LaCROSSE STYLES GM’S FUTURE
by Casey Williams
Buick was the cornerstone of General Motors as it was birthed into being by William Durant. Through the past century, the brand has occupied a rung right below Cadillac, offering prestigious luxury and beautiful design with an affordable price tag. As GM went through its little hiccup this year, I kept thinking if the company could just make it until this fall, the world would see the future of GM. Now, it is here. The 2010 LaCrosse will do for Buick what the CTS did for Cadillac.
LaCrosse is one stylish smoothster, ready to take on the best from Asia and Sweden. If the big sedan looks Japanese, you aren’t far off. The car was penned by designers at GM’s studio in Shanghai to be elegant, contemporary, and classically-inspired. A big toothy grille, ventiports on the top of the hood, and sweepspear side sculpting make it clear this is a Buick even if it appears washed in a Zen garden. Nineteen-inch alloy wheels with wide low-profile tires fill the wheelwells beautifully.
It was entertaining watching the looks on peoples’ faces as the LaCrosse slipped by. Their mind obviously registered “Lexus”, but the big grille and styling was clearly Buick. It was as if seeing a car like this from the blue hair group was unimaginable. Imagine it – and enjoy it. It is a stunning design that will influence all Buicks to follow.
LaCrosse’s interior is just as inspiring, taking us back to the days when designers added cool features just for a flash of theatre. Climate, audio, and navigation controls are grouped in a space pod in the center dash. That’s also where you’ll find buttons for the heated and cooled seats, heated steering wheel, and oddly enough, the door locks. Big analog gauges with jeweled lettering and turquoise lighting, separated by an information display, are both modern and classic. Turquoise lighting seeps out from cracks in the dash, doors, and lower console storage areas to bathe the interior in an azure fog.
Friends and family will want to slide in for a night on the town or even a three-day cross-country tour. Either way, the LaCrosse entertains with a Harman/Kardon 384-watt 11-speaker audio system, available XM or Sirius Satellite Radio, Bluetooth connectivity for cell phones, USB port (connects iPODs directly to the car’s controls), and a 120-volt home-style rear seat power plug. Unlike in the Lexus RX, there are also cigarette lighter power outlets. An extra large glass sunroof is perfect for light and leisure. Passive entry, push button starting, back-up camera, and navigation keep drivers as pleased as passengers.
Buick’s days of powering Super models with Cadillac Northstar V8s are over. Base LaCrosse models come with, gasp, a 182 horsepower 2.4-litre four-cylinder that turns in 30-MPG highway. A step up is the 255-HP 3.0-litre V6. Our CXS test car scooted its shapely rump with a 280-HP 3.6-litre V6 connected to a crisp-shifting six-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy for the top rung is rated 17/27-MPG city/hwy.
Most cars will roll out of the factory with front-wheel drive, but AWD is optional with the 3.0-litre V6. No matter which engine you choose, the LaCrosse will drive like no Buick before. That’s not to say the car rides harsh. Our test car rode on the available electronic suspension system with real time damping that allows the chassis to soak up quite-horrible road rash while never losing its composure. Put the car into a corner and its wide print 19” treads grip like Grandpa’s dentures. The car is quiet, poised, and a most-relaxing place to travel.
With its latest generation of vehicles, Buick is driving on new roads. Given Pontiac’s imminent demise, Buick must cover the range from luxury-oriented compacts (coming soon), sport sedans ( you won’t believe the 2011 Regal), crossovers (Enclave still reigns), and full-on luxury sedans like the LaCrosse. At the same time, it must also cope with significantly higher government fuel economy standards and downsize (this is the last year for the Lucerne) without the bad 1980s aftertaste.
Designed in China, and engineered in Germany, the LaCrosse is ready to munch around the world. Who would have thought that the Chinese and Germans could build better Buicks? I just hope they won’t scare the old ladies away.
Get a free gay-friendly insurance quote for a 2010 Buick LaCrosse
Find a Buick dealer near you!
Read other Buick reviews by Gaywheels.com’s writers
Images Courtesy of Buick