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.
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 Bill on Monday, March 09, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 119,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Love the look, drive feel."
Cons: "Blind spots. Will get lane sensor options next."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I get a replacement company car every 3-5 years. This 2010 Lacrosse (100% loaded) is now in month 62 and I have to trade in. Having a hard time finding anything near what I want at the same price. Major problems have been the 19" wheels. Destroyed about six on potholes. Air pressure sensors have been faulty. Cannot use Sun roof or shade since it will lock up in open and require a quick trip to dealer. (Relay issue.) Closest dealer not really sympathetic with issues. Original dealer too far but service there is 100%. (Had to be shipped in from another State to get what I wanted. Will never buy car off the lot if I have to give up a color or option."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By ColumbiaResident on Friday, February 20, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "good mileage and pickup in spite of small engine."
Cons: "Entertainment system is a disaster."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"This revises my earlier review from November 2011. I still like the car, but I find the entertainment system such a disaster that it takes a lot away from the car. Its reliable, still gets close to 30 mpg and the E-assist is worth it. But the GPS is sometimes hard to follow - I have made wrong turns sometime which never happened in an earlier GPS and the entertainment system is terrible. Whenever I hang up a cell phone call (via bluetooth) it turns the GPS on. Whenever I turn on the GPS it automatically turns on the radio (which I didn't ask for). It constantly erases my ipod setting which I connect to the car via the USB port. Most cars drive well today. For my next car I will thoroughly test the entertainment system first and if Buick doesn't do it right by then they are out of the running."
7 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By dlea on Monday, February 16, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,850overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Pros: "Terrible price"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"By the amount shown on Kelly Blue Book, I did not get a good deal on this car and feel I was lured into the place and told I would get a good deal but I see I am paying way more than it is worth and that makes me angry. I have no idea what I am going to do."
5 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By maz3338 on Saturday, February 14, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "comfort, MPG, and space/size."
Cons: "lack of power/accelaration."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I own the E-Assist version. and just love the ride and luxury feel. very spacious, great MPG yet no compromise on size or options. much smoother start/stop technology (unnoticeable) when compared to other brands technology (i.e. BMW). if you are looking for power and accelaration, that's not your car (the E-Assist) you better off with the 6 cylinder version. but if you want to combine everything else, including comfort, space, luxurious feel and look, with great MPG for this size vehicle) then this is your car."
4 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By mike on Saturday, February 07, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great price (but not sure of the reason), many acc"
Cons: "Best gas milage was 23 mpg driving on ONLY a highw"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"The car pulls to the left. I bought the car as is because it was a lemon of some sort. So, even though it is loaded with accessories, I got it at a lower price because someone had returned the car."
9 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By Shawn on Friday, February 06, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 83,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "Body style"
Cons: "All Mechanical items."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Upon reaching 70,000 miles my GM Buick LaCrosse continues to have mechanical issues. I have replace 2 wheel bearings, timing chain, water pump and today I found out the catalytic converter needs to be replaced. The roof lining vibrates and should be replaced. I contacted GM and customer support will not support the repairs totaling more than $4,000. I was a GM owner for years, but will never buy a GM product again due this experience."
11 people out of 14 found this review helpful