Buick has released pricing information for the 2012 Buick LaCrosse with eAssist, and the good news for fans of the premium mid-size sedan is that the new hybrid model will match the top-tier V-6 engine in terms of pricing. Given that the Buick LaCrosse with eAssist is now the entry-level drivetrain for 2012, Buick has effectively created a single starting price point for the sedan, regardless of engine choice.
The 2012 Buick LaCrosse with eAssist will start at an MSRP of $29,960, which is a bump of $2,830 compared to the 2011 model. Buick has made significant improvements to the 2012 Buick LaCrosse in order to justify the not-insubstantial price increase, of which the most prominent is the inclusion of the all-new eAssist hybrid drivetrain. While the 2011 LaCrosse started out with a 182 horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine under the hood, the base eAssist model replaces this unit with a battery-assisted four-cylinder that puts out approximately the same amount of power but offers much improved fuel economy. The 2012 Buick LaCrosse with eAssist trumps the older model's highway figure by seven miles per gallon (featuring a 37 mile per gallon city rating), as well as a 25 mile per gallon city rating that is six miles per gallon above that belonging to the 2011 LaCrosse.
A further advantage of what General Motors calls the eAssist's 'light electrification'? design is that it doesn't fundamentally change the driving experience of an automobile. The system is intended to kick in with a battery boost under certain conditions out on the road, reducing fuel consumption by relieving some of the load typically borne by the gasoline engine.
The V-6 2012 Buick LaCrosse is now a much better value than it was for 2011, when opting for the $1,370 optional mill drove the price of the sedan to within $600 of its 2012 MSRP. The 2012 Buick LaCrosse's 303 horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 engine is not only a no-cost addition to the automobile's spec sheet, but it offers 23 additional ponies and 5 more lb-ft of twist when compared to the 2011 LaCrosse. Fuel mileage for the six-cylinder motor is expected to remain the same despite the increase in output.
Other new standard equipment that helps to make the 2012 Buick LaCrosse with eAssist a more appealing choice for premium mid-size car buyers includes Bluetooth and USB connectivity, dual climate controls and the Buick IntelliLink feature. This system, which will appear later this year, is designed to connect a smart phone to the LaCrosse's systems in order to enhance voice command control over vehicle functions as well as stream digital radio via the Internet.
Buick is touting the fact that the 2012 Buick LaCrosse with eAssist delivers better highway fuel mileage than both the Lexus HS and the Lincoln MKZ hybrids. While this is of course an important factor for new car buyers seeking the most efficient affordable luxury sedan that they can find, the key takeaway from Buick's pricing strategy is that it has matched Lincoln in offering a no-cost hybrid option. If gasoline / electric drivetrains are ever going to break through to the mainstream, it will most likely be thanks to vehicles which do not ask drivers to pay a premium for the privilege of owning a battery-powered automobile.