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)
The 2013 Buick LaCrosse has a starting Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of around $32,500, including destination, with either the fuel-efficient eAssist "mild hybrid" 4-cylinder/electric motor system or the more powerful but less fuel-efficient V6. That compares to around $33,500 for a 2013 Audi A4 and near $37,000 for a Lexus ES 350. The LaCrosse eAssist also offers better fuel economy and is EPA-rated at 25 mpg city, 36 highway, compared to 24/31 for the Audi A4 and 21/31 for the Lexus ES350. (The full-hybrid Lexus ES300h is rated at 40/39 but with a price near $40,000.) The Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price lists an actual transaction price within roughly $1,000 of MSRP. Resale data is not yet available for the 2013 Lacrosse, but the 2012 model was projected to retain only about 33 percent of its value after five years.
By Kim on Monday, September 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "Ok ride. Looks so-so."
Cons: "Massive depreciation."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"We got this car when it was a year old, clean title and service records looked good. Except the owner didn't share that it had been to the dealer for numerous electrical glitches. The ride is good, but a little mushy. The handling is predictable for what it is, but Buick is basically aimed at the elderly market for trips to church and to the diner for the early-bird special so it's not something you can sling around curves with confidence. The center console is way too tall and intrudes on cabin room. It's like the driver and passenger are in separate "pods". The front end styling is homely, with a "face" only a mother could love, the "ports" on the fenders are ridiculous. The "A" pillar is way too thick and blocks your vision. Road noise is higher than expected from a pseudo-luxury car, a tire change to premium Michelins helped a little. The 6-cylinder is noisy under even moderate acceleration. It does shift smoothly. The amenities such as heated seats, steering wheel etc. are nice but pretty much standard industry-wide at this market level so they don't stand out; they're expected. Depreciation is horrible, at the 4 year mark resale was about 1/3 of dealer-invoice price. We paid slightly below Kelley Blue Book price in early 2012 and the book value is down almost $9000 since then. I don't think we've got the value I was expecting. I know cars are a losing proposition any way you look at it, but this one in particular has been a financial drain. Of course, your mileage may vary, as they say. Just my opinion based on ownership."
4 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By kash on Thursday, September 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 47,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great price for all you get in a luxury car."
Cons: "Quality of interior material"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Very comfortable and quiet ride. Picks up speed very quickly. Great road handling at high speed. Love the ride."
7 people out of 14 found this review helpful
By Connie on Thursday, August 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,700overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Everything about the car."
Cons: "No cons."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"The Buick Lacrosse is an excellent car. Its performance is top of the line. Design of interior is beautiful. I love this car!!!!!"
4 people out of 7 found this review helpful