2014 Buick LaCrosse test drive review. The pride of Kansas City
One of the most underrated luxury cars on the planet is built right here at the GM Fairfax Assembly Plant in Kansas City. Take a look at this 2014 Buick LaCrosse. Yes, Buicks are often considered old folks’ cars. Yes, this is the biggest car in the Buick lineup. And no, that chrome tri-shield is not going to impress your neighbors like a three-pointed star or a blue-and-white propeller. But if you can put all of those pre-conceived notions aside, you’ll realize that this is one of the most well-appointed, quality-built luxury cars there is. Pay attention, folks, because this became a mighty nice car while everyone was looking over there.
The LaCrosse was significantly refreshed inside and out for 2014. Now, some of the things that made outgoing car popular are still there. Most notable is the trademark Buick sweepspear, which continues to define the side body contour. Also retained are the Buick portholes, although they have been moved to the side of the hood instead of on top of it. Other obvious changes on the exterior of the car include a more prominent waterfall grille treatment, and new LED lighting with a winged design theme.
But the greatest strides were made on the inside. If you ever read that this interior lacks for quality in any way, don’t ever believe anything that writer ever says again. This car is beautiful inside, with plenty of rich leather, exquisite French stitching, and pleasing shapes, textures, and colors. My test vehicle was a Premium model with what Buick called a Choccachino interior with Cocoa accents. They made it sound delicious in there, because it was delicious. OK, I didn’t actually lick the headrests, but I thought about it.
And quiet? Don’t even get me started. They even put sound-deadening laminate on the glass. This thing must have 2,500-lbs of foam (or Dynamat, or whatever the kids are calling it—Buick calls it “QuietTuning”). This is a complete sensory deprivation chamber. But it’s not like an old Electra where the mushy suspension soaks everything up. This car is just sealed up tight. Don’t ride with a guy who just had burritos for lunch, because the toxic air is not going to get out. If you goose it, you might hear the faint burble of the engine, but you really have to be listening.
That engine you would be hearing in this car would be a 3.6-liter, 303-hp, direct-injected V6. It runs through a six-speed automatic transmission, and the powertrain is just as smooth and refined as the rest of the car. It has plenty of power. You never feel it coming on. It’s one of those cars that you could easily drive 90 and think you were going 60. It’s not dramatic. It’s not crazy. It’s not even particularly fun. It just performs at a high level, and it does it so perfectly that you don’t even realize it. It reminds me of NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson. He doesn’t slide through the corners or hang his elbows out the window. But somehow he managed to bag five straight championships.
The thing that really reminds you that this isn’t grandpa’s Buick is all the technology. I mean, what doesn’t it have? We’re talking about Buick’s eight-inch touch screen Intellilink radio, navigation, weather, and Bluetooth streaming system. It has OnStar, a backup camera, an eight-way power memory seat, dual-zone climate control, a head-up display, and keyless entry and push start. There is something beeping, talking, vibrating, or flashing every time you get behind the wheel. At first, it can almost be overwhelming. But with time, you develop a confidence and comfort with all these systems, and wonder how you ever lived without them.
Yep, this is an awfully good car. And it has a price tag to match. With an as-tested price of $45,595, you would expect it to be something special. If your car is, say, a 1996 Chevy Impala, that number seems ridiculous. But if you compare this car to others in this segment, that price becomes more reasonable. The days of a car of this caliber coming in at under 30-grand have passed.