The Buick Lacrosse: Not Your Grandpa’s Car Anymore
The new generation of Buick sedans has used considerable energy to convince a younger market that their latest models are “not your father’s Buick.” And in large part, their campaign has been successful. The average age of Buick car buyers has decreased, and since the release of the re-booted Lacrosse. And there’s has been no shortage of accolades. However, it’s still a long and low sedan. And it’s competing for attention in a market saturated by crossovers. The two models really couldn’t be more different. That makes selling sedans and even bigger challenge, but it’s one to which Buick has responded with vigor.
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If you're too young to remember a time when bar brawls couldn't be solved by Googling facts about the 1986 Red Sox, then you probably don't really have many references for the Buick of yesteryear. Back in those days, the leatherette bench seats and massive front grills were all the rage, and status really was about the size of your caboose. Buicks were for those who didn't see the point in paying for the ostentatiousness of a Cadillac but still wanted a bit of that swagger, and for whom a hood ornament was a thing of beauty in itself. These days, the Buick retains its signature Tri-color shield logo and an impressive size but has incorporated a slew of features that place it neatly in the mid-range sedan category just below the Lexus ES 350. However unlike the 350, this guy has some serious presence: it's almost 5 inches longer than the Lexus, and more than 7 inches longer than the Acura TLX. The nearly 300 pounds the Lacrosse has shed in the newest iteration gives this car a low, lean and sleek appearance that helps the Buick punch far above its weight class, literally. So no, it's probably not your father's car, but maybe it's your kind of well-off and pretty cool uncle who comes to visit twice a year's car?
Because the Buick is somewhere on the spectrum from mid-range to luxury sedan, the features and upgrades that you add (or don't) will push you more towards one end or the other. The four versions in which the Lacrosse comes have a pretty sizable difference between them: the Standard model comes in only black or white and is pretty empty of bells and whistles. The Preferred model features a power adjustable steering column, satellite radio, and upgraded wheels, but the interior is still pretty basic. The Essence model starts to feel pretty luxurious, with optional heated leather seats (that also offer massaging) along with a sunroof. The Premium model offers the 20" wheels with Continuous Damping Control and a complete sensor kit. To be sure, you'll have to spend a little more if you want to move closer to luxury, but even the lower level models have a notably smooth feel on the road and fair headroom for four passengers.
One of the stranger aspects of the Buick Lacrosse is their safety package: while it rates well on crash tests and comes with 10 airbags in all models, the only model that offers adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency breaking and automatic parking assist is the Premium, and only after adding the Driver Confidence Package 2. There is also the optional Teen Driver package that will allow you to limit the speed your new driver is allowed to reach on the road, and which keeps a report card on the driver's habits and performance. Of course, if your teen actually wants to drive your car is another story: after all, not your father's Buick is still their father or mother's Buick, and that's not very cool, is it?
Not unless your father is a time traveler, you won't. There are a ton of features inside and out that give the Lacrosse a fresh, and tech-friendly feel that's more likely to have your father yelling about how he doesn't understand kids these days with their fancy computers and Face-books. But since you are one of those crazy computer having Face-booking kids, you'll probably love the 8-inch infotainment touchscreen with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto-included. If you're actually concerned about driving the thing, you'll likely find that pretty satisfying as well: if you opt for the Essence or Premium model with 20" allow wheel package, you'll get to maximize Buick's Continuous Damping Control adaptive suspension, which gives the driver a real sense of the Lacrosse with the choice of Touring or Sport modes. Even if you opt for the 10" wheels, the ride is smooth and silent thanks to Buick's Quiet Tuning feature, which is an acoustic laminated windshield and front door windows. These small details help to round out the near-luxury experience, and the optional upgrades go even further to convincing you. Your father would be proud.
Make no mistake, there's no way this car could ever be called 'Lacrosse-over, ' and if you're looking for the sporty features that have come to define an entire generation of vehicles, you're not likely to be convinced by an almost-luxury sedan. But there are some very viable features in the Buick Lacrosse that make it a real contender for a family car, and if you do a lot of highway driving and aren't so keen on looking like you've just come back from an extreme sports competition, this might be the car for you. Fuel economy is improved over the 2014 version, with a combined 20/29/23 in 2WD and 20/29/23 for a 4WD model. Those are good solid numbers that won't break the bank and might save you some cash down the line, and even at its top tier, the Lacrosse doesn't touch the cost of a Lexus while still delivering a very nearly luxury ride. If you're looking for a crossover, then you might not take a second look at a sedan, but if you're actually interested in driving, then you may want to expand your horizons. Because in the end, trends may come and trends may go, but father really does know best.