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January 01, 2010

New Car Review: The 2010 Buick LaCrosse

By Bob Plunkett

2010buicklacrosse The revamped LaCrosse, sleek in a stylish new design drawn with taut lines and keen edgework, carries a powerful new direct-injection V6 engine and mounts exacting mechanical hardware on a rigid new front-wheel-drive (RWD) platform to deliver precise handling traits.  The 2010 Buick LaCrosse, completely redesigned with a choice of fuel-thrifty V6 engines and optional all-wheel-drive (AWD) traction, was unveiled at the 2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Keep in mind that Buick has become one of the biggest brand stars in the vast consumer car market emerging in the Peoples Republic of China.  Developing the 2010 LaCrosse was a global effort.

The design for LaCrosse's luxurious five-seat passenger compartment occurred in China at GM's Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC).  Sheetmetal styling originated in the United States at GM's Technical Center in Warren, Mich., and the new vehicle comes together at GM's Fairfax Assembly Plant in Kansas City.

Steering is a rack and pinion design with variable-effort assistance. The driver gets a good feel for the road through this system, which is firm and quick at highway speed yet compliant and easy to work for slow-go movement in a parking lot.  Brakes include a large disc at every wheel linked to an anti-lock brake system (ABS).  And LaCrosse CXL and CXS upgrade to GM's StabiliTrak electronic vehicle skid control system.  LaCrosse CX rolls on 17-inch wheels, with CXL stocking 18-inch aluminum rollers and CXS using chrome-plated 18-inchers or optional 19s. 

The FWD architecture works for all LaCrosse editions, although for CLX there's on-demand electronically controlled AWD equipment available. This intelligent system uses a computer and wheel sensors in conjunction with ABS and StabiliTrak to determine how much power to apply at each wheel for maintaining tire traction on wet roads. 

LaCrosse CX employs a 3.0-liter V6 to generate 255 hp at 6950 rpm and 217 lb-ft of torque at 5600 rpm. Transaxle is GM's fuel-saving Hydra-Matic 6T70 six-speed automatic with tap-up/tap-down driver shift control.  And the federal EPA sets fuel economy numbers for this LaCrosse powertrain at 18 mpg City and 27 mpg Highway.  LaCrosse CXL and CXS stock a 3.6-liter V6 which develops 280 hp at 6400 rpm with torque climbing to 259 lb-ft at 5200 rpm.  With the larger V6 in play, LaCrosse earns EPA scores up to 26 mpg for the highway.

Extensive safety measures apply, including air bags surrounding front-seat riders and stretching like curtains in concealmentabove front and rear side windows. 

LaCrosse's tasteful two-tone passenger compartment provides seats for five including form-fitting front buckets and lots of amenities.  LaCrosse CX shows standard equipment like premium cloth upholstery, power controls for windows and door locks and mirrors, a steering wheel that tilts and telescopes, air conditioning and an audio kit with AM/FM/CD/MP3.  LaCrosse CXL adds leather-clad heated seats, twin-zone automatic climate controls and foglamps, while CXS features perforated leather upholstery with front seats heated and cooled.  The list of options includes high intensity discharge (HID) headlights with adaptive forward lighting, GM's Side Blind Zone Alert, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a backseat DVD entertainment kit. 

Buick posts MSRP figures for the 2010 LaCrosse in a range from $27,085 to $33,015.

For more information see RTM's Nissan Buying Guide or visit

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