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- Highs Traditional plush interior, comfortable ride, comprehensive suite of technology features.
- Lows Lack of driver engagement, awkward center console storage, old-school boulevard ride.
- Verdict The 2018 Buick LaCrosse is a good choice for those seeking near-luxury in a traditional package, although the overly soft ride might not appeal to some buyers.
Old-school Buick luxury isn’t evident in every vehicle bearing the tri-shield badge, but, for better or worse, the LaCrosse has it in abundance. Its plush ride, heavily cushioned seats, and spacious interior provide plenty of comfort, but its run-of-the-mill driving dynamics play to its role as the near-luxury sedan of choice for the uninvolved driver. Technology offerings are comprehensive, and active-safety gear makes a strong showing here, too. The LaCrosse is a handsomely styled large sedan with a capacious cabin and a long list of features, but it’s that old-school Buick softness that may keep it off some shopping lists.
What's New for 2018?
Changes to the LaCrosse for 2018 create new bookends to the lineup. The eAssist mild-hybrid powertrain—consisting of a 2.5-liter inline-four paired with an electric motor—joins the roster as the base engine option and boosts fuel efficiency while delivering a combined 194 hp. On the other end of the spectrum, the new range-topping Avenir trim adds visual flourishes to the LaCrosse’s interior and exterior. A new nine-speed automatic transmission replaces the old eight-speed unit but is exclusive to V-6–powered models. All-wheel drive is still available, and it now can be ordered on the midrange Essence model in addition to the Premium and Avenir. Three new colors—Satin Steel Metallic, Dark Slate Metallic, and Red Quartz Tintcoat—join the party.
- Base: $30,490
- Preferred: $34,595
- Essence: $37,295
- Premium: $39,595
- Avenir: $45,795
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Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The availability of two different powertrains allows buyers to choose either powerful V-6 gusto or fuel-sipping hybrid economy. The LaCrosse’s electronic shift lever is among the least intuitive we’ve ever tested, although we expect that most owners would become accustomed to it over time. All new for 2018 is the eAssist hybrid. Serving as the entry-level powertrain, the eAssist setup consists of a 2.5-liter inline-four and an electric motor that combine to produce 194 hp and are coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission. The electric-assisted powertrain works seamlessly and delivers good fuel economy but at a cost to performance. For more zip, opt for the V-6, which comes mated to the new nine-speed automatic transmission. The LaCrosse is quick enough and surprisingly agile yet still tuned for comfort when equipped with either the base or optional adaptive suspension. The downside is numb steering and a lack of connection between the driver and the road. Braking performance is more than adequate, however. For a large near-luxury sedan, the LaCrosse provides a decent measure of handling prowess. But not to worry, its ride is pillowy, as is long-haul comfort—providing you resist the optional 20-inch wheels and tires. If you do opt for the 20-inchers, you’ll also receive an adaptive suspension system that introduces an extra level of athleticism. The tradeoff is a harsher ride, but much to our delight we found the LaCrosse with the adaptive suspension to be a willing partner on twisty back roads in a way that belies the brand’s reputation for floaty, barge-like sedans.
EPA fuel economy testing and reporting procedures have changed over time. For the latest and most accurate fuel economy numbers on current and older vehicles, we use the U.S. Department of Energy's fueleconomy.gov website. Under the heading "Find & Compare Cars" click on the "Compare Side-by-Side" tool to find the EPA ratings for the make, model, and year you're interested in.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The interior of the LaCrosse is nicely designed, functional, and plush, although some of the materials might not live up to those of true luxury competitors. The huge center console eats into front-seat space making it seem smaller than it is. The rear cabin makes up for it, however, with tons of room to stretch out on its wide, comfortable seat. With plenty of cargo space for a run to the airport or a lengthy road trip, the LaCrosse should suit most people’s needs, but there are rivals that simply outhaul it. Cubby storage inside the cabin is adequate but difficult to access due to hard-to-reach locations. The LaCrosse's interior offers an adequate amount of small-item storage, but one of the main areas provided is awkwardly placed under the center console and is difficult to reach while driving. Fortunately, the glovebox is quite deep, which may make up for other storage shortcomings.
Infotainment and Connectivity
When it comes to connectivity, the LaCrosse has it all, and most of it is standard, too. Buick’s IntelliLink system impressed us, not only with its intuitive menus but also with its quicker-than-average response to touchscreen commands. All models feature an 8.0-inch full-color touchscreen display with IntelliLink, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Navigation with real-time traffic and weather updates is optional on the Essence and Premium models. Otherwise, all other connectivity features are standard across the range, including a 4G LTE data connection with onboard Wi-Fi. Buick’s IntelliLink interface is easy to operate, even with very little technological know-how on the part of the user. Some of the on-screen buttons are small and difficult to press while driving, but thankfully these are limited to lesser-used menus and settings. Simple tasks such as changing the radio station or switching sources require very little effort.
Safety Features and Crash Test Ratings
Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA)
Some older vehicles are still eligible for coverage under a manufacturer's Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program. For more information visit our guide to every manufacturer's CPO program.