2014 Buick LaCrosse: First Drive

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Buick, the brand, is on a roll. Conquest sales are up, meaning there are far more people who are new to buying any GM car coming into dealerships and walking out with a new Buick. Building cars like the 2014 Buick LaCrosse and steadily improving quality and customer satisfaction is working to attract new customers.

For the 2014 model year, Buick's biggest American sedan receives a mild face-lift and a revised interior with some new color choices and content. Outside, the front and rear end get a little crisper, with LED taillights that evoke the style of the Hyundai Equus; that's not a bad thing, as both the Equus and LaCrosse are attractive cars. Up front, a new grille and headlights keep things fresh and attractive. The overall look is still clean but chunky: This is a big car and there's no disguising that.

Inside, this latest LaCrosse is more refined than before. Material quality, which was good in the 2013, is even better in the 2014 thanks to the addition of an Ultra Luxury Package. The Sangria deep red leather and instrument panel trim with genuine dark ash wood and charcoal carpets look fantastic in this age of "greige" interiors, and they're a welcome improvement on the still-available (and still odd) Choccachino brown-and-blue trim option.

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Even more notable inside the new LaCrosse is the clean redesign of the center console and gauge cluster. Modern Buicks had been suffering from an overabundance of flat black plastic buttons, but the new LaCrosse shows that GM has been listening to customers' complaints with a simplified console that regroups and redesigns everything into a much more usable, user-friendly design. Seventeen hard-to-read buttons have been pared down to just seven. Climate controls and seat heater/cooler buttons have been moved into touch-sensitive panels, which is a slick way to disguise features that are missing in lesser trim models without having to resort to using button "blanks."

The Buick IntelliLink multimedia system in the center console works well and is one of the simpler systems to use on sale today. However, its touch-screen is positioned a little high and forward, requiring a bit of a stretch to reach some of its functions. A new gauge cluster behind the steering wheel is also digital, and it provides several reconfigurable modes that are accompanied by an optional head-up display in full color projected onto the windshield.

Upping the refinement goes beyond the interior updates to the driving experience as well.

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Buick talks about quiet tuning, and it's not just advertising mumbo jumbo. The car is wonderfully silent at speed and around town, with just a faint burble coming from the 3.6-liter V-6 engine's exhaust (a 2.4-liter four-cylinder with eAssist is standard, but the V-6 is a no-cost option). Acceleration is smooth, but not overly quick. Given the heft of the car, it doesn't feel like there is 304 horsepower under the hood. One never lacks for passing power, but it's evident that this is more of a touring sedan than a sport sedan, meant for soaking up miles in comfort rather than blasting down back roads.

Steering is well-tuned, with precise on-center feel and excellent feedback. Road imperfections are well-damped; you can hear them, but you don't much feel them, and they send back no nasty vibrations through the steering wheel. Switch the gear shift to Sport mode and the steering rate and shock tuning supposedly get firmer and more aggressive, but I was unable to discern any appreciable difference in the car's behavior.

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At the end of the day, the new LaCrosse is not about sporting pretense. It's about quiet, safe luxury for not too much money. The base price for the new 2014 LaCrosse is $34,060, including a $925 destination fee, and includes equipment such as Buick's IntelliLink multimedia system, an 8-inch reconfigurable gauge cluster display screen and eight airbags. The Ultra Luxury Package adds $2,495, and all the safety system bells and whistles are available in two Driver Confidence packages.

Driver Confidence I includes forward collision alert, blind spot warning, lane change departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, a head-up display and high-intensity-discharge headlights for $2,125. Choosing that means you can then choose Driver Confidence II, adding adaptive cruise control, a safety alert seat that vibrates to notify you of various warnings and an automatic collision preparation system for $1,745. A variety of wheel sizes are available, from 17 inches up to 20 inches, and all sizes in between. The vehicles I tested cost just over $47,000 completely loaded, which is a good price for a big sedan that easily matches the Lexus ES in refinement and blows it away in electronics sophistication.

Related
Research the 2014 Buick LaCrosse
2014 Buick LaCrosse at the 2013 New York Auto Show
2014 Buick LaCrosse: Photo Gallery

Comments 

Bowrider

Even after all the additions you mentioned, the math doesn't add up to 47K. So, are there some stand-alone options that you didn't mention (e.g., navi, sunroof)?

Bowrider,
I'm sure there were other options. You can build one yourself here: I got it to over $47 with every option checked with FWD.
http://www.cars.com/go/configurator/styles.jsp?acode=USC40BUC081D0&year=2014

sheth

when did the 2013 model have a chocachino and blue interior color option? I thought the "choccachino" interior was added for 2014 and I still don't understand the blue part. In 2013 you could get black, titanium (grey) or cashmere (tan) leather.

toronado455

If they really want this to feel like a big car inside, they should include an option to delete the wide center console to free up space.

J

Too bad that the stalks are still cheap and shares with the lower prices Chevrolets...
Things that customers touch all the time are no places to be cutting cost...

Al

$47K for a Government Motors Buick!
Not on your life!

I'm in the same boat, the car is beautiful, but I think it is overpriced.

Steve

Hard to believe over 300 HP still doesn't feel that fast. I can't imagine having a little 4 cylinder in these heavy cars after 100,000 miles. Interior looks well thought out.

sheth

A loaded version of the V6 powered Avalon, Impala, 300 or Taurus will run you around $42k. Lacrosse is supposed to be more premium than those large sedans. Its priced in line with the ES350 and MKZ.

the car is beautiful, but I think it is overpriced.

spdmidtown

I had a 2012 and now have a 2014 with the brown/pumpkin leather with blue stitching. That's where the blue comes from. Similar to the 2013 Varano had saddle color but a darker saddle. I must say all the small complaints are gone. I got the leather edition with the premium sound,nav,safty, heads up dispay for 37k no sunroof. The ride is better, the transmission is smoother. seats more comfy. I never had any problems with my 2012 and none so far after 6 weeks on the 14. This car is for those of use who want a quite,great ride with good control. I don't want to feel every bump in the street. And I get many who say what a beautiful car. Never had GM before these 2 Lacrosse's and I was sold.
I think everyone needs to get over the 2009 and older Buicks. They seem to have had their problems. GM has finally built a quality car.

;Paul Siler

I just bought a 14 LaCrosse. The wide center console is a bother. Needs a console like my 2005 LeSebre. The touch screen isnt responsive I have to hit icons several times. The styling is what grabbed me. After reading info on the M/S mode I really dont know understand its function or positive aspects of it.

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