2015 Buick LaCrosse Steps Up to the Plate, Big Time

BUICK POWER: The 2015 Buick LaCrosse in all-wheel-drive shows that Detroit is learning how to compete in this category. Watch out Audi and Lexus.
BUICK POWER: The 2015 Buick LaCrosse in all-wheel-drive shows that Detroit is learning how to compete in this category. Watch out Audi and Lexus. –Buick

There’s one word to describe the 2015 Buick Lacrosse with all-wheel-drive: substantial. It’s a solid sedan that does everything well without the flashiness of an Audi or Lexus.

That said, it’s still a surprisingly handsome car. The LED lighting upfront and the taillights give the LaCrosse a real sense of sophistication. I liked the full-width chrome accents across the rear and the integrated exhaust outlets that are framed in chrome. Unlike the TV commercials, you still know it’s a Buick, but it’s impressive how engaging the design is.

Acceleration is good thanks to the 3.6-liter, dual overhead cam V6 with direct injection. It produces 304 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 264 lb.-ft. of torque at 5,300 rpm. This LaCrosse doesn’t jump off the line but neither does it have problems merging onto the highway.

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Handling is good, especially with the all-wheel-drive. I experienced no traction problems, even on my icy driveway. It effortlessly climbed the grade each and every time. The car easily plowed through a few inches of overnight snow without breaking a sweat.Height helps. The ground clearance on the car is 6.8 inches, which is fairly good for a sedan.

For 2015, there are new, four-way adjustable headrests up front. I’ve never adjusted a headrest in my life but those options are supposedly good for taller drivers. The rear headrests also fold out of the way for better visibility.

The 2015 Buick Lacrosse comes standard with OnStar with 4G LTE, and a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot provides a mobile hub to help you stay connected. It works through the OnStar system, which should give you a stronger signal than your mobile phone. The hotspot is on whenever the car is on and comes with a three-month/three-gigabyte data trial. After that, plans run from $10 a month up to $50 a month based on your usage demands. (AT&T customers can add their Buicks to their mobile share plan, too).

The 2015 Buick LaCrosse is packed with standard safety equipment, including a rearview camera system, eight air bags (with rear-seat thorax air bags), StabiliTrak, traction control, and four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and intelligent brake assist. You can get features like side blind zone alert with lane departure, forward collision alert, and rear cross traffic alert, but they are bundled into the driver confidence package costing $2,125. Adaptive cruise control and front automatic braking are also available—but as part of a second driver confidence package. That’s going to set you back $1,245.

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The 2015 Buick LaCrosse competes against the Acura TLX, Lexus ES 350, and Lincoln MKZ. It’s a tough battle between the Acura and the Buick, which is probably not a sentence I would have written five years ago. The Buick has more rear passenger legroom but the Acura gets much better fuel economy. The LaCrosse is rated at 17mpg city and 26mpg highway. The Acura fairly trumps that at 21mpg city and 31mpg highway. However, the Acura does run on premium while the LaCrosse runs on regular. My choice among the four models mentioned would be in this order: Acura TLX, Buick LaCrosse, Lexus ES 350, and Lincoln MKZ.

Pricing for the Buick LaCrosse with the V6 engine and all-wheel-drive starts at $40,500. The two driver convenience packages mentioned above add almost $3,400. A power moonroof with second row skylight added another $1,195, and the leather/suede ultra luxury package is going to set you back an additional $2,495. The bottom line, including $925 destination charge, was $49,475.

If you are looking to buy American, then the Buick LaCrosse would be a good place to start.

2015 Buick LaCrosse

THE BASICS

Price, base (with destination): $41,425. Fuel economy: 17-city/26-highway/20-combined Drivetrain: 3.6-liter, V6. Body:4-door sedan.

THE SPECIFICS

Horsepower: 304 @ 6,800 rpm.Torque: 264 @ 5,300 rpm.Overall length: 197 in. Wheelbase: 111.7 in. Height: 59.2 in. Width: 73.1 in. Curb weight: 4,140 lbs.

THE GOOD

An appealing design, good performance, and desirable technology combine to make the Buick LaCrosse a winner.

THE BAD

Fuel economy is not good for its class, and the bottom line starts to jump significantly when appealing options are added.

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THE BOTTOM LINE

The 2015 Buick LaCrosse is proof positive that the company makes the best sedans GM has to offer for pricepoint and overall performance.

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