2012 Buick LaCrosse Review
Whether you choose the fuel-saving eAssist engine or the powerful V6, reviewers say the 2012 Buick LaCrosse offers comfort and luxury that rivals longtime luxury leaders like Lexus.
The Buick LaCrosse ups the ante with significant enhancements for the 2012 model year. A four-cylinder engine and a small electric motor, which Buick calls eAssist, come as standard equipment. Power is comparable with the 2011 LaCrosse’s four-cylinder engine, but fuel economy is better. The EPA estimates that the LaCrosse eAssist gets six additional miles per gallon in both city and highway driving when compared with the 2011 model.
While fuel economy is up with eAssist, buyers who’re looking at a V6 LaCrosse instead will reap 23 additional horsepower for 2012. The V6 is available as a no-cost option, although Buick does require V6 buyers to purchase its Convenience Group, which adds features such as an upgraded driver’s seat, auto-dimming rearview mirror and universal garage door opener.
Inside, test drivers find the comfortable, luxuriously-appointed interior has also received upgrades for the 2012 model year. Buick’s IntelliLink system provides smartphone integration, allowing LaCrosse owners to place calls or stream music via Bluetooth. The added tech earns praise from multiple test drivers, though some comment that it takes a moment to learn your way around the LaCrosse’s button-heavy dash.
Additionally, reviewers find that trunk space is in short supply on the V6 and even further compromised on eAssist models. Still, the automotive press says that the 2012 LaCrosse’s combination of luxury, tech and available engines makes it good enough to compete against cars costing several thousand dollars more. “The LaCrosse's base price of just under $30,000, these technologies, and the quality of the car, make it a compelling competitor to other luxury cars,” writes CNET. “Anyone looking at a Lexus ES 350 or Lincoln MKZ should be cross-shopping the LaCrosse.”
Other Cars to Consider
There’s only one other car that currently offers the choice between V6-power or hybrid-fuel economy at no additional cost: the Lincoln MKZ and MKZ Hybrid. Starting at $34,645, reviewers say that this upscale midsize car features a plush interior and a long list of standard features, but shares too many similarities with the Ford Fusion, which is significantly less expensive.
If you’re comparing V6 models, you’ll find that the LaCrosse offers more power, interior space and similar fuel economy for about $4,700 less than the MKZ. However, urban dwellers may be won over by the MKZ Hybrid’s 41/36 mpg city/highway fuel economy. Although the LaCrosse eAssist also offers 36 mpg on the highway, its mild-hybrid drivetrain only nets 25 mpg in the city.
Because of its comfortable and luxurious interior, reviewers frequently compare the Buick LaCrosse with the Lexus ES. At $36,725, the ES rivals the LaCrosse with its luxurious interior and smooth, quiet ride. However, like the MKZ, the ES does cost thousands more than the base LaCrosse, and many reviewers say that its softly-tuned suspension and costly options may make it less appealing to some buyers.
Buick LaCrosse: The Details
Starting at about $30,000, the 2012 Buick LaCrosse eAssist features a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and 11-killowatt electric motor. This mild-hybrid powertrain is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. Standard features on the base model include dual-zone automatic climate control, power driver’s seat, OnStar, Bluetooth and a seven-speaker stereo with CD player, satellite radio, USB connection and an auxiliary input.
If you choose to add Buick’s optional Convenience Group, you’ll pay about $30,400 and get the option to swap out the eAssist powertrain for a larger V6 at no additional cost. The Convenience Group also adds an upgraded driver’s seat, universal garage door opener and auto-dimming rearview mirror.
All-wheel drive is available on V6 models, but requires that customers also purchase Buick’s Leather Group, which bumps the AWD LaCrosse’s price to roughly $34,400. The Leather Group also adds a power-adjustable passenger seat, leather seating and steering wheel, heated front seats and heated side-view mirrors.
- "Boasting modern styling, an elegant interior and impressive driving dynamics, the LaCrosse quickly became one of our more favored entry-level luxury sedans." -- Edmunds
- "The best part about the LaCrosse, though, is that from behind the wheel, there’s no real price to pay for the enormous (31.5% city, 20% highway) fuel economy benefits. The eAssist drives just as well as the regular LaCrosse did. Smooth, quiet, and comfortable - and that’s exactly what Buick customers want. Just with far better fuel economy." -- Automobile Magazine
- "If you're in the market for an efficient, larger midsize sedan, the LaCrosse with eAssist is worth a close look. … With eAssist, Buick has done an admirable job of creating a green car with minimal compromise." -- AutoWeek
- "Buick claims to target both the Acura TL and Lexus ES 350 with LaCrosse, but in reality it is only the Lexus that has been successfully challenged. Though lacking the TL's sporty nature, LaCrosse matches the more sedate ES in cabin and drivetrain refinement, and surpasses it in available passenger space." -- Consumer Guide
- "It's a bit more car, but a lot less hybrid than its closest competitor, the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid (EPA 41/36 mpg, $35,455), and comparably equipped it should ring in about $5000 less. So, how high do you expect fuel prices to go?" -- Motor Trend