Buick Encore
More Vehicles from this Manufacturer

Buick’s headliner is the only model aimed at “traditional” buyers, but the LaCrosse still feels youthful; more tech and toys inside too.

The base 2.4-liter four-cylinder “eAssist” electric helper system and the (optional) stout 3.6-liter V6 carry over unchanged; all models have six-speed automatic transmissions.

Despite being launched in 2009, the Buick LaCrosse remains a popular choice for those enjoying retirement, although it received a small number of improvements last year to help keep the full-size sedan more in line with its siblings. There are LEDs in the headlights and taillights while the front fascia and bumper are gimmick-free. Drag-reducing grille shutters that close automatically are standard on every model, not just the “green” versions. This cuts the underhood parachute effect that wastes more fuel. Mechanically, the entry-level model retains its mild-hybrid electric system to help the 2.4-liter four-cylinder during acceleration. Dubbed “eAssist,” the electric motor — which replaces the alternator — adds 15 horsepower and 79 pound-feet of torque to the 182-horsepower gasoline engine. It uses lithium-ion batteries that also allow the gasoline engine to shut off at stoplights, and regenerates electricity under braking. Top-line versions stick with the 3.6-liter V6 with 304 horsepower, but front-drive V6 models use electric power steering rather than hydraulic to cut parasitic power losses. All models use six-speed automatic transmissions and there’s optional all-wheel-drive. The LaCrosse is perhaps most appreciated inside where its nicely detailed dashboard, console and controls are aging pretty well. The Ultra Luxury package, which uses semi-aniline leather, real “Shado Tamo Ash” wood and a mixed “Sangria/Ebony” color mix, adds some upscale touches. All LaCrosse models get the new-generation IntelliLink touch-screen radio with easier-to-use controls, while options include a power sliding sunroof, heated cloth or leather front seats, steering-wheel-mounted audio and climate controls and numerous audio-system upgrades. Seeing as how the range-topping Cadillac XTS was developed from the LaCrosse, it’s only fitting that the Buick makes many of the Caddy’s safety systems available. Things like blind-spot warning and lane-change warning, front-collision alert and — for the first time on a Buick — active cruise control. The well-equipped base model uses 17-inch wheels, but several alloy wheels sizes — including 20-inchers — can be had. New standard features for 2015 include a rear-view camera, four-way adjustable front headrests and an OnStar-subscription-based 4G LTE mobile Wi-Fi hotspot with a three-month trial.