GM’s old balmy hybrids, such as the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid, delivered all the blatant amalgam badges after the big fuel-economy gains. This time around, things are different.
The 2013 Buick LaCrosse eAssist offers a adequate ride and an agreeable autogenous with humble fuel-saving technology.
As in 2012, the 2013 Buick LaCrosse comes with a accepted electric-motor-assisted eAssist four-cylinder agent or an alternative V-6 engine; I activated the eAssist. The alone above change this year is that Buick’s IntelliLink multimedia arrangement is now standard. Compare the 2012 and 2013 versions here.
Buick’s better auto competes in the near-luxury body-type segment, a bound acreage that includes the mainstream Volkswagen Passat and the flush Lexus ES 300h. The Passat comes in five- and six-cylinder gas and four-cylinder agent trims; the ES 300h is a four-cylinder hybrid. Compare all three sedans here.
The LaCrosse’s best absorbing detail is accessible to miss: Its mild-hybrid powertrain is so seamless, you almost faculty it working. The arrangement conserves ammunition with a aggregate of adorning braking, electric abetment during dispatch and a stop-start function.
It’s all to acceptable effect: The car is both decidedly almighty and efficient. It acquainted stronger than expected, abnormally in a car that weighs abutting to 4,000 pounds. The powertrain confused the LaCrosse after a botheration and never acquainted lacking, acknowledgment to an abetment from a lithium-ion array backpack and a 15-kilowatt electric motor. The motor combines with the 2.4-liter four-cylinder agent for 182 application total. The LaCrosse eAssist is EPA rated at 25/36 mpg city/highway, compared with the two-wheel-drive V-6’s 17/27 mpg (all-wheel drive is a V-6-only option, rated 17/25 mpg).
The Lexus ES 300h, however, delivers 40/39 mpg from its amalgam system, which combines an electric motor with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder for a absolute of 200 hp. Additionally added absorbing is the Volkswagen Passat TDI’s 31/43 mpg rating, adulation of its acceptable 2.0-liter agent four-cylinder. Though it alone makes 140 hp, 236 pounds-feet of torque at 1,750 rpm accomplish it active from a stop and able on the highway.
Power commitment in the LaCrosse is smooth, and accouterment about boondocks are well-timed, but the six-speed automatic’s downshifts assume a bit delayed on the highway. At canoeing speeds, the LaCrosse has absorbing alley isolation, authoritative for a pillowy ride and a hushed interior. You pay for the adjustable ride in the administration department, however; it’s by no agency an active car. The sedan’s abounding backpack is acquainted active through corners.
The Buick LaCrosse earns addition point in the clarification cavalcade for its automated stop/start engine. In fact, it’s smoother than abounding agnate Mercedes-Benz and BMW systems, which can complete harsher and feel added abrupt. The LaCrosse’s transitions were almost apparent by comparison.
The adorning braking arrangement will accord drivers pause, however. The brakes accept a non-linear activity and a stiff, brick-like feel. The acknowledgment is doughy initially, again lurchy against the end of the stop; it makes for an all-embracing aberrant sensation.
The Buick LaCrosse may attempt in the near-luxury class, but there’s annihilation aloof “near” about the affluence of its interior. The top-of-the-line berth is abundantly appointed with copse and chrome trim, and the seats are admiring and cushy. It has the chic attending and feel of a added big-ticket vehicle, all the way up to the Touring trim level, with the absorption to detail you’d apprehend from a Lexus.
My analysis car had covering seats and surfaces and a leather-wrapped council wheel, which are accepted on all but the Buick LaCrosse abject model, and the abstracts acquainted affluent — alike the bedlam plastic. Blue ambient lighting and contrast-color bond tie the cabin’s architecture together.
The anew accepted IntelliLink multimedia arrangement is refreshingly intuitive, and its ample touch-screen buttons accept a quick acknowledgment time. If that’s not your style, you can use the centermost punch and acceptable push-buttons instead. Setting the radio presets was a no-brainer, as was bond and abutting my buzz with Bluetooth and ablution the Pandora internet radio app. Navigation is an $895 advantage accessible on all but the abject model; it’s a $2,625 advantage on the ES 300h and an added $1,660 on abject Passat TDIs. It’s accepted on the uplevel adaptation of the Passat TDI.
The Buick LaCrosse Premium’s curved, twin-cockpit bureaucracy makes the berth attending and feel expansive, and I had affluence of head- and legroom in front. Although the LaCrosse is the longest auto of the three, it offers hardly beneath advanced allowance than the VW. The Buick is roomier than both in back, however, with 40.5 inches of legroom, compared with the Passat’s 39.1 inches and the ES 300h’s 40 inches.
Low-cut aperture openings beggarly taller cartage will accept to stoop to get in the back. Once there, the additional row is ample abundant for two adults, but the average bench is kid-only territory. The advanced cabin’s centermost animate eats up knee space, and a aerial attic bulge steals bottom space. Add a annealed beanbag and you accept the atomic adequate bench in the house.
The LaCrosse’s block amplitude additionally disappoints. Sixty percent of the backseat folds, but the aperture is alone a attenuated pass-through. The array blocks best of it, bistro up a appropriate allotment of the trunk’s burden space. EAssist versions accept aloof 10.9 cubic anxiety of block amplitude (2.4 cubic anxiety beneath than V-6 models), which trails the ES 300h’s 12.1 and the Passat’s 15.9 cubic feet. Autogenous accumulator is additionally lacking: The centermost animate is abate than you’d apprehend in a auto this size, and the tiny aperture pockets are about useless.
The National Artery Traffic Assurance Administration gave the Buick LaCrosse an all-embracing account of bristles stars. In Insurance Institute for Artery Assurance testing, the LaCrosse has accustomed the agency’s accomplished rating, Good, in all areas of testing appropriately far. (The new baby overlap advanced analysis has not yet been conducted.)
GM’s OnStar assurance advice arrangement is accepted with six months of chargeless service, as are six airbags: advanced and side-impact airbags for the advanced seats and two ancillary dark airbags that awning both rows. Seat-mounted rear ancillary airbags are a $350 advantage beyond the lineup. Other accessible assurance appearance accommodate a dark atom admonishing arrangement and adaptive auto-dimming cornering headlights that automatically hinge to brighten accessible curves aback you about-face the council wheel.
Visibility advanced and aback is partially blocked due to the sedan’s angled roofline and its aerial belt band (with consistent abbreviate windows). The LaCrosse’s ancillary mirrors are additionally a bit small. The reverse-sensing arrangement with advancement camera helps, and it’s accepted on all but the abject model. A camera is accepted alone on college Passat trim levels, and it’s a $740 advantage on the ES 300h. Click actuality for a abounding account of assurance appearance and actuality for our Car Bench Check.
The 2013 Buick LaCrosse starts at $32,555 (all prices accommodate destination charges) and is accessible in base, Leather, Premium 1 and Premium 2 trims; the eAssist powertrain can be had alone on abject and Covering trims. My Covering trim analysis car started at $34,765 and was well-equipped with standards like acrimonious covering seats, the IntelliLink multimedia system, keyless entry, alien start, a advancement camera with esplanade abetment and ability advanced seats with lumbar acclimation and memory.
The LaCrosse splits the aberration amid the Volkswagen Passat TDI ($27,020) and Lexus ES 300h ($39,745). Covering seats on an ES 300h will amount an added $1,370, and it will booty addition $440 to get them heated. Acrimonious covering seats are accepted on uplevel versions of the Passat.
The amount baton is acutely the Passat, but agent ability doesn’t address to everyone. The fuel-economy champ is the ES 300h, but its college sticker and abridgement of accepted accessories beggarly prices can bound escalate. Again, the LaCrosse splits the difference, abstraction out a alcove as a comfortable, able and almost affordable sedan.
I accumulate advancing aback to the chat “pleasant” to call the LaCrosse. That may complete boring, but actuality it’s not. Pleasant is what this cast strives for and what Buick’s barter appetite — both its traditional, comfort-seeking consumers and a new set of shoppers attractive for a stylish, adequate and fuel-efficient sedan. The LaCrosse eAssist delivers in all three areas.