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 Kelly on Saturday, August 16, 2014
I owned and sold this car
Reason: windows/poor visibility
Pros: "beautiful styling, good ride"
Cons: "poor visibility and not enough storage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Such a beautiful car but because of the poor overall visibility of small and blocked windows I felt the need to sell my Buick LaCross. For me it was dangerous to back out of a parking spot and my son who also drove this Buick on occasion also agreed."
3 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By meadowsfab7 on Friday, August 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 39,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Very nice looking car since re-styling 2011."
Cons: "Reliability is unpredicible"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"I bought this car brand new in 2011. I also purchased the CSX which is top of the line. So far, I have been very disappointed in the quality and reliability of this car. Since ownership, I have had 4 major issues with the vehicle. This ranges from timing chain leaks, electronic key fob losing it memory and connection to the car, feathering cracks appearing in the windshield and tire monitoring system just starting giving bogus data. Fortunately all repairs were covered by the factory warranty but I fear what will happen when it runs out."
By i'm sold on Sunday, July 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 32,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great hiway gas milage, remote start very handy"
Cons: "See review above."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This car is on of the best I have owned. My first GM product and I am extremely happy with it. Two things I would change: 1) Add tinted windows, 2) replace the low profile tires with a higher profile for a better ride."
9 people out of 18 found this review helpful
By Matt P. on Thursday, July 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Love to drive, handles well, very comfortable"
Cons: "Has some odd blind spots"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I've really enjoyed this car so far. It's so comfortable to travel in. I've really enjoyed the infotainment system, it's great if you're traveling long distances. The driver's seat is the most comfortable of any car I've ever owned. I recently took a trip with family and my sister, who usually gets car sick in the back seat, said that she didn't have any sickness in this car. I think that has to do with how well it rides. This car has the first back up camera I've ever had in a car, parallel parking is so much easier than other cars I've owned. I've been impressed with how well this car handles on curves, especially when navigating the canyons in Utah. The 3.6 liter engine has plenty of power and then some. The gas milage isn't bad, on the highway I get an average of 28 mpg, around town 22 mpg. There are some blind spots on this vehicle that you have to get used too. The model I bought has vehicle detection, that helps, but I have to turn my mirrors out more than I'm used to to help minimize blind spots. The frame on either side of the windshield takes some getting used to as well. Over all I'm very happy with the car and really like the way it looks. I think Buick hit a home run on the styling."
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By thatsnotabuick on Saturday, July 12, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 43,200overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have had the 2011 Lacrosse for 3 years and it is a great car. Runs great and very smooth on the highway. The only difficulty I have with the vehicle is that visibility out the front of the vehicle is unusually cluttered by the large side mirrors and roof supports. Makes for some tricky intersections at times."
4 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By lg on Tuesday, June 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive and very proud of the good looks."
Cons: "no cons thus far."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This car has to be one of the best if not the best I have ever owned. MPG overall at least 30 and have gotten ss high as 40 MPG, very pleasing."
16 people out of 27 found this review helpful