2007 Buick Lucerne Performance
This performance review was written when the 2007 Buick Lucerne was new.
Reviewers aren't wowed with the Lucerne's performance, but find that it "delivers the smooth ride Americans have come to expect from Buick," according to MSN. Motor Trend explains, "The Lucerne is in its element when tasked with stress-free cruising." Overall, reviewers found the experience of driving a Lucerne to be a pleasant one. "It delivers decent performance with a smooth ride," reports Forbes, "attractive attributes for those who must endure a grueling daily commute or travel long distances."
The Lucerne offers the choice of a 197-horsepower V6 or a 275-horsepower V8. Reviewers are overwhelmingly critical of Buick's choice to pair both the engines with a four-speed automatic transmission, which Edmunds calls "about as cutting edge as a cassette deck." Automobile.com suggests, "The four-speed automatic transmission leaves the car a bit flat-footed when accelerating from a standstill," and finds, "it sometimes doesn't downshift as quickly as I'd like -- sometimes it doesn't downshift at all."
Acceleration and Power
The 3.8-liter V6 makes 197 horsepower at 5200 rpm and 227 lb-ft of torque at 3800 rpm, while the 4.6-liter V8 makes 275 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 295 lb-ft of torque at 4400 rpm. The Lucerne CX is available only with the V6, the CXS is available only with the V8, and the CXL is available with either engine. Kelley Blue Book says, "The standard car allows relatively spirited driving (more aggressive than its buyers will likely attempt) with adequate power, good control and solid braking."
Edmunds writes, "Response from the all-aluminum V8 is brisk off the line, and the engine sounds great under full throttle," but points out, "We aren't as delighted with its midrange response." "Though it doesn't provide the kind of low-rpm torque typically associated with eight-cylinder engines," Cars.com notes, "the Northstar V-8 hits its stride as the revs rise, and it belts out a pleasing roar when pushed hard." The "could not feel the full pull" of the V8's torque, but concludes, "the straight-ahead thrust of the horsepower was sufficient." At higher speeds, "It has plenty of spirit to stay ahead of the pack on the interstate," writes the , "climbing inclines or pulling out to pass without hesitating on country roads."
Both the V6 and V8 are paired with a four-speed automatic transmission. "It shifts smoothly enough for a luxury car," concedes Edmunds, "but its gear ratios are too small to give the Lucerne an alert, ready-when-you-are feel." The calls the transmission "good enough" before arguing, "Good enough isn't good enough in a car that is superior in so many other ways." MSN says, "It's responsive, but a modern five-speed automatic should be used in such a new car." Forbes points out, "Five speeds are routine even in Hyundais and Kias, while six and seven speeds are offered by several upscale brands." Cars.com is among the transmission's few defenders, writing, "Never once did the transmission make a clumsy or harsh gear change, which goes to show you don't necessarily need six or seven speeds to have a capable automatic." The V6 has an EPA estimated gas mileage of 17 miles per gallon in the city and 26 on the highway. The V8 has an EPA estimated gas mileage of 15 miles per gallon in the city and 23 on the highway.
Handling and Braking
The Lucerne is equipped with four-wheel independent suspension that is calibrated differently for each model. The CX gets Premium Ride, the CXL gets Ride and Handling, and the CXS gets Sport Tuned suspension. Edmunds finds that the CX and CXL are "softly tuned" and "exhibit considerable body roll during cornering," while "the high-line CXS model is fairly nimble through turns." On the turns, the Lucerne is "agile but hardly athletic," says Car and Driver. The judges handling "a tiny bit mushy," explaining, "I was hoping for a little more firmness in the steering wheel and a little less body sway on gentle, high-speed Interstate corners." Automobile.com, on the other hand, "was surprised by how well this big Buick hunkered down, gripped, and zoomed around a curve."
Motor Week drove a Lucerne equipped with the optional electronic stability control system, finding, "At high speeds, the big Buick is pretty quick and agile." "The steering is nicely weighted and moderately communicative," in the opinion of Forbes. CNET, however, notes "a slight understeer" that necessitates "stretching a couple of extra millimeters to change lanes in town."
Many reviewers pointed out the Lucerne's turning radius, which Automobile.com calls "huge -- bordering on ridiculous." Edmunds further illustrates the point with "The car's huge 42.2-foot turning radius (44 feet with the 18-inch wheels) makes parking and U-turns a problem. Grave Digger, the 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe and the USS Ronald Reagan all have tighter turning circles."
Four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes stop the Lucerne well enough, according to reviewers, but feel soft underfoot. "Braking from 70 mph required 177 feet, within the expected range for a sedan of this intent," reports Car and Driver. "Braking feel is less satisfying. The pedal is downright squishy as you wait, motionless, for the light to change. And each stop requires a push through an initial slack zone before braking gets serious."
The StabiliTrak stability control system is optional on the V8 versions of the Lucerne. New Car Test Drive explains that it "improves driving control by reducing the chance of skidding," and judges it "well worth having." Automobile.com points out that the system works in tandem with the Lucerne's magnetic steering and electronic brake assist (also optional on V8 versions), and argues, "In combination, these technological tweaks transform a rather generic domestic sedan into a responsive machine that's actually fun to drive."