Review: 2010 Buick Lacrosse
“The company’s survival depends on the success of this car.” Though regularly trotted out, this statement is almost always BS (not to be confused with the Bertel kind). Typically when the hyped new car fails, the company seems to somehow scrape by. But the 2010 LaCrosse might just warrant such an extreme statement, at least with regard to Buick’s survival outside China. GM has been on a brand-killing spree lately, and this car will test whether or not Buick is beyond saving in the U.S. The Enclave has proved that American car buyers are open to a Buick crossover. But a Buick sedan, with more baggage to overcome, poses a greater challenge. So, does the new Buick LaCrosse–and the brand that’s banking on it–deserve to succeed?
My initial impressions of the new LaCrosse’s exterior styling, during NAIAS press days last January, were mixed. The traditional Buick “sweep spear” seemed forced on the ultramodern, cab forward proportions. Ideally the line on the front fender would be an inch or so lower, which would require that the fender itself be lower. Out in the real world, the new LaCrosse stands out–in a good way–with a premium and somewhat futuristic appearance. The proportions and dimensions are similar to those of the new TL, but the Buick is far more attractive than Acura’s brick. Is that faint praise? Try this: one will mistake it for a Chevrolet. Because of its large wheels and stocky build, the LaCrosse appears smaller than it actually is–which is nearly full-size. In today’s climate this probably helps, more than it hurts.
The LaCrosse’s interior is GM’s best yet, dominated by flowing curves that encapsulate the driver and front passenger. Beyond the original and attractive design, I was especially impressed by the way real stitching was incorporated into the molded instrument panel, for the appearance of an upholstered IP at a much lower cost.
But there’s the rub: Buick’s interior ambition is lofty, but the bean-counter’s hand is still all over the execution. In sunlight, the materials aren’t as convincing and various small details (such as the sliding cover of the console’s storage compartment) seem less finished than they should be. I drove an HS 250 earlier the same day, and the LaCrosse’s interior materials simply can’t match one of the cheapest sedans Lexus makes. Still, it is a step up from the Malibu, and better than that of any Ford or Chrysler. GM is very close to getting this bit right
The front seats are comfortable, and even provide a modicum of lateral support. The rear seat, a bit low to the floor in the traditional GM manner, and offers plenty of room for legs, but not so much for shoulders. It still remains to be seen whether GM can offer an Epsilon-based car that feels roomy. The specs are almost competitive, but subjectively the cabin fails to feel expansive. Credit the high beltline, prominent console, and organic curves that are otherwise so appealing. The trunk would have been narrow anyway, but the decision to fully encapsulated the door hinges further constricts the space.
Extraordinarily broad A-pillars (why?) and a high cowl dominate the view forward from the driver’s seat. Visibility in turns ranks among the worst I’ve experienced in a sedan. I found myself leaning forward to check that nothing was in the resulting front quarter blind spot. The transmission can be manually shifted, but the shifter needs to be repositioned farther from the driver for optimal comfort. The view rearward between the also thick rear pillars and over the high trunk…good thing there’s a rearview camera.
I spent most of my time in the LaCrosse CXL AWD. In case anyone has been wondering how well a 3.0-liter V6 engine, even one with 252 horsepower, can motivate 4,200 pounds of sedan…not so well. Especially at low speeds, acceleration verges on sluggish. Even in typical driving, with shifts occurring between 2,500 and 3,000 rpm, the engine sounds like it’s working more than a luxury car engine ought to. Things could be worse: the engine could sound as rough as it does overworked
The capital of Canada is Ottawa, in the province of Ontario. There are offically ten provinces and three territories in Canada, which is the second largest country in the world in terms of land area.While politically and legally an independant nation, the titular head of state for Canada is still Queen Elizabeth.On the east end of Canada, you have Montreal as the bastion of activity. Montreal is famous for two things, VICE magazine and the Montreal Jazz Festival. One is the bible of hipster life (disposable, of course) and the other is a world-famous event that draws more than two million people every summer. Quebec is a French speaking province that has almost seceded from Canada on several occasions, by the way..When you think of Canada, you think of . . . snow, right?But not on the West Coast. In Vancouver, it rains. And you'll find more of the population speaking Mandarin than French (but also Punjabi, Tagalog, Korean, Farsi, German, and much more).Like the other big cities in Canada, Vancouver is vividly multicultural and Vancouverites are very, very serious about their coffee.Your standard Vancouverite can be found attired head-to-toe in Lululemon gear, mainlining Cafe Artigiano Americanos (spot the irony for ten points).But here's a Vancouver secret only the coolest kids know: the best sandwiches in the city aren't found downtown. Actually, they're hidden in Edgemont Village at the foot of Grouse Mountain on the North Shore."It's actually worth coming to Canada for these sandwiches alone." -- Michelle Superle, VancouverText by Steve Smith.