Buick announced in June 2013 that the new 2014 Buick LaCrosse, their flagship luxury sedan, would come to the market with refinements in styling, more and easier to use convenience and technology plus extra luxury touches to satisfy higher-end discriminating buyers.
This month, we got our hands on a new 2014 Buick LaCrosse Premium (1SP) to test drive for a week.
Following our week behind the wheel of this very nice new LaCrosse, we think they got most of that right.
Our test LaCrosse was the Premium 1SP FWD (front-wheel drive) with MSRP of $38,810 and equipped with the 3.6L direct-injected V6 paired with a six-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission that includes Driver Shift Control with tap-up/tap-down. This power train delivers 304 horsepower with 264 lb-ft. of torque and fuel economy of 18/28 mpg City/Highway with an average of 21 mpg.
As you would expect, this Buick had all of the standard features of a luxury sedan such as Keyless Entry with Remote Start, Pushbutton Start, Satellite Radio and OnStar, 8-way Power Adjustable Seats both Driver and Passenger, Heated and Leather Wrapped Steering Wheel with Audio Controls, Power Rear Sunshade, Rear Parking Assist, Electronic Parking Brake, Custom Interior Reading Lighting, Rear Vision Camera and Ice Blue Ambient Lighting in console, front and rear doors and puddle lighting.
Additionally, this test LaCrosse was loaded up with most of the options available - enhancing its standard luxury and performance features.
Those optional packages or features included:
Driver Confidence Package 1 ($2,125) - has Forward Collision, Rear Cross Traffic and Side Blind Zone Alert systems with Lane Departure Warning; High Intensity Adaptive Forward Headlamps; Head-up Display and Front Fog Lamps.
Driver Confidence Package 2 ($1,745) - adds Adaptive Cruise Control and Automatic Collision Preparation.
Power Sunroof with Second Row Skylight ($1,195)
Bose 11-Speaker Centerpoint Surround System with IntelliLink Radio and Navigation ($795)
Crystal Red Tint Coat color ($495)
With delivery, this 2014 Buick LaCrosse Premium (1SP) FWD priced at $46,090.
Our test 2014 LaCrosse , in its sharp Crystal Red Tintcoat, had a very luxurious interior with Light Neutral seating with Cocoa accents - in Soleil Keisel leather - and trimmed around in Kyoto Maple wood decor.
Just getting in, at first look, you knew this was a Buick.
Staying with the interior, this new 2014 LaCrosse had new and more comfortable bucket front seating that is heated and cooled with four-way adjustable head rests and redesigned luxury door panels with convenient controls available for driver or passenger.
The new Center Stack with Integrated Floor Console is a significant improvement for 2014. A complete redesign of the elements and functionality of its system buttons and knobs presented an intuitive and very easy to use control center with fewer knobs (17 to seven) for the next generation Buick IntelliLink infotainment system; an eight-inch Color Touch Screen with swipe and drag technology and Dual-Zone Climate Controls that feature capacitive touch functionality - to name just a few.
We really liked the, very convenient, optional IntelliLink with Navigation system allowed destination entry in a single step instead of a series of successive screen entry steps in prior versions.
Outside, the new 2014 LaCrosse changes are subtle but present a more refined look with changes in the front fascia, grille and hood; angular articulating headlamps with LED accents more boldly placed at the front; full width rear chrome accent and revised fascia; integrated deck lid rear spoiler and new LED tail lamps in new wraparound housings that mirror the wing-shaped structure of the front.
The ride of this new LaCrosse is pure Buick - luxurious yet responsive when and where needed.
This LaCrosse was riding on the standard 20-inch Chrome Wheels with variable Electric Power Steering and StabiliTrak integrated with the available real-time damping and Sport Mode Selectivity (SMS) system. The SMS uses four electronically controlled dampers to read the road and make adjustments real time which gave this LaCrosse a sporty handling feel.
The LaCrosse was also equipped with Buick's HiPer Strut front suspension which reduces torque steer (a common FWD problem) and delivers better camber control with improved impact isolation on rough road surfaces. We found almost no torque steer and near perfect road "noise" isolation in the cabin.
Did we mention how quiet this new LaCrosse is?
Buick calls it Quiet Tuning engineering which uses a three stage process to eliminate outside sound from the cabin. It includes acoustical laminate glass windshield and side windows; steel laminates in the front body dash area; baffles in the roof pillars; generous use of melt-on sound deadeners all through the body and frame with sound-absorbing materials applied where needed.
In just a couple of words - this is one super quiet cabin.
This 2014 Buick LaCrosse was one very nice luxury sedan very well equipped for the $46,090.
Now, if you wanted to go up another step in luxury with this 2014 Buick LaCrosse, you could add the all-new Ultra Luxury interior package that includes dark stained Tamo Ash wood around the cabin, jet black synthetic suede on the headliner and vanity mirrors and Semi-Aniline full leather seats in Sangria color for a mere $2,495.
And, if you wanted to get more performance beyond the real-time damping and Sport Mode Selectivity that would make this LaCrosse even more of a sports sedan, you could add the on-demand traction delivered through a Haldex all-wheel drive with electronic limited slip differential. The Haldex AWD adds performance as it automatically distributes torque on a wheel-by-wheel basis based on speed, throttle position and individual wheel slip for just another $1,075.
For us, the interior package our LaCrosse came equipped with was plenty luxurious enough as delivered.
But for that extra $1,075, we might want to see just how much more performance we could get out of this 2014 Buick LaCrosse as an AWD instead of the FWD.
Maybe next time.