2010 Buick LaCrosse: Second Opinion

If you’ve read any reviews of the overhauled 2010 Buick LaCrosse, you’d think it’s the best thing since fuel injection. Our own Nick Borgia reviewed the LaCrosse CXS last week and had nothing but great things to say about it: 2010 Buick LaCrosse CXS Review (be sure to read his review first, it’s very good.)

We just drove two of the new LaCrosses, and don’t share quite the same enthusiasm. Not that it’s a bad car by any means, and frankly it’s probably the best in its class. So why aren’t we raving about it like everyone else?

Not that I can blame them…comparing the overhauled 2010 LaCrosse to its 2009 and older siblings is like night and day. In 2009, everybody was questioning why Buick still exists. Now, they actually made a car that lets the naysayers answer their own question – “oh…that’s why.” And that’s exactly it – looking back a year seeing what they’ve done with it makes it easy to see the improvements as a great new car, and I’ll give Buick props for that. But while the 2010 LaCrosse is huge improvement, it’s yet to be a great car.

We drove both the top-of-the-line LaCrosse CXS trim ($33,015 base) and the base model CX ($26,245 base.) The revised engines Buick put into the LaCrosse vary per trim level. Starting with the CX, you get a fuel efficient but embarrassingly underpowered 2.4-liter 4-cylinder producing 182 hp. Optional on the CX is a 255 hp 3.0-liter V6. The same V6 goes into the mid-level CXL, while the CXS sports the most power – a 280 hp, 3.6-liter V6. So the 4-cylinder is fuel efficient – EPA rated at 19 city, 30 hwy. Not bad numbers, but after driving the CX for a week, we averaged only 17.8 mpg mixed – less than we got from the 3.6-liter V6. That’s because the lightest LaCrosse waddles around at a hefty 3829 lbs, and you have to run the hell out of it to get it to go anywhere. Only the lightest of lightfoot drivers will enjoy the 4-cylinder CX. All 2010 LaCrosses come with a pretty good 6-speed automatic, and the mid-level CXL comes optional with an AWD drivetrain for an extra $2,200. Next year, the 3.6-liter V6 will have the AWD option, which should have been the case from the start.

Overall design is the best thing about this car. Part of GM’s new direction for their cars (making good and desirable ones,) the LaCrosse is completely redesigned inside and out. Buicks no longer appeal strictly to blue hairs (and the Chinese for some reason,) but even attract some young eyes. The swooping lines, big wheels, and muscular rear fenders give the LaCrosse a much more modern appearance, even though they sacrificed some rearward visibility in the name of design. The interior is top-notch, featuring quality materials and a cool blue iridescent glow along the dash, door handles, and center console. Interior ergonomics, however, are a different story. The seats aren’t very supportive or comfortable, whether the cloth or leather surfaces – you really have to fiddle with the power seat controls to find something decent. Driver and front passenger don’t have much room either – for such a big car it feels awfully cramped up front. The center control panel is cluttered with a confusing array of buttons in the CXS – the lesser-equipped CX without navigation isn’t so bad. The inside door handle features an attractive but annoying design that integrates with the arm rest, requiring you to reach into the opening each time to close the door instead of just naturally grabbing it from the top. The gauges in the instrument panel look nice, but the way they’ve designed the speedometer make it all but completely useless. Luckily, the customizable driver information display features a digital speedo that’s much easier to read, or there’s an optional heads-up display.

Rear seat passengers will be more comfortable than the folks up front – there’s plenty of room back there for three average adults. The optional $2000 navigation system includes an upgraded audio system and rear backup camera on a nice LCD screen. The navigation system itself is mediocre, the “live traffic” was wrong on multiple occasions, and doesn’t let you use it while moving. The rear backup camera is usable during the day and worthless at night – I’d pass on that option.

So is it really that bad? Well, no. As a whole, it’s not that bad at all, and a good choice for a car in this segment. You’ll find yourself shopping against the Acura TL, Lexus ES350, Toyota Avalon, and maybe the Nissan Maxima. What I don’t like about it, other than the annoyances I talked about above, is that aside from the “Buick got their shit together” factor, there’s nothing particularly special about the car. There’s nothing that says “I have to have this car,” unless you’re crazy about the styling. If Buick continues along the same path of improvement and refines the LaCrosse a bit more, it will be a great car.

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About The Author

I founded Automoblog.net in May of 2006 to share my love of cars. My favorites include the Lamborghini Diablo 6.0 VT and Koenigsegg CCX, and I think the Ferrari 360 Spider is still one of the sexiest cars in existence. For “normal” cars, I like imports - Nissan, Audi, Subaru... I love my Pearl Yellow (don't judge) 1990 Nissan 300ZX TT and plan to get it to around 550 HP one day. I'm also an avid world traveler and love rock climbing.

14 Comments on "2010 Buick LaCrosse: Second Opinion"

  1. Ron

    Why does your article sound like a bitter whine? Even the title wreaks of “little man”…lets all guess.. Chris drives a toyota.. Funny youre still the only person that feels this way…need some nuts to drive a Buick is what I’d tell Chris.

    • Hahaha you'll have to explain the "need some nuts to drive a Buick" comment.

      My complaints about the LaCrosse were about details – silly, annoying, poorly-engineered stuff that GM is notorious for letting by. Every person that was in my test car complained about those awkward door handles/arm rests and the lack of power. Having to nearly floor the throttle from stop lights just to keep up with traffic? They should be ashamed for throwing that engine in there.

      And by the way…I drive a Nissan 300ZX – but nice try.

  2. Ron

    Thanks for proving my post! Sounds bitter to me! Anyone that "REALLY" drives the car doesnt come away with the "Tea-Party" comments as you have. Really..grow some!

  3. Red

    Yea does sound like the guys that wrote this already made his mind up before…Why title "A second Opinion"? I bet if it had a Toyota symbol he would have LOVED it. And who are "WE"? I call Bullchit!

  4. Red

    PS. Ron,

    This is a blog not an article…anyone can write one of these. Your right he does smell like a "Tea Party" whiner..hahaha By the way anyone that drives a 350z… shouldn't be allowed to critique any other car as we all know they are idiots. These tea party nuts are out just to hate anything American..

    • Ron (IP: 69.180.250.173)

      Red (IP: 69.180.250.173)

      Gotta love when one person tries to comment as two as agrees with themselves to try and prove their point/fill up their otherwise eventless day.

      And it's a 300ZX, not 350Z – big difference.

  5. real

    Yea this article and then later post makes this very suspicious, sure sounds like his feelings are hurt by this car. I dont know who to trust, Car and Driver/consumer reports/consumers digest/countless other positive articles or some guy on a "blog" who drives a 350Z( have to agree with the other posters. Sounds like this "blog-writers" feelings are hurt by a great American car. Pity. Heres an orignal thought, drive it for yourself and THEN and ONLY then form an opinion. This guy probably has never been near one. Too many opinions already formed about American cars(read his rebuttal to the first poster)

  6. Tom King

    I Have a 2010 Buick Lacrosse CXS, loaded. I agree with Chris, on several points. The speedometer can be partially covered by the steering wheel, depending on the drivers seat position. Taller people will be at a disadvantage. The DIC, drivers infromation center, in the middle display, has a nice digital display. That is my defauly position for those 8 pages of information. The hand cavities, on the doors require some time in the car be get used to. You can't drive any car 3 times, and be comfortable with it. He did miss the tree trunk size "A" pillars. You have to watch at intersections or you will have a problem with vision on both sides.I found the nav system, and the center console buttons perfect, but I am an engineer we like buttons. Another pet peve is the chrome around the nav system. When the sun is out it is right in your eyesight. Nice for show room appeal, but sucks when you have dodge this all the time. This is an easy fix for model change. You can not defeat the auto door lock function. I don't like this. YOu move the car a few feet to park in the garage and you get one dooor lock cycle. Software fix, easy.

    TK

    • Good points Tom, those A pillars are huge. Another thing I noticed is the blue glowing stripe across the dash reflects in the windshield at night, which is sort of distracting.

  7. Franklin TN

    I like the Buick LaCrosse over all the Nissan cars I checked out last week. Buick has had some nice vehicles coming out lately.

  8. Diagnostic Tools

    The overall design of the car is nice. The tings that I don’t like are the front “grill” and the trunk design.

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