2014 Buick LaCrosse: First Drive


For the 2014 model year, Buick's biggest American sedan receives a mild face-lift and a revised interior with some new color choices and content. Outside, the front and rear end get a little crisper, with LED taillights that evoke the style of the Hyundai Equus; that's not a bad thing, as both the Equus and LaCrosse are attractive cars. Up front, a new grille and headlights keep things fresh and attractive. The overall look is still clean but chunky: This is a big car and there's no disguising that.

Inside, this latest LaCrosse is more refined than before. Material quality, which was good in the 2013, is even better in the 2014 thanks to the addition of an Ultra Luxury Package. The Sangria deep red leather and instrument panel trim with genuine dark ash wood and charcoal carpets look fantastic in this age of "greige" interiors, and they're a welcome improvement on the still-available (and still odd) Choccachino brown-and-blue trim option.


The Buick IntelliLink multimedia system in the center console works well and is one of the simpler systems to use on sale today. However, its touch-screen is positioned a little high and forward, requiring a bit of a stretch to reach some of its functions. A new gauge cluster behind the steering wheel is also digital, and it provides several reconfigurable modes that are accompanied by an optional head-up display in full color projected onto the windshield.

Upping the refinement goes beyond the interior updates to the driving experience as well.


Steering is well-tuned, with precise on-center feel and excellent feedback. Road imperfections are well-damped; you can hear them, but you don't much feel them, and they send back no nasty vibrations through the steering wheel. Switch the gear shift to Sport mode and the steering rate and shock tuning supposedly get firmer and more aggressive, but I was unable to discern any appreciable difference in the car's behavior.


Driver Confidence I includes forward collision alert, blind spot warning, lane change departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, a head-up display and high-intensity-discharge headlights for $2,125. Choosing that means you can then choose Driver Confidence II, adding adaptive cruise control, a safety alert seat that vibrates to notify you of various warnings and an automatic collision preparation system for $1,745. A variety of wheel sizes are available, from 17 inches up to 20 inches, and all sizes in between. The vehicles I tested cost just over $47,000 completely loaded, which is a good price for a big sedan that easily matches the Lexus ES in refinement and blows it away in electronics sophistication.


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