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- Highs Proficient powertrains, handsome styling, well-rounded infotainment.
- Lows Expensive driver-assistance tech, awkwardly located storage bins, big ol' blind spots.
- Verdict A handsome all-American sedan that blends comfort, tech, and civilized driving dynamics.
Old-school Buick luxury isn't evident in every vehicle bearing the tri-shield badge, but, for better or worse, the 2019 Buick 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 driver-assistance tech 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 classic Buick softness that may keep it off some shopping lists.
What's New for 2019?
This year a new model joins the ranks in the form of the Sport Touring, which features unique 19-inch wheels and an all-black grille. Elsewhere, the Premium version now comes with an air ionizer and two new exterior colors join the palette: Carrageen Metallic and Dark Shadow Metallic. Unfortunately, General Motors also announced that the LaCrosse—along with several other four-doors—will be deleted from the lineup after the 2019 model year.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
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Our pick of the range is the mid-level Essence trim as it adds desirable luxury features to the LaCrosse's spec sheet, including leather seats with memory function for the driver, adaptive headlamps, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and heated front seats. After driving LaCrosse models with and without the optional Dynamic Drive package, we'd be sure to include that here, as it provides a more agile driving experience; it includes 20-inch wheels, an adaptive suspension, and a selectable Sport driving mode.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Likes: Well-integrated hybrid system on base four-cylinder, gutsy optional V-6, surprisingly agile.
Dislikes: Awkward electronic gearshift, relaxed acceleration from hybrid, handling feels imprecise.
The availability of two different powertrains allows buyers to choose either powerful V-6 gusto or fuel-sipping hybrid economy. Serving as the entry-level powertrain, the eAssist setup consists of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, an electric motor, and a six-speed automatic transmission. The electric-assisted powertrain works seamlessly and delivers good fuel economy but at a cost to its acceleration capabilities. Opt for the V-6 and instead of the six-speed automatic you'll get a nine-speed unit. With the V-6, the LaCrosse is quick and managed a 5.6-second zero-to-60-mph run at our test track; the hybrid, well, isn't quick, as it needed 7.3 seconds to complete the same task.
For a large near-luxury sedan, the LaCrosse provides a surprising measure of handling prowess. But not to worry, its ride is pillowy and long-haul comfortable, too—as long as you avoid 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, bargelike sedans.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The LaCrosse eAssist hybrid has higher EPA fuel-economy estimates than the V-6, and even edges out the Nissan Maxima. In our 200-mile real-world fuel-economy testing, the LaCrosse eAssist sent some rivals whimpering back to the gas pumps with a 38-mpg result. The V-6 is no slouch when it comes to fuel economy, either, and delivered 31 mpg.
Interior, Infotainment, and Cargo
Likes: Spacious and comfortable cabin, intuitive infotainment system, huge trunk.
Dislikes: Less premium inside than its price implies, navigation not standard, hard-to-reach bin underneath center console.
While the LaCrosse features handsome interior materials and a contemporary cabin design, several less expensive competitors are equally as attractive. The LaCrosse's tall dashboard with sweeping lines is covered in upscale materials including wood, faux leather, and satin-chromed trim. The center console is similarly curvy, rising to meet the dashboard just below the infotainment screen. Comfortable, power-adjustable seats up front are perfect for long-distance cruising; the Essence trim adds heated seats, and the Premium's seats are both heated and cooled. Dual-zone automatic climate control is standard across the lineup and is adjusted via knobs on the console or through the infotainment touchscreen.
Buick set out to make the LaCrosse a well-connected cruiser, and it succeeded. All models feature an 8.0-inch full-color touchscreen display with IntelliLink plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The 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. Navigation with real-time traffic and weather updates is optional. Otherwise, all other connectivity features are standard across the range, including a 4G LTE data connection with onboard Wi-Fi.
In our testing, the LaCrosse's trunk held the same six carry-on suitcases as the Chrysler 300S and the Maxima, but both of those cars held far more of our cases with their rear seats folded. The ability to fold the rear seat is a luxury not afforded by the Toyota Avalon or the Kia Cadenza, however, so the LaCrosse remains far more cargo-capable than those two.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA)
The LaCrosse's strong crash-test results prove that it's up to the task of protecting occupants in the event of an accident. Unfortunately, its headlamp performance didn't meet expectations in testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, preventing it from winning that organization's highest rating. Driver-assistance technologies are available but require shelling out for an option package or ponying up for a more expensive model. Key safety features include:
- Available automated emergency braking
- Available lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Buick offers more bumper-to-bumper and powertrain coverage than most rivals, but the Cadenza offers longer coverage periods. Only the LaCrosse and the Avalon cover any scheduled maintenance for buyers.
- Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 6 years or 70,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for the first visit