Thursday, June 17, 2010

2010 Buick LaCrosse CXS

The reinvention of the Buick brand that began with the Enclave SUV entered its second act with the launch of the 2010 LaCrosse. This is the first truly international Buick; a car designed for Chinese market, where 80 percent of all Buicks are now sold, as well as here in America, where it's tasked with reversing Buick's 70-to-dead demographic.

We've been pleasantly surprised by the new LaCrosse: it performed well in our Car of the Year judging, and it beat Lexus' ES 350 in a recent comparison test. But we wanted to find out whether this was a car that delivered more than just a good first impression, which is why we're welcoming a 2010 LaCrosse CXS to the Motor Trend long-term test fleet.

The CXS is top banana in the LaCrosse lineup, boasting a 280-horse version of the 3.6-liter DI V-6 under the hood, and a comprehensively equipped interior that includes leather trim, heated and cooled front seats, a heated steering wheel, an 11-speaker harmon/kardon sound system, satellite radio, and dual-zone automatic climate control in the $33,765 sticker.

2010 Buick Lacrosse Front Nose Profile Closeup

We're no fans of the glitzy chrome-plated 18-inch wheels that come standard on the CXS, so we spent $800 on the Touring Package, which gave us tasteful machine-finished 19-inch alloys with P245/40R19 Goodyear Eagle RS-A all-season tires, and continuously variable damping. We also ordered the nav and backup camera package ($1995), the big glass sunroof ($995), Xenon headlamps ($695), rear airbags ($350) and the head-up display ($350), bringing the total price to $38,950. That's still about five grand under a similarly equipped Lexus ES 350.

We've covered almost 4500 miles in the LaCrosse so far, and the thing about driving a Buick around L.A. is you don't see a lot of them. So the LaCrosse draws plenty of curious stares from car-savvy Angelinos. As far as we can tell they like the dramatic styling-certainly the reinterpretation of the classic Buick "sweep-spear" along the body side is like nothing else in the traffic. Those who've ridden inside have been impressed with the room and hushed ride.

This Buick stands out, but in a good way. Now we'll see if it stands up too.

source: motortrend