Buick LaCrosse Performance
Overall, the 2007 Buick LaCrosse offers a smooth, calming and pleasant, if unexciting, ride. U.S. News reviewer Rick Newman reports, "The ride is remarkably quiet, as good as in more expensive luxury vehicles. That helps create a serene experience, even on the most truck-traveled highways." Automobile Magazine deems performance "thoroughly competent."
Depending on trim level, the LaCrosse is powered by either a 200- or 240-horsepower V6, and many reviewers note that this results in two different driving experiences: that of a comfortable cruiser in the CX and CXL, and that of a sports sedan in the CXS. The CXS "really is a sporting device, good enough in manners, agility and scoot to satisfy pretty demanding drivers. It's one of those cars that causes you to think, 'If they can do this, why have they been messing around all this time with those other silly things?'" says USA TODAY. "But the lower-price CX and CXL LaCrosse models, without the CXS' high-tech V6 and sporty suspension, seem a bit like those other silly things: floaty on the highway, only modestly powerful, not particularly fun behind the wheel."
Acceleration and Power
The Buick LaCrosse offers two engines matched to different trim levels. The CX and CXL get a 3.8-liter V6 that creates 200 horsepower at 5,200 rpm and 230 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. The CXS gets a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 240 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 225 pound-feet of torque at 3,200 rpm. The more powerful "twin-cam V-6 delivers quick throttle response," notes Automobile Magazine, and "sacrifices only one mpg in each duty cycle to the pushrod 3.8-liter engine." This is true in the city, where the 3.8 gets an Environmental Protection Agency estimated 20 miles per gallon and the 3.6 gets an EPA estimated 19 miles per gallon. On the highway the EPA estimates they get 30 miles per gallon and 27 miles per gallon, respectively.
New Car Test Drive writes, "Both of the available V6 engines have been tuned to give a nice, healthy growl on full throttle, but disappear into the background in high-gear cruising." Most reviewers find the 3.8 competent. Kelley Blue Book decides, "As the LaCrosse is not intended to be sports car, most drivers will find the base engine more than adequate for daily commutes." Consumer Guide says it "provides brisk takeoffs but lacks strong passing power in the 35-55-mph range," while Cars.com reports, "Other than a mild growl when pushed hard, the smaller V-6 is very quiet." The complains of the 3.8: "There's a major hesitation when you press the gas pedal, at least on the test car."
The more-powerful 3.6-liter engine earns greater praise. Forbes calls it "smooth and refined, with enough power to make passing tractor-trailers or merging onto busy highways a cinch." Edmunds likes its "broader, more refined power delivery." BusinessWeek points out the differences between the engines: "Where the 3.8 is a boilerplate engine built for good low-end torque (and inclined toward those who rarely, if ever, floor it), the 3.6 cammer engine is a much more aggressive, free-revving piece that will appeal to drivers reared on OHC imports, who demand not only high-revving performance, but high-revving smoothness." The explains that the 3.6 "producing the bulk of its torque at low speed enhances drivability and makes it lively right from a stop."
Both engines are paired with a four-speed automatic transmission. Reviewers are generally impressed with its performance. New Car Test Drive says, "It works flawlessly," and Cars.com reports, "Transmission shifts are sometimes noticeable, but not annoying." But as well as it performs, on the whole, reviewers are displeased at the lack of a fifth gear. The points out, "Most other brand-new models in this price range offer a five-speed," while The Family Car finds, "a fifth gear, common in the competition these days, was definitely missed." BusinessWeek has a different gripe, writing, "Buick might give some thought to the possibility of at least offering a manual gearbox."
Handling and Braking
The LaCrosse has the comfortable, smooth ride of a Buick, but reviewers are divided as to whether the ride is too smooth and detached. U.S. News reviewer Rick Newman is among those who believe it is, writing, "There's too much play in the wheel and a squishy feel on corners that reminds you of your parents' car." Edmunds sounds a similar note, saying, "The body rolls excessively and the steering feels numb."
New Car Test Drive is on the opposite side of the spectrum, reporting, "The chassis is nicely tuned and balanced. This is no mushmobile." Kelley Blue Book is in the same camp, writing, "The LaCrosse feels confident at all speeds, and though it won't appeal to driving enthusiasts, the every-day driver will find the car's precise steering and firm suspension quite satisfying."
Somewhere in the middle are reviewers like BusinessWeek, explaining, "It understeers a lot if you start treating it like a sport sedan, but in steady-state cruise mode it is one of the most solid-feeling and comfortable/quiet cars in its class." Forbes adds, "Considering that Buicks are designed primarily for comfort and quietude, the LaCrosse achieves its aim with a compromise between isolation and driver involvement but skews more toward the former."
With four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes standard with all three trim levels, reviewers find that the LaCrosse decelerates admirably under normal conditions. The Family Car contends, "The four-wheel disc brakes offer plenty of stopping power and give a nicely modulated response to the driver's pedal pressure." Autobytel praises the "impressive stopping power under dry conditions," but notes a "marked decrease in performance when the brakes are wet." Automobile Magazine joins with other reviewers in remarking upon the "short pedal stroke and firm feel."
3.8 Liter V6
This engine is paired with the CX and CXL. Both get the four-speed automatic transmission, anti-lock brakes and four-wheel independent "premium ride" suspension.
3.6 Liter V6
This engine is offered only with the CXS, which gets the same transmission as the CX and CXL but gets a sportier suspension and bigger tires.