2009 Buick Lucerne

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2009 Buick Lucerne Review


With its huge cabin, lavish appointments and potent Super model (that's Buicks name for its high-performance car, not some glamorous crime-fighting superhero), the 2009 Buick Lucerne increases its potential to lure back the coveted import buyer, and more importantly, to attract a younger following. Although not quite an image breaker like the legendary Grand National, the Lucerne is nevertheless changing people's mind about the Buick brand. Gone from the company flagship is the stereotypical cushy ride, soft seats and numb steering, replaced by a Cadillac-derived chassis outfitted with two potent engine options and a sophisticated sense of style. Although classified as a "near-luxury" car, the Lucerne's combination of affordable pricing and rich content offers those considering a Lincoln, Acura or Volvo a legitimate alternative with some serious cost savings.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're a current or former large Buick sedan lover, or have been away from roomy, comfy big American sedans for a while and would like a good reason to return, Lucerne is easily the best full-size Buick ever and one of the best full-size American cars of any brand.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you can't get comfortable with the idea of picking a domestic brand versus a higher-image import, you may not care for the 2009 Buick Lucerne. This cleanly-crafted four-door looks good enough to earn more youthful (read fiftyish) buyers than the previous Park Avenue, but it's still no kids' cool cruiser.

What's New for 2009

Changes for 2009 are plentiful and include a new, 3.9-liter V6 engine on the CX and CXL trims. This engine is FlexFuel capable and provides an additional 30 horsepower and better fuel economy than last year's 3.8-liter V6. Both CX and CXL models receive a host of new standard features. CX trims gain cornering lamps, a six-way power passenger seat and heated side mirrors, while the CXL adds eight-way heated front seats with power lumbar support, a heated leather steering wheel and side mirror turn indicators.

Driving the Lucerne
Driving Impressions

We spent quality time on freeways, around town and on challenging two-lanes in both base V6 and top-line V8 Super Lucernes and found much to like and little to criticize....

... The standard car allows relatively spirited driving (more aggressive than its buyers will likely attempt) with adequate power, good control and solid braking. Only its ultra-light power steering disappointed us, yet it might please typical buyers. The V8-powered Super would be our choice for its full complement of features and outstanding ride and handling – although its magnetic power steering also struck us as a bit light and devoid of feel. Especially impressive were the unusually low noise levels inside both cabins, thanks to Buick's standard QuietTuning.

Magnetic Ride Control (with StabiliTrak and Brake Assist)
Using magnetically charged particles suspended in a synthetic fluid, the Lucerne's shocks continually adjust to varying road surfaces and driving conditions, this remarkable feature responds far faster than conventional valve-damping systems to provide the rare combination of exceptional twisty-road handling and silky smooth highway ride.

Remote Vehicle Start
GM's remote start lets you start the engine and warm or cool the cabin (while the car stays securely locked) well in advance of departing. Once you've tried it you won't want to live without it.

2009 Buick Lucerne Details
2009 Buick Lucerne photo Interior

The Lucerne's 203.2-inch overall length gives Buick engineers plenty of leeway in designing a roomy, spacious interior. Compared with the previous generation Park Avenue known to so many Buick loyalists, the Lucerne offers an inch more rear legroom as well as more supportive seating. This compares well to Chrysler's 300C and Ford's Taurus, and substantially out-spaces Toyota's Avalon and the much pricier Lexus GS. The highly refined interior fits are tight – materials and finishes are premium with excellent attention to detail – and Buick's "QuietTuning" substantially reduces most road, wind and powertrain noise.


The Lucerne has clearly set the styling theme for the next generation of Buick passenger cars. With a shapely new interpretation of the marque's signature waterfall grille between jewel-like projector-beam headlamps, its look is athletic, graceful and upscale American with a touch of Lexus. Twin under-the-bumper front air intakes sport a single horizontal chrome rib apiece, which are echoed by a slim bright accent along the decklid's lower edge. The sleek roofline holds a distinctively-shaped rear pillar. The wheels fill their wells for a muscular stance, and the portholes are set at a slight angle to accentuate the body's wedgy profile.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Lucerne's six standard airbags include side-impact thorax and roof-rail air-curtain bags, a dual-stage driver bag and a GM-patented dual-depth front passenger bag. Also standard are a power driver's and passenger seat, power windows, mirrors and door locks with remote keyless entry, six-speaker AM/FM/CD with auxiliary input jack, XM Satellite Radio, four-spoke tilt steering wheel with speed and audio controls, PASS-Key III theft-deterrent system, 16-inch alloy wheels and tires with tire pressure monitoring, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), traction control, Buick's QuietTuning (which includes laminated steel and laminated windshield and side glass) and GM's OnStar convenience and security system.

Optional Equipment

he mid-range CXL adds automatic climate control, eight way power and heated front seats with power lumbar support, heated leather steering wheel and 17-inch wheels. The Super boasts the Northstar V8, 18-inch wheels and tires, Magnetic Ride Control with StabiliTrak, rain-sensing wipers, heated windshield wiper fluid, heated and cooled front seats and rear park assist. Beyond the trim-level equipment, stand alone options include heated/cooled eight-way adjustable power front seats, harman/kardon audio, a Driver Confidence Package with ultrasonic rear park assist and heated windshield washer fluid (standard on Super), six-passenger seating (with a 40/20/40 split front seat), power sunroof, touch-screen navigation and Side Blind Zone Alert and Land Departure Warning (available in conjunction with the Driver's Confidence package.

Under the Hood

GM's revised 3.9-liter overhead-valve V6 provides an acceptable balance between power and fuel economy, while its FlexFuel component allows the engine use E85, a blend of gasoline and ethanol. In a rare appearance outside of a Cadillac, the smooth and powerful 292-horsepower dual-overhead cam Northstar V8 offers substantially stronger performance at a one- to two-mile-per-gallon sacrifice in fuel economy. The standard four-speed automatic could use another ratio or two to better compete with the five- and six-speed automatics found in upper-level imports and some domestics.

3.9-liter V6
227 horsepower @ 5700 rpm
237 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/26 (gas), 13/20 (E85)

4.6-liter V8 (Exclusive to Super)
292 horsepower @ 6300 rpm
288 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/22

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

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