost every measure of performance and costs less. The Ford Taurus also offers stronger performance at a lower price.

  • "Even the sportier -- and we use that term very loosely -- Super model is all about coddling its occupants while motoring down the highway. Exit that interstate onto some curvy side roads, however, and the Lucerne doesn't look quite as good.” -- Edmunds
  • "CXL models are compliant over bumps, but suffer some unwanted body motions, including float at higher speeds and bobbing over broken surfaces around town. Supers, with their standard Magnetic Ride Control suspension, are nearly as compliant and better composed." -- Consumer Guide

Acceleration and Power

The 2011 Lucerne is available with a 3.9-liter V6 engine making 227 horsepower or a 4.6-liter V8 making 292 horsepower. Both are weak engines for their size -- competitors offer more powerful, more fuel-efficient options in both V6 and V8 powerplants. Both are available only with an antiquated four-speed automatic transmission, while most competitors offer five- or six-speeds even in base models. Reviewers say the V8 has enough power for the car's weight, but the V6 isn't. The EPA estimates that V6-powered Lucernes should get 17 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway, while V8 models are rated for just 15/23 mpg.

  • “With the V6 under the hood, acceleration is adequate at best. The V8-powered Super is gutsier, particularly at higher speeds, but neither engine's performance impresses compared to competing models.” -- Edmunds
  • "The V6 provides only adequate around-town power. The Super's V8 is noticeably stronger, particularly in highway merging and passing power, but neither matches the rival Chrysler 300's V6 and V8 engines for outright muscle. Both of Lucerne's engines work well with the smooth-shifting transmission." -- Consumer Guide
  • The Northstar V8 "doesn't provide the kind of low-rpm torque typically associated with eight-cylinder engine, but hits its stride as the revs rise, and it belts out a pleasing roar when pushed hard." -- Cars.com
  • The transmission is "responsive, but a modern five-speed automatic should be used in such a new car." -- MSN

Handling and Braking

The Lucerne is unquestionably tuned for a soft, gentle ride. While reviewers appreciate the floaty sensation in highway cruising, it hurts the car in the corners, where handling can suffer. The steering is light, but the turning radius is the worst in its class, and the brakes elicit many reviewer complaints.

  • "Handling is sloppy on CX and CXL models, and even the Super's adaptive suspension makes only a modest improvement. The steering is slow and imprecise on CX and CXL models and overly sensitive on the Super, thanks to its magnetic variable-assist design.-- Edmunds
  • "Agile but hardly athletic." -- Car and Driver
  • "CXL versions exhibit a lot of body lean in turns, and the steering is vague and overboosted on the highway. The Super is more athletic thanks to sharper steering response and its Magnetic Ride Control suspension that reduces body lean, though the car is still short of being sporty."--Consumer Guide

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