Buick LAcrosse 2.4 Liter test drive

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As you might remember from my previous Lacrosse test drive, I think the Buick sedan is a great car.
My previous test car was a loaded 3.6 Liter V6 CXS model, competing mainly with the Lexus ES, and I think the Buick is the better car of the two.
I was very curious to see how good the same car was with the smaller 4 cylinder engine, and without many of the options.

Obviously, the 2.4 Liter looks pretty much the same as the V6 model. Which is great.
I think the new Lacrosse is one of the best looking sedan available today. The same goes for the cheaper CX model.


The V6 version I drove before had a grey leather interior that looked great.
This base CX came with a beige/brown cloth interior.
AWhich doesn’t look that great…

The cloth is OK, but not as good as some others. And even though there is nothing wrong with it, it does give out a rental car feel to the whole interior.
I also was not a big fan of the interior color choice. The beige is a bit dark and quite yellowish. Not the light cream we now see in other brands. And the darker brown is pretty much exactly the color of dark chocolate.
I would rather have a cream/black combo. But that just me…

Otherwise things are the same as in the more expensive versions. Except there is no navigation, and it is not an option.
Leather and a sunroof are also not available in the CX.
My car also didn’t have steering wheel controls for the stereo, and the sound was just OK.
But there is an option for a better sound system.



As before, the ride is pretty fantastic.
Just a little bit firm, and always smooth and comfortable.

The whole car has a very solid feel to it, no matter how bad the road gets.
A much better experience than the Mazda6 V6 I drove a few weeks ago.


The steering is harder than you would think for a Buick. Or a luxurious car. This is no Lexus in that regard.
Which is a good thing.
It feels great at any speed and really ads a lot to the driving pleasure. This is much more of a driver’s car than most people would think.


Here is the main thing. It feels like some strange experiment: use a rather small engine in a large car. Does it work?
Yes and no.

As in the Malibu, the 2.4 Liter is very quiet. Although, it does get a bit noisy when you really push it. Which you end up doing more in the larger Lacrosse.
But If you just drive rather slowly and cruise most of the time, you won’t be able to tell it is a 4 cylinder.

There is also enough power. Most of the time.
But if you need to get somewhere quickly with more than 2 humans on board, it will struggle a bit.

The main reason for the smaller engine would be price and mileage.
During my week with the 3.6 Liter V6 I got 17 in the city and 27 HWY.
I struggled to reach 19 in the city, and did get 31 HWY with the 2.4 Liter.
So, sure, there is a advantage. But it’s a pretty small one…


The Lacrosse CXS V6 is a great car. My test driver was loaded for a almost $37 000 and it was pretty competitive for what you get.

The base CX with the 2.4 Liter engine starts at about $27 000.
Which is quite a bit of money compared to the competition.
Most cars for that price come with a V6. Although most of them do start at over $30 000. Like the Maxima and Avalon.

Sure, you can now order the better equipped CXL with the small engine. for about $29 000.
But it is about $36 000 loaded .
Which isn’t a big difference with the V6.

I think with the Lacrosse, the way to go is the great 3.6 Liter V6. It fits the car better.
The smaller engine isn’t that much cheaper and uses almost as much gas.

The Lacrosse is a great car, but the smaller engine belongs in the Regal.

Conversation 17 comments

  1. This will never rank as consumer reports best midsize car , as the Nissan Altima does. It can't its still a GM. Style is subjective, but in my opinion, this is a beautiful car, but not prettier than an Altima or Mazda6. Much better than butt ugly accord and toyo camry though.

  2. For me, the center-stack is a bit of a mess. I gained at least 10 IQ points working out how everything worked.

  3. Beige never looks good in any car. Beige cloth is even worse. I still think this car is one of the most attractive sedans available today. But the small wheels don't help. If Buick wants to be a lux brand, they need to BE a luxury brand and think on a higher level than just out-doing a lame Lexus ES. This engine, this interior and these wheels are not the right direction for this car or for Buick.

  4. Vince has confirmed my doubts about the
    4 cylinder LaCrosse.
    Marginal mpg improvement with unfortunate overlap with Regal.
    The overloaded 2.4 cant crack 20 mpg city. Buick should quietly kill the 2.4 LaCrosse and retune the 3.6 for better mpg.

    Keep the least expensive LaCrosse just above the highest end Regal.
    V-6 only, no downgraded rims, no cheaper looking interior trim.

  5. Pongi Bonzi: “This will never rank as consumer reports best midsize car , as the Nissan Altima does.”

    September 2, 2010 9:36 AM said: “It can't its still a GM. For me, the center-stack is a bit of a mess. I gained at least 10 IQ points working out how everything worked.”

    REALITY CHECK::: -So now you have an IQ of 10… Congratulations. Enough of the opinionated, unfounded BS, already! We get it, you’re an ignorant ANTI-GM bigot. Mabey the following FACTS will increase your “Auto IQ” even above 10:
    1- “MOST Dependable Midsize Car” (’09 Buick LaCrosse) –JD Power 2009
    2- “5-star crash rating: front & rear” -Buick Enclave, NHTSA
    3- “IIHS Top Safety Pick” –Buick Enclave
    4- “5-star Frontal Crash Rating; driver & passenger” -NHTSA
    5- “Founders Award for Quality Excellence” (Enclave, LaCrosse, Lucerne) –JDPower
    6- “2009 Mother-Proof Crossover of the year” –MotherProof.com
    7- “5-star Rollover Crash Rating” (Buick Lucerne) -NHTSA
    8- “2009 Best Buy Award” -Consumer Guide
    I’d get into direct comparisons of Chevy to Nissan or Cadillac to Infinity; but I’ve probably already given you too much to comprehend–just on Buick alone! If you ever pass your drivers license test, ask your dad to rent a Cadillac CTS for a day. Mabey the blend of outstanding (GM) ergonamics, exceptional handeling, style, class, and all-out performance will shock you all the way back to reality!

    If it doesn't, don't disdain; ignorance is bliss (which is why you've always been happy to settle for a Nissan!)

  6. As a factory rep who spends most his life cruising down the freeway at 72MPG I gotta tell you, nothing in this price range is as quiet, nothing is as solid, nothing rides as smooth and nothing beats the gas mileage in this size catagory. The fact that most of my clients think it's worth 10 grand more than I paid is just frosting on the cake. Thank god I'm no longer stuck with a thirsty, sloppy, noisy Avalon death-trap. (I traded up to Buick after Toyota's 13th quality-related acceleration death.)

  7. Id rather have the new regal, its cheaper and alot hotter, saw one 2 weeks ago in san diego and was very impressed….

  8. I love the look of this car…it just seems like a lot of weight for a 4 cyl. I could be wrong though

  9. Nissan Altima is a fine car. And when better mid-sizes are built, Buick will build them. Which they did. It's call LaCrosse 4-cylindar.

    TO: "what car by GM was ever rated above a Japanese car? I don't think that ever happened."

    –you really need to read more. I mean Magazines, not blogs. Enclave, LaCrosse, Corvette, Cadillac CTS, are all CONSISTANTLY rated above the Japanese Junk. And don't even get me started on Trucks! Ever notice how GM Ads are DIRECT COMPARISONS to Japanese cars and Toyota/Honda Ads are all "touchy-feely" fluff? Ever wonder WHY???

  10. "what car by GM was ever rated above a Japanese car? I don't think that ever happened."

    Most Japanese brands rank lower than average in just about every survey. Except for Honda and Toyota, none are consistently far above average. Buick and Cadillac typically rank above all of them.

  11. "Buick and Cadillac typically rank above all of them."

    That's because these ratings are based upon initial quality over the first 90 days and these cars have an average buyer well into their 60s, who drive a fraction of what the average driver does. I've had many cars, made by many manufacturers and I drive them all good and hard. The only ones that stand up to my abuse have been the Japanese and German ones. I've had American cars, and every single one of them (I've had Ford and GM) have left me stranded at one point or another. Maybe they have improved their game but they have lost many customers from years of neglect. It's too bad they were all rescued, whether by government or outside money, because they all deserve to sink for pawning their garbage off to us for so many years.

  12. "Buick and Cadillac typically rank above all of them."

    That's because…

    You're so full of it. I've owned 3 construction companies in the last 30 years. (Had part ownership of the first while still in college) We've gone through L OTS of trucks and even more cars. Salespeople who drive them hard on gravel, in job sites, always in a hurry in town & down the freeway. Oh the stories I could tell you about vehicle abuse. When we got rid of a Chevy or Dodge at 400,000 miles it was because it looked like a beat-up piece of crap–NOT because it fell apart. Every few years we'ld try a group of Hondas or Nissans or Toyotas; and they just never held up. We keep meticulus records and I can say for a fact that Toyota's and Hondas don't even begin to hold up under hard use like Dodges, Fords or Chevys. And thats ESPECIALLY true of cars! We never tried VW BMW Jag or Mercedes, so I can't speak on those. But I can say that anybody who says they spend more to maintain a Dodge over 250K then they they do a Toy or Honda is either a lousy record keeper or they're full of $81T.

  13. actually, toyota is the worst ranked on the planet if you take only one fact into consideration….they recalled 12.3 million cars worldwide in 2010. What a garbage company! It's a fact.

  14. "That's because these ratings are based upon initial quality over the first 90 days and these cars have an average buyer well into their 60s, who drive a fraction of what the average driver does. "

    You're so ten years ago. The reality is that Buick and Cadillac score well in reliability as well, which is a three year study. Not just the Initial Quality 90 day study. The CTS and Escalade are Cadillac's bread-n-butter and sell chiefly to customers under the age of fifty.

    Buick, yes. The average age is in the 50s. But so is Lexus, and I've never heard anyone rationalizing why they rank so high.

    Regardless, Buick and Cadillac each rank very high. Other brands with the same sort of demographic don't rank as well.

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