Autotropolis 2010 Car of the Year: Buick LaCrosse
For years, the Buick division of General Motors has been looked at as an aging brand, but coming out of bankruptcy GM is looking to position Buick against luxury brands such as Lexus. In the midst of one of its most important model launches of all time, the all-new Buick LaCrosse gives GM a competent sedan to go up against a segment full of German and Asian automakers including the Hyundai Genesis - our 2009 Car of the Year. Following up the popular Buick Enclave crossover, Buick has given itself the best chance ever to really compete against luxury import brands with the 2010 Buick LaCrosse (also known as the Buick Allure). Standing out as the top new sedan in its segment, our editorial staff has named the Buick LaCrosse the 2010 Autotropolis Car of the Year.
The Buick LaCrosse definitely had some stiff competition from cars such as the Ford Taurus, Hyundai Genesis Coupe, Subaru Legacy and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, but the redesigned Buick sedan won our car of the year pick by handily beating out the competition in all categories including styling, comfort and value. Until the arrival of the all-new Buick Regal next year, the Buick LaCrosse will stand as the brand's entry-level model slotting in beneath the Lucerne with a starting MSRP of $27,085.
New from the ground up for 2010, the all-new Buick LaCrosse is much more athletic than its predecessor, which gives Buick its sportiest looking car since the demise of the Grand National. The rounded edges of the first-generation LaCrosse give way to hard lines and dominant features on the new model. Buick's signature waterfall grill remains the highlight of the front end, but the oddly shaped quadruple headlights of the old model were replaced by rectangular shaped lamps that give the car a bolder face. The abundance of chrome is also a Buick trait, and the new LaCrosse doesn't disappoint with the shiny accents noticeable from every angle. Attention to detail is very apparent on the new Buick LaCrosse as evident by the portholes integrated into the hood, the stylish side body creases and the dual exhaust outlets that are elegantly integrated into the rear fascia.
Like the Buick Enclave, the 2010 Buick LaCrosse not only offers a luxurious and comfortable interior, but it does so with exquisite styling as well. In terms of size and space, the new Buick sedan is probably no different than past models, but it's the cabin materials and the remarkable fit and finish that won us over. Most of the surfaces are covered in soft touch materials with a stylish layout that includes faux wood accents on the steering wheel, shift lever, center stack and surrounding the instrument panel and door panels. High-tech features are also available including GM's large, touch-screen display, a panoramic sunroof and heads-up display. As is expected from any luxury sedan, the 2010 Buick LaCrosse offers plenty of rear-seat legroom as well as decent trunk space for multiple golf bags.
The engine choices available in the Buick LaCrosse were also helpful in determining this year's pick. Powering the 2010 Buick LaCrosse, the CX and CXL models use a 255-horsepower 3.0-liter direct-injected V-6, while the top-of-the-line CXS gets a 280-horsepower 3.6-liter direct-injected V-6. These engines offer decent fuel economy of up to 17 miles per gallon in the city and 27 mpg on the highway, but the Buick LaCrosse will be adding another engine option for even better fuel mileage. At some point later this year, Buick will offer the base LaCrosse CX standard with a 2.4-liter Ecotec inline-4 engine that gets an estimated 30 miles per gallon on the highway - an improvement of 4 mpg compared to the current base V-6. All models come standard with a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive, but the CXS offers all-wheel drive as an option.
Autotropolis congratulates Buick as we name the new LaCrosse our 2010 Car of the Year.