About the Car
This summer, the 2012 Buick LaCrosse goes on sale, with the fuel-saving eAssist™ system standard. Using a variety of technologies and exterior enhancements, it delivers an estimated 36 mpg on the highway and 25 mpg in the city – a 20-percent improvement in highway mileage and a 32-percent boost in city mileage over previous models.
LaCrosse’s fuel economy rivals – or exceeds – that of small cars like the MINI Cooper (28 city/36 hwy with automatic transmission) and Toyota Corolla (26 city/34 hwy with 1.8L and automatic transmission), but does so in a full-size luxury package that comfortably seats five adults. MSRP is $29,960 before an $860 destination charge.
“Given the uncertainty of today’s fuel prices, the LaCrosse with eAssist is a smart and timely choice for customers who seek excellent fuel economy and want the roominess and features of a full-size luxury sedan,” said Tony DiSalle, U.S. vice president, Buick marketing. “The winning combination of advanced technology, no-compromise driving performance and luxurious style and passenger comfort stand to make LaCrosse with eAssist a must-have sedan.”
The LaCrosse with eAssist not only rivals the fuel economy of small cars, it trumps the efficiency of non-hybrid segment competitors and is on par with the more expensive hybrid models. The chart below compares LaCrosse with its main competitors’ 2011 EPAated fuel economy numbers.
|Buick LaCrosse witheAssist||Acura TL||Lexus ES350||LincolnMKS||Lexus HS Hybrid||LincolnMKZ Hybrid||ToyotaCamry Hybrid|
|MPG||25 city / 36 hwy||18 city / 26 hwy||19 city / 27 hwy||17 city / 24 hwy||35 city / 34 hwy||41 city / 36 hwy||31 city / 35 hwy|
The eAssist system is mated to a 2.4L Ecotec direct-injection four-cylinder engine and next-generation six-speed automatic transmission. It uses power stored in an advanced, air-cooled lithium-ion battery to provide needed electrical boost in various driving scenarios, optimizing engine and transmission operation. An advanced 115V lithium-ion battery and latest-generation 15-kW motor-generator unit help increase fuel economy through:
- Regenerative braking, which provides up to 15 kW of electricity to charge the battery
- Providing up to 15 hp (11 kW) of electric power assistance during heavier acceleration
- Automatic and smooth engine start-stop functionality when the vehicle is stopped
- The use of electricity instead of gasoline when stopped
- Aggressive fuel cut-off during deceleration down to zero mph for added fuel savings
- Intelligent charge/discharge of the high-voltage battery.
The eAssist system captures up to 15kW of energy that would be normally lost during braking and uses it to recharge the lithium-ion battery. The system also shuts down fuel delivery in certain deceleration conditions, further improving fuel economy. While in fuel shut-off mode, the motor-generator unit continues spinning along with the engine to provide immediate and smooth take-off power when the driver presses on the accelerator. As the vehicle comes to a stop, the engine’s start-stop function is active when the motor-generator unit brings the engine to a smooth stop to position it properly for a smooth restart when the brake is released.
A hill-assist system captures brake pressure to help keep the vehicle stationary when eAssist’s start-stop function is activated on a moderate or steep grade, allowing the driver to accelerate more smoothly from a stop.
Buick LaCrosse with eAssist technology also features improved underbody aerodynamics and tires optimized for performance and fuel economy, as well as active control of front-end airflow that improves aerodynamics and engine warm-up. Electronically controlled shutters in the lower grille close at higher speeds to push more air over the vehicle, which increases aerodynamic efficiency to enhance fuel economy. All of these technologies increase the eAssist system’s regenerative braking capability, while also improving the vehicle’s efficiency while driving.
An ECO gauge on the instrument panel continuously responds to driving behavior, allowing the driver to drive with maximum efficiency.
LaCrosse luxury, quietness and personal technology
In the pursuit of greater fuel efficiency, the LaCrosse with eAssist gives up none of the driving attributes, quietness or technology that have helped make this luxury sedan one of the fastest-selling in the segment.
The driving experience is underpinned by a four-wheel independent suspension system, including a four-link rear suspension that uses isolating mounts to minimize noise and vibration. StabiliTrak electronic stability control system is standard, as is a variable-effort power steering system, four-wheel disc brakes with four-channel ABS, electronic brake force distribution and brake assist system.
Inside is a flowing, uninterrupted design theme that wraps around the instrument and door panels. Attention to detail is evident throughout the interior, including the analog instrument cluster, chrome offset by dark woodgrain accents, and contrasting stitching on the instrument panel. Ice blue ambient lighting is used throughout the cabin, including the center console, instrument panel and door handle pockets.
Buick’s signature QuietTuning – an engineering process to reduce, block and absorb interior noise – provides a distraction-free passenger environment.
The contemporary atmosphere of the cabin is accented with available digital connectivity and personal technologies including in-dash navigation with a 40-gig hard drive (10 gigs reserved for music), Bluetooth, an auxiliary audio input and a USB port. Rear-seat passengers can enjoy an available power rear-window sunshade and a DVD entertainment system with two display screens integrated into the seatbacks.
Later in the year, LaCrosse with eAssist will come with standard Buick IntelliLink, which uses Bluetooth or USB to connect the driver’s smartphone to a new eight-inch, highesolution, full-color touch screen display radio. IntelliLink expands on Buick’s current Bluetooth and USB capabilities to allow smartphone control via voice activation and steering wheel-mounted controls. It also enables streaming stereo audio from the phone through services like PANDORA® Internet radio and Stitcher SmartRadio®.
Most importantly, Buick IntelliLink enables seamless integration of stowed portable devices with each vehicle’s infotainment system, allowing drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
LaCrosse’s intelligent technologies also work to deliver a 360-degree field of vision behind the steering wheel, for a greater feeling of comfort, security and safety. Side Blind Zone Alert technology, which notifies the driver if a vehicle in adjacent lanes is traveling in the driver’s blind spot, is available, as is a rearview camera system that features a display integrated into the navigation system screen.
The technologies available on LaCrosse enhance standard safety features including front-, side- and roof-mounted head-curtain air bags, and GM’s StabiliTrak stability- and traction-control system. The safety and security of OnStar is also included for the first year of ownership.
LaCrosse with eAssist is manufactured at GM’s Fairfax Assembly facility in Kansas City, Kan.
Buick is a modern luxury brand offering vehicles with sculpted designs, luxurious interiors with thoughtful personal technologies, along with responsive-yet-efficient performance. Buick is attracting new customers with its portfolio of award-winning models, including the Enclave crossover, LaCrosse sedan, Regal sport sedan and highly anticipated all-new 2012 Buick Verano compact luxury sedan. Buick is the fastest growing major brand in the U.S. and remains a best-selling brand in China, with continuing record growth. Learn more about Buick cars and crossovers at www.buick.com, on Twitter @buick or atwww.facebook.com/buick.
All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site’s Disclaimer for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.
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