The flagship model for Buick returns for 2012 with all the usual amenities expected and some extra assistance. The 2012 Buick LaCrosse eAssist rolls off the line with a revised version of the mild hybrid technology available on the 2007-2009 Saturn Aura and Vue Green Line, and the 2008-2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid. The new, more advanced system is called eAssist, and this time around, it promises significantly better fuel economy for the LaCrosse, and the 2012 Buick Regal.
The system uses a special 20-horsepower motor/generator that's connected to the engine by a belt. The electric motor adds torque to the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, giving it added assist at all speeds. The system also charges the battery at a rate of 15 kW, a 3/4 mile-long stretch of open road will charge the battery fully.
The addition of eAssist to the 2012 Buick LaCrosse has been employed by Buick in hopes of getting into a buyer's market who is concerned with forecasted fuel prices. The "e" stands for electricity in eAssist that helps push the hefty LaCrosse down the road. Buick will offer the base model with either an eAssist four cylinder or a 3.6-liter V-6 engine both for around the same price.
Engine: 2.4L, 182 hp I-4 plus 15 hp electric motor
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Big upgrades are all over the place for the 2012 Buick LaCrosse. The lithium-ion battery pack runs at 115 volts storing 0.5 kilowatt-hours of energy and is designed for power delivery. The three-phase electric motor is like the one found in the Malibu, which gives 110lb-ft of peak torque. Improvement with the powertrain and the combination of eAssist drives the fuel economy higher.
Redesigned in 2010, the 2012 Buick LaCrosse's body continues to be influenced by the Riviera concept coupe and it's notable in the roofline. Buick's signature waterfall grille, classic portholes and "sweep spear" at the rear quarter panels all made the cut for the 2012 model. The LaCrosse is the boldest looking to date and is targeting a vigorous age group concerned with fuel prices. The LaCrosse is technically classified as a mid-size sedan but all dimensions point to being a large sedan. Underbody panels have been improved for better aerodynamics that allow airflow to stream smoothly and electronically controlled shutters in the lower grille shut at high speeds to drive air over the vehicle.
The LaCrosse has never cut corners with cabin materials and this held true to form for 2012 Buick LaCrosse. The clean exterior lines creep into the cabin with soft consistency and close-fitting gaps evident. The instrument cluster illuminates an ice blue hue that replicates chrome during the day. Holding true to the Buick stereotype the LaCrosse has a gigantic backseat and spacious leg-room. Three pairs of LATCH anchors in the rear of the vehicle are also present which can hold three child seats with room to spare.
Performance & Handling
The 2012 Buick LaCrosse eAssist is paired with a 2.4L direct injection four-cylinder engine that travels along with 182 horsepower and 172 pounds-feet of torque. The LaCrosse engine puts out eight more pounds-feet of torque courtesy of high pressure direct fuel injection and is taking the place of the less-efficient multi-port injection type. An "aggressive" fuel shut-off occurs during deceleration in order to save fuel.
The conventional four-speed automatic transmission has bowed out to clear the way for a new Hydra-Matic 6T40 six-speed automatic transmission. In another way to increase mpg higher final-drive gearing keeps engine revving lower at highway speeds. When the engine shuts down during a stop, an auxiliary electric-driven oil pump keeps the engine primed and the fluid flowing. This also keeps the transmission ready for use once acceleration starts back up. Both the engine and transmission are built to stimulate braking and battery charging during coasting and braking. Tires are low-rolling resistant and designed for performance and optimal fuel economy.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2012 Buck LaCrosse high marks all across the board. Side airbags, front and rear curtain airbags and front-seat mounted torso airbags all come standard in the 2012 LaCrosse. Rear seated mounted torso airbags are optional. Rollover sensors are designed to set off the side curtain airbags if a rollover would occur. Electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, day-time running lights and LATCH anchors holding car seats snug in the backseat are all standard on this year's model.
EPA Fuel Economy
LaCrosse: 25 city/37 highway (expected)
- Instrument cluster
- eAssist and V-6 same price
You Won't Like
- Lack of in-town fuel economy
A stylish alternative comparable to Lexus
If You Like This Vehicle
- Ford Fusion hybrid
- Hyundai hybrid
- Nissan Altima hybrid
- Toyota Camry hybrid