2010 Buick LaCrosse Road Test

The Car that Helped Save Buick

2010 Buick Lacross CXS Front Three Quarters In Motion

It’s not a stretch to say the 2010 Buick LaCrosse was the car that saved Buick. The new LaCrosse arrived in Buick showrooms right as parent company General Motors was muddling through a painful bankruptcy process that saw the demise of several GM brands, including the legendary Pontiac nameplate.

The LaCrosse simply had to be a hit. Critics at the time were howling that Buick, not Pontiac, should have been shuttered, and with Buick’s aging customer base and an uninspired set of offerings in recent years, it was hard to argue with them. But then the critics got into the LaCrosse (as well as the Enclave crossover, which arrived just before it. Perceptions were changed, sales spiked, and Buick was spared.

It’s easy to understand why – the LaCrosse is a darn good car. We’ve had a chance to get behind the wheel of a 2010 LaCrosse long term test vehicle several times over the past year, and it does everything a flagship near luxury sedan should do – offer plenty of style, power, solid driving dynamics, interior amenities and value relative to its competition.

Part of the LaCrosse’s success has to do with its international pedigree. Buick is huge in China, and the LaCrosse’s design featured input from Buick’s Chinese division. The LaCrosse is underpinned by GM’s Epsilon II platform, which was engineered mainly in Europe. It’s built in Kansas City. This is truly a world car drawing from the best and brightest talent and resources of GM’s worldwide operations. Outside, the 2010 LaCrosse has a powerful and dynamic stance, starting with its gleaming waterfall grille and Buick signature ventiports on its neatly creased hood and sweeping lines along its flanks. It looks substantial, but not bloated and overweight. Simply put, the LaCrosse has presence. It’s not for everyone, but it’s far from ugly.

Step into the cabin, and the top-level LaCrosse CXS we had in for testing featured plenty room for both front and back seat passengers, although at 12.8 cubic-feet, its trunk is a little short compared to the Lexus ES (14.7 cubic-feet). As you’d expect, the LaCrosse we tested had a wealth of options befitting a car in its class, including a nav system with real-time traffic, connectivity options, GM’s signature OnStar system, comfy leather seats with both heat and ventilation, and a neat heads-up display.

The central stack area is a bit button heavy at times, but is easy enough to get used to and manage various vehicle features. Other nice touches in the LaCrosse’s cabin include tasteful wood accents and analog-look gauges, and neat ice blue accents that light up the cabin at night. Buick and other General Motors cars have been criticized over the year for having sub-par interiors, the LaCrosse’s is anything but. Press the LaCrosse’s start button and GM’s direct-injection, 3.6-liter V-6 engine with 280 horsepower on tap, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission is more than adequate to move the two-ton plus car with authority. According to testing by our sister publication Motor Trend, the LaCrosse moves to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds, plenty quick. Fuel economy is 17/27 city/highway mpg, not great, but average for its segment. The six-speed does a good job of helping to hustle the car when the pedal hits the floor and it cycles through the gears without fanfare when loping around town. When up to freeway speeds, the LaCrosse is relatively quiet from inside the cabin. Buick engineers paid much attention to isolating interior passengers from the hustle and bustle around them, and it shows.

The LaCrosse’s overall size and heft can work against it at times. It’s not the type of car you’re going to go charging around your favorite curvy roads in, and at freeway speeds its over-boosted steering feel can leave you feeling a little bit disconnected from the road. But with a suspension and overall ride tuned more toward the comfort edge of the spectrum, the LaCrosse makes no apologies about what it is – a boulevard cruiser and smooth-riding highway runner.

If things ever get dicey, the LaCrosse is also equipped with all manner of airbags including front, side and roof-mounted head curtain units. The LaCrosse also comes with blind zone detection, a rear-view camera and GM’s StabiliTrak stability control system are also part of the safety package.

Put it all together, and the Buick LaCrosse is a compelling package that not only helped to save Buick, but also proved that America can put together a car that can compete with the best the world has to offer.

A Few Photos of this Vehicle

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