Following its major redesign last year, the 2011 Buick LaCrosse is again a serious contender in the entry-level large luxury sedan segment thanks to its classy looks, refined cabin, solid contruction quality, smooth and quiet ride, responsive handling and available all-wheel drive for carbuyers in snow-prone locales. The LaCrosse has truly been successfully modernized and reinvigorated, resulting in a significant boost to both its image and consumer appeal.
As impressive as the new LaCrosse is, this is a segment crowded with many good choices to pick from. Those shopping this segment may also want to check out worthy rivals such as the Acura TL, the new and updated Chrysler 300, the Ford Taurus, the Hyundai Genesis, the Lexus ES 350 and the Toyota Avalon. But no matter what the final choice, the 2011 LaCrosse is now a contender, not a pretender.
Trims, Standard Features And Options:
The 2011 Buick LaCrosse is available in three trims: CX, CXL and CXS.
Standard features on the base LaCrosse CX include full power accessories, an 8-way power driver seat, steering wheel audio controls, 17-inch steel wheels, OnStar Telematics, an anti-theft alarm, halogen headlights, automatic climate control, cruise control, a trip computer, keyless entry, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, a tire pressure monitor and a 7-speaker stereo with a CD/MP3 player, satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack. Also available is the optional Comfort and Convenience package which adds remote engine start, Bluetooth, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power front passenger seat, an auto-dimming mirror and driver-seat power lumbar adjustment. Other CX options include 17-inch alloy wheels and an 11-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system with an iPod/USB interface.
Moving up to the LaCrosse CXL adds all of the above optional features as well as leather upholstery, heated front seats, 18-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors and foglamps. The optional Comfort and Convenience package for the CXL includes auto-dimming sideview mirrors, driver memory functions and rear parking sensors. Other options for the CXL include a Driver Confidence package which adds a head-up display, a blind-spot warning system and adaptive xenon headlights, while the Luxury package adds keyless entry/ignition, a power rear sunshade, ventilated front seats and a heated leather-and-wood-grain steering wheel.
Stand-alone options for the CXL include navigation, a sunroof, a rear entertainment system, the Harman Kardon audio system and chrome wheels.
The top-of-the-line LaCrosse CXS trim level includes all the above items except the sunroof, navigation, rear entertainment sytem and Driver Confidence package (all optional) as well as 19-inch alloy wheels. Also available for the CXS is a Touring package which adds adaptive shock absorbers and a unique set of 19-inch wheels.
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Engines, Powertrain And Gas Mileage:
The standard engine for both the CX and CXL models is a 2.4-liter inline-4 that produces 182 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. Also available is an optional 3.6-liter V6 that pumps out a robust 280 horsepower and 259 pound-feet. In addition, the CXL is offered with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive (AWD), a big plus for those in cold climates. The CXS is front-wheel drive and V6 engine only, while the CXL AWD also comes with the V6. And all models are euipped with a 6-speed automatic transmission.
In performance tests, a V6 LaCrosse was timed from a standstill to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds ... not the fastest in its class but still very respectably quick. The EPA-estimated gas mileage for the four-cylinder LaCrosse comes in at 19 mpg city and 30 mpg on the highway, while the V6 is rated at 17 mpg city and 27 mpg highway. The EPA's fuel economy estimate for the AWD model stands at 16 and 26, respectively.
The 2011 Buick LaCrosse is also well-equipped when it comes to safety, with standard features that include both traction and stability control, antilock disc brakes (ABS) with brake assist, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and OnStar Telematics. In addition, rear-seat side airbags are an available option for all models.
Government crash tests had not yet been completed at the time of this writing. However, the structurally similar 2010 LaCrosse earned the highestest possible scores of five stars across the board in all frontal-impact and side-impact occupant protection categories.
The 2011 LaCrosse's cabin is attractive and refined. The quality of materials is high, as is the workmanship, creating an upscale overall look and feel. The seating is comfortable and supportive both front and rear, however, the sloping roofline results in somewhat tight headroom for taller rear passengers (although there's abundant legroom). Controls and displays are well-designed, easy to see and are generally user-friendly.
While most people will likely be pleased with the LaCrosse's roomy and elegant interior accommodations, the trunk is on the small side for a large sedan, coming in with a cargo capacity of 13 cubic feet. Rear visibility is also somewhat limited due to the car's design.
The ride of the new LaCrosse offers a well-balanced combination of luxuriousness and athleticism. While smooth and impressively quiet in ordinary driving situations, the LaCrosse still displays surprisingly capable road manners when pressed. The steering is precise and responsive, and when outfitted with the V6 engine, its overall handling and performance will likely please those who value an engaging and fun driving experience. That said, the four-cylinder engine is under-powered for a vehicle of this size (3,800 pounds) and its performance isn't nearly as good.
The 2011 Buick LaCrosse is noted for its sporty good looks, both inside and out, capable handling and topnotch build quality. In fact, its cabin is one of the most luxurious in its price range. This is not "your father's Buick" and is every bit a top rival for entry-level luxury sedans even though priced closer to the higher trim levels of more affordable sedans.
How To Get The Lowest Price:
Best Negotiating Tactic: Well, there's definitely a 'best way' when it comes to new car buying. If you want to get the best bottomline, out-the-door price you need to know exactly who to talk to at the dealership, how to make the contact and how to make this person eager to quickly drop prices as low as possible to get your sale.
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