The stunning 2011 Buick LaCrosse, redesigned from the ground up last year, gets a new four-cylinder engine to the lineup. Previously only offered with V-6 powerplants, LaCrosse buyers now have the opportunity to select a highly fuel-efficient small engine that delivers 30 mpg highway.
The 2.4-liter Ecotec four-cylinder engine now becomes the standard powerplant in the 2011 LaCrosse CX and CXL models. Buick announces other changes to its LaCrosse line for 2011: the 255-horsepower 3.0-liter V-6 is discontinued for the new model year while the 280-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 is offered only on the CXS trim starting at about $33,765.
The LaCrosse CX test car, painted in Summit White with a two-tone dark-and-light Titanium interior,was equipped with the new-for-2011 I4 engine. The tester’s base price was $26,245. Optional 17-inch machined aluminum wheels ($350) and the $750 destination charge brought the out-the-door $27,345.
Premium midsize sedan buyers who place more of an emphasis on fuel economy over V-6 performance will appreciate that Buick is addressing their needs in this market segment. The 16-valve, 2.4-liter four-cylinder with Direct Injection produces 182 horsepower at 6,700 rpm and 172 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,900 rpm.
This little four-cylinder engine is mated to a fuel saving six-speed automatic transmission.
Aided by the sophisticated low-emissions-producing Direct Injection fuel technology, this engine/transmission combination returns 30 miles per gallon in highway driving. City driving returns are rated much lower at 19 mpg.
Buick is covering all of its bases in appealing to the five-passenger premium sedan segment. With a spread of some $6,700 separating the base prices of the 182-hp I4 and the 280-hp V-6 LaCrosse models, the small engine buyer is treated to a glamorous interior that matches the V-6. The larger engine LaCrosse benefits from a unique suspension system called HiPer Strut — short for High Performance Strut. This model comes with standard 18-inch wheels, with 19-inch wheels as an option. The CXS owner is going to get a better ride quality with the HiPer Strut suspension. All models come with Buick’s Quiet Tuning, a noise reduction engineered process that keeps road noise out of the passenger environment.
This luxurious interior is not subdued or boring. The LaCrosse design and appointments are interesting to look at, vibrant and fun. It’s a wrap-around design theme up front that extends along the dashboard, driver instrumentations and door panels. High contrasts are offered by chrome trim accents offset by wood grain and contrasting stitching on the instrument panel. Ice Blue ambient lighting appears throughout the cabin interior — along the door handles, instrument gauge panel and overhead map and door lights.
The 2011 LaCrosse exterior is sculpted work with taut lines and signature Buick chrome bodyside portholes that reflect a balanced harmony to the interior.
Contemporary technology conveniences compliment the interior, such as in-dash navigation, a 40GB music hard drive and available digital connectivity and Bluetooth. Other options include adaptive high-intensity display headlights, Sideview Blind Alert and rearview backup camera.
Between the new four-cylinder and the V-6, LaCrosse buyers have well-rounded options to select from for 2011. — Connie Keane, Motor Matters
Next New On Wheels: 2011 Honda Odyssey
Next Bonus Wheels: Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon
2011 BUICK LACROSSE CX
VEHICLE TYPE_________________ 5-passenger midsize FWD sedan
BASE PRICE___________________ $26,245 (as tested: $27,345)
ENGINE TYPE__________________ 16-valve 4-cylinder w/DI
HORSEPOWER (net)_____________ 182 at 6700 rpm
TORQUE (lb.-ft.)_____________ 172 at 4900 rpm
TRANSMISSION_________________ 6-speed automatic
WHEELBASE____________________ 111.7 in.
OVERALL LENGTH_______________ 197 in.
TURNING CIRCLE (curb-to-curb) 38.8 ft.
FUEL CAPACITY________________ 18.4 gal.
EPA MILEAGE RATING___________ 19 mpg city, 30 mpg highway
AUDI TT RS: Audi announced it is bringing the 360-horsepower Audi TT RS coupe to the U.S. market by the third quarter of 2011. To gauge consumer passion for the high-performance car, Audi launched an innovative survey on its Facebook tab. After more than 11,500 fans expressed their enthusiasm for the Audi TT RS in just one month, executives concluded the car’s time had come. The car will come with the award-winning 2.5-liter TFSI, five-cylinder engine that generates 360 horsepower. (Source: Audi)
ASK AUTO DOCTOR: The clearcoat finish is peeling on my 2003 Saab 9-5. The dealer told me that this is not a warranty item and would cost me $700 to have repaired. Can you suggest how else I may approach this? Answer: Paint peeling problems have plagued manufacturers for years. With the minimal cost of repair, the dealer and manufacturer should cover the paint problem out of goodwill. The average car buyer is worth over $300,000 to the dealer over a lifetime for purchases and service. (Source: Ask the Auto Doctor, Motor Matters)
CADILLAC CTS-V CONQUERS: Cadillac is making a big push for recognition with an all-new 2011 CTS-V, a 190-mph, 556-horsepower sports sedan. “My hope is China becomes a significant presence for us,” says Jim Vurpillat, Cadillac’s global marketing director. He also says that Russia is another market in which Cadillac hopes to grow its sales volume. “Long term, we’ve felt that up to 25 percent of Cadillac’s volume could be sold outside the U.S.,” he says. Vurpillat notes that Cadillac is exported to 35 countries. (Source: Down the Road, Motor Matters)
Copyright, Motor Matters, 2010