Buick LaCrosse aims high, adds ultra luxury interior package.
Among GM’s four U.S. car brands, Buick just may be the most surprising one of all. After Pontiac’s demise, the remaining two brands of the Buick-GMC-Pontiac triumvirate were left mostly with sedans and SUVs, models with limited appeal to young buyers. Indeed, shortly before GM declared bankruptcy and reorganized, Buick had one of the oldest customer bases in the industry — with its average buyer coming in at 62-years-old.
While many young buyers were sitting out of the new car market in 2009 and 2010, GM began to transform Buick by bringing several new models to the market. Its Regal sedan was soon joined by the smaller Verano and earlier this year the Buick Encore, a compact SUV, was introduced. One model that has managed to defy geriatric status is the Buick LaCrosse and for the 2014 it gets new sheet metal, an updated interior and cutting-edge technologies.
Importantly, according to R.L. Polk, Buick has since lowered the average age of its new car buyers to 59, going against the industry trend. While the new Buick LaCrosse is likely to appeal to older drivers, it is a vehicle that is roomy, luxurious and modern.
The new Buick offers a sculpted exterior highlighted by wing-shaped daytime running lamps and LED wraparound tail lights. Bright work trim is well proportioned in keeping with the make’s premium status. An assortment of wheel choices are available including machined, painted and chrome alloy finishes.
Under the hood, the powertrain choices are familiar, with a 3.6-liter V-6 engine offered standard. This 24-valve cast aluminum engine is rated at 304 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 264 horsepower at 5,300 rpm.
Optionally, a 2.4-liter four cylinder 16-valve engine is available as part of an eAssist package. That eAssist distinction represents an in-house term applied to GM’s part-time hybrid system, one that delivers improved fuel economy without full hybridization. The smaller engine makes 182 horsepower at 6,700 rpm and 172 foot-pounds of torque at 4,900 rpm. Both engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.
GM will often refer to Buick as a “luxury brand” a title that may seem to correlate Buick With Cadillac, its true luxury brand. While the marketing terms may not always be so clear, Buick is truly a premium brand that can hold its own against like vehicles from Acura, Lincoln and Lexus.
Inside, the five-passenger Buick LaCrosse rolls out the next generation of Buick Intellink, an infotainment system that can be accessed with easy to understand controls or voice recognition. A first of its kind Ultra Luxury Interior Package is available, bringing semi-aniline leather seating surfaces and trim to the LaCrosse. Shadow Tam Ash wood decor, sangria-colored seats and ebony accents provide the panache this model now offers.
Safety features for the 2014 Buick LaCrosse have been updated or extended and include side blind zone alert, forward collision alert, lane change alert and warning, rear cross traffic alert and automatic collision preparation. These represent radar- and camera-based safety features, to provide an added measure of protection for Buick drivers.
The LaCrosse also gets a staple safety feature found in new Cadillac models — a safety alert seat, one that provides seat vibration pulses to indicate the direction of a possible crash hazard. Adaptive cruise control is also available.
The 2014 Buick LaCrosse returns as a standard front-wheel-drive sedan with all-wheel-drive available. Following its official release this week at the New York International Auto Show, the latest LaCrosse go into production and head to Buick-GMC showrooms for its summer 2013 release. Official pricing will be released later.
Photos courtesy of General Motors Company.