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BUICK CROSSING OVER

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Mon, May 30, 2005

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

© All photos by Harvey Schwartz

CROSSING OVER TO HIGHER PERFORMANCE & LUXURY By HARVEY SCHWARTZ

With the introduction of the all-new 2005 LaCrosse CXS, Buick crosses over to a higher level of performance and luxury, going head-to-head against premium imports from Toyota, Honda and Nissan. This all-new premium mid-size sedan has a lot going for it. Time will tell whether it is going to be successful. The new, more contemporary styling of the LaCrosse features a sculpted, sleek shape, highlighted with more brightwork in the front fascia, side doors, and rear fascia. Front and center is Buick's new oval grille, unique quad headlamps, and lower air intake with projector beam fog lamps at the sides. The view from the side is highlighted with chrome rub strips on the doors, new aero-styled power remote/heated side mirrors, and tauter window shapes with a chrome strip around the perimeter. There are also big, chrome pull-out door handles, lower side extensions, and flared fender arches that are stuffed with bigger 17 x 7-inch chrome wheels.

The unique rear fascia features chrome strips on the sides that match those on the front bumper, newly designed rear trunk cover with lip spoiler, new wraparound triangular lamps, and dual exhaust pipes hidden under the bumper. Buick stylists should have attached chrome tips to reveal that this new sedan has the power to match the new, more aggressive sculpted look. The interior is roomier than before, with an increase of an inch-and-a-half in the wheelbase, which in turn provides rear seat passengers more legroom. The new leather trimmed seats are more comfortable and supportive, with the driver and front passenger having six-way power adjustments and the driver's side with lumbar adjustments. The T-shaped dashboard uses finer and more elegant materials such as faux wood trim and a chrome strip, which is covered with material that is softer to the touch, even the door switch plates feature faux wood overlays. All buttons and dials are within easy reach of your fingers. The new instrument cluster features three large gauges, a speedometer, a tachometer, and fuel/engine coolant temperature/gear selected that are now ringed with chrome bezels that add to the new elegant look. A window under the tachometer gives you information such as outside temperature, compass heading, odometer/trip, mpg, system checks, etc. The tilting/telescoping leather wrapped steering wheel feels great in your hands and contains buttons to operate the premium audio system, cruise control and interior temperature setting.

The rear bench seat is also more comfortable, and features headrests, grab handles for easy entry and exit, and a pull-down center armrest with dual cupholders. All four doors open wide, and the front doors have wide slots down below for added storage. More storage can be found inside the center console bin, in front of the console, and in the locking glove box. The center console also contains dual cupholders and a newly designed shift gate with a chrome bezel and faux wood topped chrome shifter. LaCrosse's body, suspension and powertrain have been engineered using QuiteTuning, an exclusive, all-encompassing initiative aimed at achieving impressive ride quietness and less vibration under all driving conditions. QuietTuning uses acoustical laminate on the windshield and side glass, quiet steel laminate on the front of the dashboard body area, expanded baffles in the roof pillars, exterior use of melt-on sound deadener throughout the exterior lower body structure, and sound absorbing material throughout LaCrosse's engine, passenger and cargo compartments. The LaCrosse's new unit body construction features a stronger safety cage and a new full perimeter aluminum engine cradle. The all-new 2005 is available in three trim levels. The entry-level LaCrosse CX and elegantly appointed CSL are powered by an enhanced version of the popular 3800 3.8 liter V6 rated at 200hp/230lb.ft. of torque. The performance-oriented CXS we tested comes with an all-aluminum VVT 3.6 liter DOHC V6 engine that delivers 240 hp at 6,000 rpm, and 225 lb. ft. of torque at just 2,000 rpm for quick launches, easy merging into fast moving freeway traffic plus plenty of power to change lanes when encountering slower moving traffic on the freeway. Mated to this new high-performance engine is GM's proven Hydra-Matic 4T65-E electronically controlled four-speed automatic with overdrive and torque converter clutch The transmission pulls strong and is very smooth without any hint of gear changes.

A smoother and more agile ride is in evidence with the newly reworked, fully independent suspension that features, up front, MacPherson struts coil-over-spring, twin-tube dampers with four-stage valving, and a 32 mm tubular stabilizer bar. The rear independent setup includes a tri-link coil-over-strut, twin-tube dampers and a 19.4 mm tubular direct-acting stabilize bar. The low friction power rack & pinion steering system features Magnasteer II on the CXS, Magnasteer I on the CX and CXL models without StabiliTrak, and it is a perfect match to the engine power and suspension giving you a great feel for the road and a very good on-center feel at fast freeway speeds. Traction control is standard, and GM's proven StabiliTrak is optional on the CS and CXL but standard on the CXS model. The four-wheel, power disc brakes have been re-engineered and improved with better stopping power. Up front are vented, 11.7-inch discs clamped with dual-piston calipers, while the rear solid discs measure 10.6-inch, and clamped with a single-piston caliper. These stronger brakes come standard with ABS. The all-new LaCrosse CXS rides on 17 x 7-inch flangeless aluminum wheels that are wrapped with P225/55R17 Touring Goodyear Eagle LS2 steel-belted radials. The CX and CXL models ride on 16 x 7-inch aluminum wheels wrapped with P225/60R16 ALS all-season Goodyear Integrity steel-belted radial tires.

Standard equipment in the CXS includes AM-FM stereo radio with an six-disc CD player and six-speakers, automatic electronic dual-zone climate control, cargo net, cruise control, Driver Information Center, leather appointed seating, illuminated vanity mirrors, power door locks/windows, split folding rear seats, thick pile carpeting and floor mats, and dual map lamps with theater dimming. My loaded CXS came with the following options-leather wrapped steering wheel, universal garage door opener, auto dimming rearview mirrors, heated remote outside mirrors, rear reading lamps, rear parking assist, power sunroof, XM satellite radio, heated front driver/passenger seats, and remote vehicle start system. Standard safety features include a strong, steel unitized structure with safety cage, front/rear crush zones, side impact beams in each door, three-point safety belts for all seating positions with front driver/passenger belts with pretensioners/load limiters, front passenger airbags with optional side/head curtain airbags front and rear. The all-new 2005 Buick LaCrosse is certainly a better looking, higher-performing, more luxurious, and safer car than the Regal it replaces. It will be up to Buick to convince consumers to come into the Buick dealerships and take a test drive to discover how well this new car matches up against the competition from Toyota, Nissan and Honda.

© Text and photographs by Harvey Schwartz For more information on Buick products, go to www.buick.com. More photos from Harvey Schwartz can be found at www.autofotos.com SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2005 Buick LaCrosse CXS Price of vehicle: $28,335.00 base, $32,990.00 as tested Engine type: 3.6 liter VVT, DOHC, all-aluminum block/heads Horsepower: 240 hp at 6,000 rpm Torque: 225 lb. ft. of torque at 2,000 rpm Drive configuration: Front engine/front-wheel-drive Transmission type: Hydra-Matic four-speed electronically controlled overdrive automatic Front suspension: Independent MacPherson strut coil-over-spring, twin-tube dampers with four-stage valving, 32 mm tubular stabilizer bar. Rear suspension: Independent tri-link coil-over-strut, twin-tube dampers with four-stage valving, 19.4 mm direct acting stabilizer bar. Wheels/tires: 17X7 flangeless aluminum wheels/P225/55R17in. Goodyear Eagle LS2 steel-belted radial tires Brakes: Front: 11.7-inch vented rotors with twin-piston caliper Rear: 10.6-inch solid rotors with a single-piston caliper ABS at all four-wheels Overall length:198.1 in. Overall width: 79 in. Overall height: 57.4 in. Curb weight: 3,568 lbs. EPA mileage specs: 19 mpg/city, 27 mpg/highway

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