By KBB.com Editors
As the first masterpiece ushered in by Buick's renaissance, the 2011 Buick LaCrosse has proven itself more than just another pretty face; it is a bona fide driver's car, solidly built and with a style all its own. The new look of Buick actually began with the Enclave CUV, and while the LaCrosse is the first car to wear Buick's new duds, it's certainly not the last. The new Regal looks like the LaCrosse's miniature clone, and soon the 2012 Verano will arrive sporting similar, if not smaller, proportions. From its distinctive grille to the elongated "V" shaped crease running along the car's sides (an homage to the great Buick cars of the '50s, '60s and '70s), the 2011 LaCrosse truly impresses, especially when compared to other premium-leaning sedans such as the Lincoln MKZ, Hyundai Genesis and Lexus ES 350. And, while it may take the Buick brand a few more years to recapture the hearts of younger Americans, the company now has the tools in its toolbox to pull it off.
If you're looking for a premium mid-size sedan with a unique look and a great American name, the Buick LaCrosse has all the right ingredients for just such a car.
While the LaCrosse is certainly attractive, the Buick name is not as well received by younger audiences who still seem to gravitate toward Lexus, BMW and now even Hyundai. The LaCrosse's lack of a V8 engine option might dissuade some buyers.
A 2.4-liter Ecotec engine is now standard on front-drive CX and CXL trims, and includes a new variable-ratio electric power steering unit.
Driving Impressions Those seeking a comfortable turnpike cruiser that can also serve as a daily driver will find much to like in the 2011 Buick LaCrosse. As expected of any car...bearing the Buick nameplate, the LaCrosse is exceptionally smooth riding and has a whisper-quiet interior. Yet, this is no Electra, displaying surprisingly eager driving dynamics that makes cars such as the Lexus ES 350 feel a bit old fashioned. Unlike some of its competitors, those wanting added all-weather on-road security can opt for all-wheel drive on the mid-level CXL trim with the 3.6-liter engine. While the 2.4-liter engine performs quietly and without fuss, it really is underpowered in this segment. The engine of choice is the lovely 3.6-liter V6 which pumps out 280 horsepower, yet, thanks in part to the six-speed automatic transmission, returns impressively good highway fuel economy.
Even with the front seats moved as far back as possible, rear-seat passengers still have enough legroom to sit comfortably, no matter the length of the trip.
CXS Ice-Blue Interior Lighting
When the sun goes down, the interior of the LaCrosse is bathed in a soft blue light, emanating subtly from multiple points inside the vehicle. This "mood lighting" is a nice touch that adds to the sedan's premium feel.
Very few cars marry their interior and exterior styling into a single theme, but the 2011 Buick LaCrosse could be the poster child for just such an exercise. Flowing lines seem to pour from the dash, door panels and center console, all converging seamlessly to form an almost organic interior. Soft touch surface abound and the LaCrosse's button and switches operate with a substantial, weighted feel that reinforces the impression of solidity and craftsmanship. The seating provides ample room front and rear, and the seats themselves are nicely padded with good support for the lower back and thighs. If there is one area that could use improvement, it's in the LaCrosse's cargo hold. Although the LaCrosse's trunk itself is generous, the trunk lid supports located on either side eat up considerable real estate.Exterior
In the tradition of great Buicks before it, the 2011 Buick LaCrosse displays an iconic waterfall grille and signature portholes (again, a design element that dates back decades), only this time the little circles are placed on top of the hood, not on the side fenders. The LaCrosse's high beltine features a dramatic styling element – known as "sweep spear" in Buick parlance - that extends from the front of the vehicle to the rear. In keeping with the LaCrosse's smooth, unbroken lines, Buick runs the exhaust tips through the rear fascia instead of under it. Available 19-inch alloy wheels enhance the LaCrosse's aggressive good looks.
A 2011 Buick LaCrosse CX comes equipped with a 2.4-liter in-line four cylinder Ecotec engine, six-speed automatic transmission, eight-way adjustable power driver's seat, OnStar, automatic air conditioning and 17-inch alloy wheels. Moving up to CXL territory adds halogen fog lamps, 18-inch wheels, dual zone automatic air conditioning, auto-dimming rear mirror, universal home remote and leather seating. The top-of-the-line CXS is additionally outfitted with a 3.6-liter V6, 18-inch chrome wheels, heated and cooled front seats and a harmon/kardon 11-speaker sound system with USB port.
Looking to outfit your 2011 LaCrosse in every techie extra it offers? Then opt for Bluetooth, the harmon/kardon sound system, rear park assist, navigation, head-up display and the rear seat entertainment system with noise-cancelling headphones. If comfort is more important to you, add the heated and ventilated front seats, four-way driver's lumbar support, dual-zone climate control, heated and power-folding side mirrors and keyless start. And if you want the LaCrosse to look and behave a bit sportier on the road, add the xenon headlights, rear h-arm suspension, 19-inch all-season tires and chassis with continuously variable real time damping and sport mode selectivity. The 3.6-liter V6 is available on both the CX and CXL trims.
Motivation for the 2011 Buick LaCrosse comes from a 2.4-liter in-line four- cylinder engine which comes standard on the CX and CXL trim. If a low purchase price and good fuel economy are your primary concern, this is the best powerplant for the LaCrosse. However, if superior passing power or all-wheel drive traction are what you seek, then the 3.6-liter V6 is the only way to go. Both engines employ direct injection and are mated to six-speed automatic transmissions to help maximize fuel economy.
2.4-liter in-line four
182 horsepower @ 6700 rpm
172 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/30
280 horsepower @ 6300 rpm
259 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/27 (FWD), 16/26 (AWD)
By Florida (FL) on Friday, May 17, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,800overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Luxury, great engine, technology equipped"
Cons: "Poor lateral visibility"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"The 2011 Lacrosse CXS has everything you need. It's one of the smoothest rides I've ever had and the HUD technology experience brings the driver to a totally different level!"
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By LeSabre81 (RI) on Sunday, April 28, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,900overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "Price/Lease, Fun to drive, Comfortable"
Cons: "City MPG, Quality, Storage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"The car itself is sub par. In looks and features it's packed for the price, however the quality is not there. After 9 months and almost 7900 miles on it there are so many squeaks and rattles that according to the dealer "doesn't effect the driveabillity of the car. So its something WE just have to live with" I'm thinking really? I could have saved $10,000 and got a foreign make but Ive always had and loved a GM vehicle. Maybe its just my car as I have a few (4) friends with the same car with various "packages" and they have been "good" so far. As far as driving goes the car is comfortable and fun to drive, however seem sluggish at times or like the transmission isn't quite sure what gear it wants."
4 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By VetteDriver (KS) on Thursday, March 14, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great styling, rich interior, excellent quality."
Cons: "Terrible driveability, 5,000 rpm shifts, gas hog."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"My first review of the 2012 Lacrosse was all great at one month of ownership. But I soon noticed the gas mileage was terrible and no where Buick's rating. At 4,ooo miles the break-in period is over and the noticeable defect in this car is glaring! The transmission is set to shift at over 4,000 rpm. When accelerating on highways the shift points are at 5,000 rpm and over. The car practically redlines at every shift until you reach cruising speed. Not only is this very disappointing, crashes the gas mileage, and adds to engine wear, it becomes very uncomfortable to your senses. The V-6 engine has more than enough power to shift like a "normal" car but I found Buick has done this on purpose. They call this normal! Their customer service line blew me off when I complained about this situation. They acted like it was the very first complaint they have received about this. A quick search on-line finds many complaints about this high shift situation. A new program to re-set shift points is all it would take to stop the growing complaints, but Buick is ignoring the problem. After two months of driving this car I can't wait to get rid of it and back to a "normal" driving car. All the other amenities it offers are negated by this problem. Too bad Buick!"
25 people out of 28 found this review helpful
By Stew (CA) on Friday, February 22, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Needs more in-cabin storage for incidentals, my only complaint. At 70 MPH is getting almost 30 MPG, in-town not so hot, maybe 18 - 20. First Buick ever, I have owned over 60 cars. Nice styling too."
7 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Gpop (AZ) on Friday, January 11, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Feels good on the road. Little choppy in town."
Cons: "Limited front passenger storage."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I like the car. Good feel and power. Only negative is the rear window and pillars. Very difficult to see side view when backing up. Narrow line of site."
22 people out of 23 found this review helpful
By norky (NC) on Saturday, January 05, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"We love the back-up camera, it has saved us from a few accidents with civilians/inanimate objects. Plus the radar alerts for blind spots in side mirrors."
16 people out of 16 found this review helpful