By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.6
Buick's 2013 LaCrosse is intended to bring younger buyers to what has traditionally been seen as a nameplate for more senior folks. Conservatively handsome, well equipped, capable and polished, the car boasts eAssist, an impressive assortment of efficiency-enhancing technologies developed from GM's mild-hybrid system. A more powerful V6 engine is available, but we actually prefer the progressive spirit of the eAssist powertrain, with its 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, small electric "boost" motor and regenerative braking. In a rare win-win, the system improves both fuel economy and performance, and combines with the car's solid look and feel to create a thoroughly credible alternative to the established imports. After getting its eAssist system last year, the LaCrosse rolls into 2013 with only minor changes to trim and option packages.
There are plenty of modestly upscale sedans that offer decent performance with impressive efficiency at a competitive price, but if you are pleasantly surprised to find those qualities from a traditional American brand, the Buick LaCrosse belongs on your short list.
For many up-and-coming car shoppers, the Buick brand, though clearly on the move, is still not an aspirational target, and you might feel more naturally drawn to similar offerings from Lexus, Audi or Acura.
After eAssist's debut last year, 2013 is quiet for the LaCrosse. Option groups are arrayed in five packages now (previously seven), ranging from the base LaCrosse to the Touring package, with Leather, Premium I and Premium II levels filling in. All-wheel drive (AWD) is available on Leather and Premium I trim levels.
Driving Impressions The key point about the 2013 Buick LaCrosse driving experience is how transparent its eAssist system is on the road. A 15-hp electric motor helps the 182-hp 4-cylinder engine during...acceleration. When slowing, the motor flips its function to act as a generator, and it recaptures some of the car's kinetic energy, recharging a lithium-ion battery. The gas engine also shuts down but restarts quickly without the shudder typical of some hybrids. In short, the LaCrosse with eAssist drives absolutely normally. We found the steering precise, the brakes strong, the handling surprisingly agile and eAssist acceleration more than adequate though the engine can get a bit raucous at higher revs. A hill-assist feature prevents rollback during uphill launches with the engine stopped. An entertaining instrument-panel graphic shows electric power flow from the battery to the front wheels when it's being used and back to the battery during deceleration.
A clever and largely transparent marriage of a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, a small electric motor and regenerative braking, the eAssist evolved-mild-hybrid system significantly improves both fuel efficiency and performance without adding a lot of weight or cost.
It shows speed, navigation instructions, audio status (including song titles) and other key information in your line of sight, seemingly out there over the hood, and its brightness and vertical position are easily adjusted. It's one of the best we've seen.
Inside the nicely-crafted cabin warm wood, smoked chrome accents and ice-blue ambient lighting create a comfortable, upscale environment. Complementing the exterior, a smooth-flowing design theme has the instrument panel wrapping into the doors and the high-grade leather has handsome contrasting stitching. All major buttons and controls – including those on the leather-wrapped 3-spoke steering wheel – are conveniently large, well-marked and intuitive to use. Noise levels inside are commendably low and rear-seat space is notably generous.Exterior
Buick's now firmly-established family look gives the 2013 LaCrosse a big waterfall grille, a sculpted side "spear" sweeping from the headlamps to the tail lamps and a roofline that blends gracefully into a short rear deck. Thanks to underbody aero panels and electronically-controlled lower-grille shutters that close at higher speeds, an eAssist LaCrosse has slightly better aerodynamic efficiency than one with the V6 engine.
The LaCrosse's list of standard features is long and comprehensive, including a full-color driver information center, OnStar (with a 6-month subscription), SiriusXM Radio (3-month trial), a manual tilt/telescoping steering wheel, remote keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, 17-inch alloy wheels and both Bluetooth and USB connectivity. Standard safety features include traction and stability control, brake assist and six airbags.
The 2013 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 front-seat passenger), a heated steering wheel, 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.
The eAssist powertrain - a 4-cylinder engine plus a small electric motor/generator to provide both a power boost and regenerative braking - is standard on base LaCrosse and Leather versions. A 303-hp 3.6-liter Flex-Fuel-capable V6 is a no-cost option on those two lower-level packages, and the sole offering on Premium I, Premium II and Touring versions. All-wheel drive is available on Leather and Premium I packages, with the V6 only. All combinations use GM's latest 6-speed automatic transmissions. Though the V6 is stronger, eAssist is frankly more interesting and appealing. It provides a 15-hp on-demand boost to the 182-horsepower 4-cylinder engine. When you're off the throttle, regenerative braking charges the 115-volt lithium-ion battery.
2.4-liter 4-cylinder (with eAssist)
182 horsepower @ 6,700 rpm
172 lb-ft of torque @ 4,900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/36 mpg
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 mpg, 13/19 mpg (E85)
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."
4 people out of 5 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."
9 people out of 15 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 12 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."
5 people out of 7 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."
10 people out of 14 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