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2012 Buick LaCrosse

Overview
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2012 Buick LaCrosse Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 7.2

When Buick's all-new LaCrosse debuted for 2010, it was praised for exterior and interior
design and refinement and has sold well as a result. Now, for the 2012 Buick LaCrosse eAssist, comes the first application of GM's energy-efficient eAssist "mild hybrid" technology as the standard LaCrosse powertrain. Essentially a major upgrade to the system offered in some 2007-09 GM vehicles, eAssist couples a small motor-generator to a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine to provide power assist for launch and acceleration, along with regenerative braking, which morphs the motor into a generator during deceleration to replenish the battery.

You'll Like This Car If...

If a fairly affordable entry-luxury sedan that can hold its own against much pricier imports is what you might like, this stylish and refined American Buick may be the answer.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If GM's once-moribund but fast-rising Buick brand does not ring your chimes, you might prefer a comparably-priced domestic Lincoln or Chrysler, or a Japanese Lexus, Infiniti or Acura.

What's New for 2012

The biggest change in the 2012 LaCrosse is standard eAssist, which marries an 11 Kw (15-hp) electric motor to a 182-hp 2.4-liter Ecotec four driving a six-speed automatic transmission. It's good for a 20-percent improvement in EPA highway fuel economy and an impressive 32-percent boost in city economy over the 2011 four-cylinder LaCrosse. If you prefer horsepower to hybrid power, a lighter and more powerful (than last year) 303-hp 3.6-liter V6 is a no-cost option.

Driving the LaCrosse

Driving Impressions The 2012 Buick LaCrosse eAssist driving experience is essentially transparent. With the addition of electric boost, the LaCrosse accelerates more briskly than the 2011 four-cylinder version, though not as strongly...

as the 303-hp V6 alternative, and it drives absolutely normally. We found the steering precise, the brakes strong, the handling surprisingly agile, and eAssist acceleration more than adequate, even in hard driving, though the engine can get a bit (Buick atypically) raucous at high loads and wide-open throttle. You barely notice the engine shutting down during stops (the tachometer needle drops to an "auto stop" position) or restarting – without the shudder typical of some hybrids – when the brake is released. A hill-assist feature retains brake pressure to prevent rollback during uphill launches with the engine shut down, an ECO gauge helps optimize efficiency, and a central instrument panel graphic shows electric power flow from battery to front wheels during boost and back during deceleration.

eAssist
What's not to like about a mild-hybrid powertrain that dramatically increases fuel efficiency while enhancing performance and pleasability without adding much to the price?

Head-up Display
It displays speed, navigation instructions, audio status (including song names as they begin playing) and other key information out there over the hood in your line of sight, and its brightness and vertical position are easily adjusted. The best we've seen.

2012 Buick LaCrosse Details
Interior

Inside the nicely-crafted cabin, warm wood, smoked chrome accents and ice-blue ambient lighting in the instrument panel, console and door-handle pockets create a comfortable, upscale environment. Complimenting the exterior, the flowing design theme wraps around the instrument panel into the doors, and the high-grade leather has handsome contrasting stitching. All major buttons and controls – including those on the leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel – are conveniently large, well-marked and intuitive to use. Most notable is the LaCrosse interior's almost eerie quiet thanks to Buick's "QuietTuning" process of systematically reducing, blocking and absorbing interior noise.

Exterior

GM previewed its future passenger-car-styling on the 2009 Buick Enclave, a Buick look that continues through the midsize 2011 Regal and the upcoming 2012 Verano compact. On the 2012 Buick LaCrosse, that look features a big, bold waterfall grille, a sculpted side "spear" sweeping from the wraparound headlamp to taillamp design and a roofline that curves gracefully into a short rear deck. Thanks to electronically-controlled lower grille shutters that close at higher speeds to push air over and under the car and strategically-placed underbody aero panels, the eAssist LaCrosse is slightly more aerodynamic over the standard car.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

To keep the starting price down while replacing the previous base four-cylinder with the costlier eAssist propulsion system, a few items that should be standard – remote start, a set of universal home remote buttons – turn up on the options list. That said, a full-color driver information center, OnStar (with a one-year subscription), XM Radio, a manual tilt/telescoping steering wheel, remote keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, 17-inch alloy wheels and both Bluetooth and USB connectivity are standard, plus such important safety features as traction and stability control, brake assist and six airbags.

Optional Equipment

The 2012 Buick LaCrosse's extensive options list includes high-intensity-discharge headlamps, "Side Blind Zone Alert" to help spot vehicles hiding in your blind spots, a (terrific) head-up display, heated and ventilated perforated leather-covered seats, power-adjustable lumbar support for the driver (but not the primary passenger), a heated steering wheel, premium audio, GPS navigation, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, a power rear sunshade and even a 110-volt power outlet for charging your phone or computer. All are available either stand-alone or in packages.

Under the Hood

Standard eAssist (also on the 2012 Buick Regal and coming soon on the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu and other models), provides a 15-hp on-demand boost to the 182-horsepower four and shuts off its fuel during off-throttle coasting and deceleration, yet both engine and motor/generator keep spinning, ready to provide smooth, immediate power when needed. The motor-generator helps bring the engine to a smooth stop when the car stops, then smoothly restarts it when you lift off the brake. When you're off the throttle, regenerative braking charges the 115-volt lithium-ion battery to power the car's electrical systems with recaptured energy instead of fuel. The 303-horsepower direct-injected, DOHC 24-valve 3.6-liter V6 is flex-fuel capable and pleasingly muscular with front-wheel drive or available all-wheel drive. Both drive through GM's latest six-speed automatic transmissions.

2.4-liter four-cylinder (with eAssist)
182 horsepower @ 6,700 rpm
172 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4,900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/37

3.6-liter V6 (Flex-fuel E85 capable)
303 horsepower @ 6,800 rpm
264 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/27

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2012 Buick LaCrosse Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.7
Out of 10

Based on 166 Ratings for the 2010 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.8/10
    Quality
    8.9/10
  • Reliability
    9.1/10
    Performance
    8.8/10
  • Comfort
    9.0/10
    Styling
    9.2/10

Very good, comfortable, quiet

By on Tuesday, June 10, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

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."

13 people out of 24 found this review helpful

Best Car I Ever Drove

By on Sunday, June 01, 2014

I don't own this car

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Ride, Seats, Interior, Exterior"

Cons: "2014 interior seat colors are too dark"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I leased Infiniti's before shopping around this time. Wanted a smooth ride with luxurious interior. Test drove every luxury car out there for 6 months. Happened to stop into Buick because it was right next door to the Cadillac showroom. Drove the LaCrosse and was blown away. Leased it in October 2013 and couldn't be happier. It is pure luxury - smooth, smooth ride, comfortable and roomy seats plus so quiet, I have to check to make sure the car is on. Buick made a slam dunk with this car. Everyone that has been in the car have been so surprised that it is a Buick. People actually stop me in parking lots to comment on the car. I have the dark gray with very light gray (almost white) interior. Hope they bring that interior back again. It's just beautiful. One con I have is the interior colors for the 2014 are too dark. Especially the beige. It's awful."

10 people out of 13 found this review helpful

Good alternative to expensive luxury sedans

By on Saturday, May 24, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 300

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
10/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Quiet, smooth ride, roomy"

Cons: "A little underpowered"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I researched many models before deciding on the LaCrosse. I leased it for 39 months and the incentives made it very attractive. All in, with no downpayment except for my trade (only $800 equity) I pay $359 per month. The car is quiet and the ride is silky smooth. The seats are comfortable, plenty of room, tastefully done interior. It's a real luxury cruiser and doesn't try to be anything but that. This is no sports sedan so don't buy it if that's what you're looking for. It's a little underpowered even with the 3.6L V6 because of its size. The steering is a little loose for my taste and nobody will mistake its handling for an M5. But if you like to ride around in style and comfort but can't afford or don't want to pay for a Caddy, Lincoln, Lexus or MB, give the LaCrosse a look and I'm sure you'll be tempted by the value."

6 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Best value for the money

By on Tuesday, May 20, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Value, appointments, ride and mileage"

Cons: "need to do something with the front end and grille"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I used to drive a Cadillac CTS and a BMW; both were much more expensive than the Buick and neither had the value to price ratio of the Buick. Quality is far great than that of the Cadillac and equal to that of the BMW."

6 people out of 7 found this review helpful

flaws in design

By on Monday, May 05, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,800

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Nice ride"

Cons: "Lack of visability"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"My Lacrosse is good looking on the outside, very nice on the interior. Rides beautifully. My main problem and family members who have driven it is the front, back and side visibility. Blind spots every where. I knew when I purchased the vehicle the back window was very small but didn't realize at the time how much of a hindrance it is as well as the four posts. I would trade it in a minute if I could afford to."

8 people out of 11 found this review helpful

i love driving my car

By on Tuesday, April 29, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,101

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "great price fun to drive"

Cons: "yes there is"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"i've driven allot of cars from different company's, i must say the buick lacroos amazed me the most, really a great car, you don't feel like you are driving a car on a road, even bumpy roads"

6 people out of 8 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?