Nuts & Bolts

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The bottom line: The 2010 Buick LaCrosse is a genuine contender in the market for mid-size to large premium family sedans. Shoppers in those segments are well-advised to put this one on their list. People who have not lately looked at GM or Buick will be pleasantly surprised.

Complaints: Buick's designers sacrificed some aspects of visibility front and rear in pursuit of hot styling. As a result, would-be buyers are advised to take the optional rear-view camera, electronic proximity distance monitoring (for bump-free parking) and blind-side-monitoring equipment offered with this car.

Ride, acceleration and handling in the tested 3.6-liter V-6 LaCrosse CXS: It gets excellent grades in all three.

Head-turning quotient inside and out: It beats everything in its class, especially at night, when the interior is softly lit with blue accent lighting around the dashboard and center-mounted instrument panel.

Body style/layout: The 2010 Buick LaCrosse is a premium, mid-size/large, front-engine family sedan with a traditional notchback trunk. It initially is available with front-wheel drive and two six-cylinder engines in three content iterations, CX, CXL and CXS. Later in 2010, it also will be available with a four-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive.

Engine/transmission in the 2010 Buick LaCrosse CXS: It is equipped with a 3.6-liter, 24-valve, double-overhead cam V-6 that develops 280 horsepower at 6,300 RPM and 259 foot-pounds of torque at 4,800 RPM. The engine is mated to a six-speed transmission that can be operated automatically or manually.

Capacities: There are seats for five people. Cargo capacity is an adequate -- for most family sedan loads -- 13 cubic feet. The fuel tank holds 18.4 gallons of recommended regular unleaded gasoline.

Mileage: 14 to 20 miles per gallon in the city and 22 to 32 mpg on the highway, depending on road conditions, driving style, speed and load.

Safety: Standard equipment includes ventilated front discs and solid rear discs with antilock protection, electronic brake force distribution to strategically tailor braking pressure in emergency maneuvers, electronic stability and traction control, and side and head air bags.

Price: The base price on the 2010 Buick LaCrosse CXS is $33,015. Dealer's invoice price on that model is $31,529. Price as tested is $37,880, including $4,115 in options and a $750 destination charge. Dealer's price as tested is $35,901. Prices are sourced from Buick, and, an affiliate of The Washington Post.

© 2009 The Washington Post Company