The current generation of the Buick LaCrosse is heralded with kicking off the once staid Buick brand’s transformation into a serious player in the lucrative near-premium segment. Priced competitively at $29,960, the LaCrosse offers powerful yet fuel efficient drivetrains, a healthy list of standard features, and plenty of technology.
Interestingly, the base engine in the LaCrosse is a four-cylinder that’s matched with a compact electric motor integrated into the vehicle’s six-speed automatic transmission. While many other automakers call this kind of a setup a mild-hybrid, GM prefers the term “eAssist”.
Unlike a full hybrid system, eAssist cannot power the vehicle on electric power alone but works to aid the engine during high load situations and help reduce fuel consumption. It pairs the LaCrosse’s 182-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor rated at 15 horsepower.
The electric motor also acts as the car’s alternator-generator, topping up the batteries when needed and running ancillary features like the air conditioner. The system also features a regenerative braking system to help charge the car’s air-cooled 115 volt lithium-ion battery pack.
The end result is a gas mileage of 25/36 mpg city/highway, which isn’t bad considering the LaCrosse’s size and performance. You’ll note that the Buick’s highway economy is better than that of the Lexus HS 250h and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid duo.
Of course, if you desire more oomph from your vehicles, an updated 3.6-liter V-6 is offered on the 2012 LaCrosse. Similar to the unit found in the Chevrolet Camaro muscle car, the new V-6 in the LaCrosse delivers 303 horsepower and 264 pound-feet of torque and is available at no extra cost on some trim levels. Official gas mileage figures for the V-6 are 17/27 mpg city/highway.
Note, all of the mileage figures quoted are for the front-wheel drive models. Opt for the added safety of all-wheel drive and you’ll see these figures worsen slightly.
Behind the wheel, the LaCrosse is not a performance car, by any means, but it handles the curves better than its predecessors. Fitted with the optional magnetic adjustable suspension, the LaCrosse can be enjoyable to the mildly enthusiastic driver.
Some of the other goodies either fitted as standard or available as an option on the 2012 Buick LaCrosse are Buick IntelliLink connectivity
, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, a touch-screen interface, and a backup camera.
Key rivals also worth looking at include the Acura TL, Hyundai Genesis, and Lexus ES.
For a more in-depth review of the 2012 Buick LaCrosse, check out the full review at our sister site The Car Connection