Base and Leather are powered by a 182-horsepower, 2.4L Ecotec inline 4-cylinder engine, now with eAssist, which adds a 15-hp electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack. The unit increases fuel economy by an average of 25 percent, helping to achieve EPA estimates of 25 mpg city and 36 mpg highway. Premium I and Premium II trims, as well as the all-wheel-drive version of the Leather LaCrosse, benefit from a 303-hp 3.6L V6 producing 264-pound-feet of torque. That engine returns 17 mpg city and 27 mpg highway. Both engines are paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission that includes tap-shift manual control.
The LaCrosse is built on a stiff body structure, which helps improve handling while still providing a smooth ride. Sound-deadening materials have been used extensively throughout the car, and the LaCrosse offers one of the quietest rides on the road. A rather conventional suspension layout, with MacPherson struts and a stabilizer bar in front and a multi-link setup in back, combines with variable-effort rack-and-pinion steering and 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes to provide good all-around performance. Premium models feature Buick's HiPer Strut front suspension, which helps keep torque steer to a minimum.
Standard safety features on all LaCrosse models include GM's StabiliTrak stability control, plus driver and front passenger side-impact airbags and side-curtain airbags that cover front and rear occupants. Rear-seat side thorax bags are optional.
With an overall size that may be a bit larger than other mid-size cars, while not as barge-like as many full-size executive cars, the LaCrosse is a good choice for those who carry adults in the rear seats. While the interior is spacious and well-appointed, the design of the instrument panel will get the most attention. With a new style and flowing lines that wrap from the door panels around through the instruments, accented by dark woodgrain and contrast stitching, this Buick feels more detailed inside than either Buicks of the past. Soft leather surfaces, along with smoked chrome and wood trim, help support the upscale feel throughout the cabin. A new-for-2014 instrument cluster includes a configurable center display and a large digital speed indicator front and center and any other information the driver chooses in between easy-to-read gauges.
The LaCrosse covers a pretty wide range in price and equipment depending on the trim, and even the Base model comes nicely equipped with Bluetooth, air conditioning, a power driver's seat, tilt/telescopic leather steering, cruise control, keyless entry and a CD sound system that includes XM Satellite Radio and steering-wheel controls. Leather Group adds front heated leather seats with 8-way power adjustability for the passenger, as well as heated exterior mirrors. Step up to the various Premium Groups and the Lacrosse's equipment includes Rear Park Assist, ventilated seats, 18-inch wheels, rear sunshades, a Harman/Kardon audio system and more. The Premium II comes with standard 20-inch alloy wheels and integrated navigation among other enhancements.
The Driver Confidence package comes with Blind Zone Alert with Lane Change Alert and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, systems intended to compensate for driver inattention and other blind spots and inattention to prevent accidents. It also comes with adaptive HID headlamps.
The Ultra Luxury package is just that, bringing a higher grade leather seat material, real wood accents in the dash and door panels as well as a suede headliner and visor vanity mirror stitching.