THE EMPEROR’S NEW CAR
2014 Buick LaCrosse
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 Sun, Jun 30, 2013
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
FIRST DRIVE: 2014 BUICK LACROSSE By Roy Nakano For some of us living in Los Angeles, it’s hard to imagine that Buick is as much of a fixture on the other side of the Pacific Rim as much as it is here. Even more so, really. That’s why GM’s design studios in China as well as North America played key roles in the formation of the latest generation Buick LaCrosse. For 2014, the LaCrosse gets a major makeover. And with it, the eyes on both sides of the Pacific Ocean are paying close attention to the details. LA Car gets a first drive in the 2014 Buick LaCrosse. Perhaps it was because Pǔyí, the last emperor of China, owned a Buick. As did Sun Yat-sen, China’s first provisional president. As did Zhou Enlai, the first premier of the People’s Republic of China. Or that one in five vehicles in China before World War II was a Buick. Whatever the reason, Buick is revered in China today.
So when GM Vice President for Global Design Ed Welburn gave the nod to its Shanghai studio to design a concept for the 2007 Shanghai auto show, the result was a modern-day interpretation of the 1963 Buick Riviera—complete with the revival of the brand’s sweep-spear crease along its side flanks. That concept served as a major inspiration for GM Exterior Design Expert Richard Duff, who led the team that created the shape for today’s LaCrosse (which retains the sweep-spear from the Shanghai design). For the 2014 makeover, Buick decided wisely not to mess with the best elements of this trans-oceanic effort. Instead, everything forward of the windshield was changed to make it look more cohesive with the fuselage. The same is done with the rear fascia. This is the opposite of what usually happens with mid-cycle changes. The result is a better-looking car all around. The sense of cohesiveness is carried over to the cabin, where Buick uses wood, metal, and stitched soft-touch vinyl and leather in a manner to integrate the doors with the dash and the center console. “Four interior color-trim combinations are now available,” says Ven Lai, Buick’s creative designer for color and trim. “Cocoa accents, which is offered with cloth or Soleil Keisel leather seats and Kyoto Maple wood-style décor, Ebony, which comes with cloth or Soleil Keisel leather seats and Cellini Wood décor, the Choccachino-Cocoa accents, with Soleil Keisel leather seats with contrast stitching, and Phantasm Wood-style décor.” All-in-all, it’s very tastefully done.
It should come as no secret that Buick targeted the Lexus market in the same way that Cadillac targeted the German luxury brands. This may explain why the Buick LaCrosse actually rides smoother than the Cadillac XTS—both of which share the same platform. No, this is not the floating barge ride that characterized large American cars of yesteryear. The LaCrosse flattens roads and hugs the corners like a luxury sport sedan should—particularly when equipped with the HiPer Strut front suspension. But the LaCrosse also does a great job of soaking up the little imperfections of the road, maintaining composure while navigating whatever roads you throw at it. For 2014, there’s a host of high tech features in the LaCrosse, including the newest generation IntelliLink, a standard eight-inch color driver information and cluster display, camera- and radar-based safety features that include Lane Change Alert, Side Blind Zone Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Automatic Collision Preparation. GM’s Safety Alert Seat is said to work with these features to provide seat vibration pulses indicating the direction of a potential crash threat. Full Speed Adaptive Cruise Control is also offered—a feature that should be more widespread than it is. This particular cruise control will sense traffic in front of the car to adjust vehicle speed—including bringing the vehicle to a complete stop and accelerating again. This is almost like having a car that drives itself. After driving the new LaCrosse, I’m beginning to think that the Chinese have got it right about Buick. Either that, or GM has made a helluva accomplishment in its effort to elevate Buick into the car it’s perceived to be on the other end of the Pacific Rim—i.e., a car with a lineage befitting of royalty. Either way, it bodes well for Buick.
For more information about Buick products, go to www.buick.com Fore more on GM’s success in China, see LA Car's “Battle Hymn of the Detroit Tiger” SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2014 Buick LaCrosse Price: $34,060 (base) Standard equipment includes IntelliLink connectivity, an eight-inch reconfigurable color cluster display, and an eAssist powertrain. The Ultra Luxury interior package is a $2,495 option, and includes Tamo Ash wood, synthetic suede on the headliner and vanity mirrors, and Semi-Aniline full leather seats in sangria color. The Driver Confidence I package is $2,125 and includes Forward Collision Alert, Side Blind Zone Warning, Lane Change Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, articulating high-intensity discharge headlights, and a head-up display. The Driver Confidence II package is a $1,745 option and includes Adaptive Cruise Control, an Automatic Collision Prep system, and a patented Safety Alert Seat that directs the driver’s attention using vibrations through the surface of the seat bottom. It must be paired with Driver Convenience I.
A 304-hp 3.6L V-6 engine is a no-cost option for the LaCrosse. With EPA estimates of 18 city/28 mpg highway for front-wheel drive models and 17/26 mpg for all-wheel drive, the 2014 model gains 1 mpg highway for both models and 1 mpg city for front-drive. EPA fuel economy ratings (miles per gallon): 25 city/36 highway (with standar 2.4 liter engine) 18 city/ 28 highway (with option 3.6 liter engine) 17 city/26 highway (3.6 liter engine and AWD) Engine: 2.4 liter DOHC, 16-valve direct injection four-in-line (standard) 3.6 liter 32-valve VVT direct injection V6 (no-cost option) Horsepower: 182 / 136 @ 6700 rpm (2.4 liter engine) 304 / 227 @ 6800 rpm (3.6 liter engine) Torque: 172 / 233 @ 4900 rpm SAE certified (2.4 engine) 264 / 358 @ 5300 SAE certified (3.6 engine) Transmission type: 6-speed Hydra-Matic 6T40 electronically controlled with overdrive Drive configuration: Front-drive/all-wheel-drive, front-engine, four-door, five- passenger sedan Steering: Electric variable-effort power steering (eAssist and FWD V-6); power variable-effort: (AWD models)
Suspension: Four-wheel independent suspension Front – MacPherson strut coil-over-spring; twin-tube dampers with gas-charged valving; hollow direct-acting stabilizer bar (eAssist and 3.6L FWD with 17- or 18-inch wheels/AWD 19-inch wheels); HiPer Strut coil-over-spring; twin-tube dampers with gas-charged valving; hollow direct-acting stabilizer bar; real-time damping and Sport Mode Selectivity (3.6L FWD with 19-inch or 20-inch wheels) Rear – Four-link (eAssist and 3.6L FWD with 17- or 18-inch wheels); H-arm (3.6L AWD); H-arm with real-time damping and Sport Mode Selectivity (3.6L FWD with 19- or 20-inch wheels) Brakes: Split, dual-circuit four-wheel-disc with power intelligent assist, ABS Wheels: 17-in machined alloy (std w/ eAssist) 18-in machine-faced alloy, painted (std on 1SB, 1SL with 3.6L; opt on eAssist in non-PZEV states) 19-in painted, machined alloy (std on 1SL, 1SP AWD V-6) 19-in chrome alloy (std on 1SP FWD V-6, and opt on 1SL FWD V-6) 20-in alloy (std on 1SR) Tires: P235/50R17 low rolling-resistance all-season (std w/ eAssist) P235/50R18 all-season P245/45R19 all-season P245/40R20 all-season Dimensions Overall length: 197 inches Overall width: 73.1 inches Overall height: 59.2 inches Curb weight: 3765 / 1708 (eAssist – estimated) 3906 / 1772 (3.6L V-6 – estimated)