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2012 Buick LaCrosse

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2012 Buick LaCrosse Review

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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
8.6
Out of 10

Based on 221 Ratings for the 2010 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.6/10
    Quality
    8.9/10
  • Reliability
    9.1/10
    Performance
    8.8/10
  • Comfort
    8.9/10
    Styling
    9.1/10

Great Ride with comfort and performance!

By on Saturday, June 18, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000

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
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Good pricing, handling and luxe interior."

Cons: "The center console is hard to access due to lid."

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

"I've had my '14 Leather AWD for 20 months and remain impressed with the ride, performance and technology. Being 68, I've had my share of autos, a mix of luxury and performance nameplates. This car is solidly in my Top 10."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

My Dream Car

By on Sunday, April 17, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Sporty and Luxurious"

Cons: "Chrome wheels not avail"

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

"The LaCrosse my perfect car in this price range. I also looked at Lincoln, Toyota, Lexus, Infinity, but I was smitten as soon as I saw the LaCrosse. I do have the top of the line Touring model, so I cannot think of any options I wish I had. The car drives like a dream, minimal road noise after 30K miles, no maintenance or repairs needed except oil changes. I would recommend the Buick LaCrosse to anyone looking for comfortable,and luxurious 4 door sedan. The back seat is very roomy, fits 3 avg size adults very comfortably. My car is red and I have never had more compliments on a car. I am over 60, so I have owned a few in my day. I have the "Heads Up"Display and Blind Spot warning, now I can't lie without these two features. LOVE!!"

10 people out of 12 found this review helpful

looks impressive both inside and out.

By on Monday, April 4, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,500

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "surprized with the comfort, quality and room"

Cons: "needs a passenger lumbar standard equipment!"

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

"I can't honestly give it any reviews at this time since I only bought it 4 days ago. everything I saw on the premium 3 model is super except there is no lumbar on the passenger seat!!!! what's with that GM? do you think only driver's have back issues? other than the lumbar issue, it appears to me that I'll be keeping this vehicle a long time."

One Drawback: User Unfriendly Navigation System

By on Wednesday, March 23, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 550

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Pleasant interior. Adjustable front passenger seat"

Cons: "Navigation system design failure noted"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"The instructions for personalizing the navigation system do not fully explain how to initialize or amend the "Contacts" listing, to enable a spoken instruction to direct the driver to a previously entered location. While the GM tech support investigated the new system's operation, and informed me of the way to enter contacts, it proved impossible to use any one word identification. Thus, for example, "Costco" has to become "Costco Warehouse." But it must be entered as "Warehouse" (first name) "Costco" (last name), or else the alphabetical listing would place the listing in the W section. This is because the designers of the system assumed that every entry would have a first and last name, and that every user would think along those lines. It's impossible to list, "Market" "Doctor" "Hospital" "Mother" or any other one word entry as a contact. That design anomaly ought to be considered, if you plan to use the navigation feature. Otherwise, it has proven itself a very nice auto."

8 people out of 16 found this review helpful

Amazing value for a nicely equipped premium sedan

By on Monday, February 8, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,500

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
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Refined V6, gobs of technology, quiet and safe"

Cons: "Large A and C pillars, Fuel Economy of the V6"

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

"I upgraded from a 2.5L 2014 Chevrolet Impala to the LaCrosse (I loved the size and relatively good handling of this GM platform). The 3.6 V6 is refined and powerful while typically making itself unheard in the background. Fuel economy is just so-so, but I did manage a respectable 28 MPG on a long trip recently - which for a 2 ton vehicle isn't too shabby. I did find the interior lacking a little storage space as compared to the Impala (the display screen rising up making a cubby area is missed), but the plushness of the interior and all the tech features makes up for it. The Heads-Up Display is fantastic and certainly helps keeping eyes on the road. Posting your current speed along with the speed limit is brilliant. The Bose Centerpoint audio with Apple CarPlay and Siri integration is fantastic and makes driving and listening to your favorite tunes a snap. I have the optional GM Navigation but find CarPlay generally superior unless cell reception is poor. I have only one gripe with regards to safety which other reviewers have touched on. The A pillars are enormous and hinder visibility somewhat. Likewise, the rear visibility is poor (as it was in the Impala) - but the safety technology certainly helps in this regard. I'm sure the next LaCrosse will address those issues but it wasn't a deal-breaker for me. Overall, I couldn't be happier with my first premium sedan purchase and feel pampered every time I drive this car. It's amazingly quiet on the inside and it soaks up interstate roads with ease - but you don't feel tired after hours behind the wheel. Buick really did an exceptional job on this vehicle."

7 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Excellent Car but....

By on Tuesday, December 1, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "beautiful drive, fun, sexy, sleek, AC OUTLET!"

Cons: "Radio system, air vents blow into mic for phone"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"love love love this car! Owner of a new 2014 Buick la Crosse. For the life of me i cannot understand how they designed the air vents on the dash to be positioned directly under the mic for the On Star Phone system. Whenever i have my cellphone connected via Bluetooth to my car, people always say it sounds like I am in a wind tunnel; especially if the air or heat is on! I have to cover my air vents with my coat or paper in order for them to hear me clear.... The audio system is definitely low ranking for the price of the car. However, the luxury and drive and outside design makes up for that. AND AC OUTLET IN CAR!"

11 people out of 24 found this review helpful

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