Good For: Pimped out Chevrolet. GM is now down to 4 brands, leaving Buick the job of delivering cars that are distinctly nicer than Chevrolet, but cheaper than Cadillac. The Lacrosse's new Epsilon platform handles well, and the 303 hp LFX V6 is quite fun to unleash. GM seems to always build a good motor, and more importantly, they are accessible to everyone. This fun 300+ hp motor is a no-cost option and can be found as base motors in more plebeian cars like the Impala and the $23k Camaro. Unlike the Camaro though, it's on a front-wheel-drive platform so there's a bit of steering-wheel-ripping torque steer when you're having fun. The Lacrosse is also distinctly larger than a Chevrolet sedan - it is so spacious that one wonders how GM ever got away with calling the Impala a "full-size". The "Premium 1" package I drove had everything a nice car should have these days - leather, dual climate control, heated and power seats, remote start, rear A/C, bluetooth, USB, and excessive courtesy lighting. These features are enhanced by GM's excellence in electronics, with nice color computer displays and customizable options. Higher trims offer Cadillac-type comforts such as ventilated seats and a heated steering wheel.
Compromises: I complain about the lack of a hand brake on cars these days, but Buick has implemented the worst one yet - a switch that operates an electronic parking brake. This is a problem that even the manual transmission Regal GS turbo has! Even my wife, who never uses her parking brake, named this "feature" as the first reason she would not buy a Buick.
Overall reaction - None: The Lacrosse was a nice way to roll for the weekend but I could never live with an electronic parking brake either. There are other full-size cars in the price range - I should have gone back to the Hertz counter and asked for the Charger parked next to it...
Monday, 5th of December, 2011