Buick is the first to acknowledge it lost touch with the pulse of its audience in the 1980s and 1990s, and over the last decade it has seen its average buyer age rise to somewhere in the mid-70s. But that's all set to change with the new Enclave already out and the brand-new 2010 LaCrosse coming this summer.
We got the chance to take the new LaCrosse for a spin at a GM press event in Detroit this week, and we can tell you in all seriousness: this is a really, really good car. It's not a hot-dog performer or an all-out technological luxury onslaught, but it does combine mid-size powertrains and pricing with large-sedan size and comfort, all with a healthy dose of style and luxury.
The exterior of the new LaCrosse has been plastered across the web since its debut at the Detroit Auto Show
, and it's a fine new face to help Buick target a younger, more vibrant audience, but the interior is the real story.
Fans of Lexus, Acura and Infiniti often point to the shoddy interiors of American mid-luxury sedans as a major turnoff, but those fans won't have a word to say about the LaCrosse. In fact, most will find themselves envious of the solid construction, (mostly) whisper-quiet ride and superior switchgear found in the LaCrosse.
Unlike Lexus, which shows strong Camry roots in much of its center-stack material and layout, the LaCrosse presents a coherent image without letting the design down with flimsy buttons or cheap material. Aside from the Acura TL's oddball exterior, its interior is generally well-regarded, if a bit busy, and the LaCrosse is at least on par, while it outpaces the Infiniti G and M just as it does the Lexus ES and GS.
The comparison to the larger Lexus and Infiniti cars is apt - the LaCrosse provides ample room for long-legged six-foot-plus adults to sit in all four positions at once, with no skimping on headroom even with the sloping roofline and a panoramic sunroof. Shoulder, hip and bolster room in the front bucket seats is equally well-suited to larger adults.
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