Buick suffers the taint of microwaved leftovers. Every model found at a Buick dealership looks and smells like it's ready for consumption, but possesses the shelf life of leftover lasagna. LaCrosse, Rainier, Rendezvous, Terraza, and now, the 2006 Buick Lucerne, are band-aids designed to shore up sales until the real Buick renaissance begins with the reintroduction of rear-wheel-drive to this formerly proud premium General Motors division.
We're not drinking the corporate Kool-Aid, but of this rag-tag group, the 2006 Lucerne has clearly benefited from the revitalization currently sweeping GM and, more than any other vehicle found in a Buick showroom, serves to support the brand's positioning of attainable elegance. This is no dream car, but it strikes us as an interesting alternative to the equally cushy Lexus ES 330.
Replacing the LeSabre and Park Avenue in Buick's lineup, the 2006 Lucerne is a large, front-wheel-drive sedan based on an extensively re-engineered version of the existing LeSabre platform. GM's familiar 3.8-liter, 195-horsepower V6 engine is standard, but a 4.6-liter V8 estimated to make 275 horsepower is available, making the Lucerne the first Buick passenger car in a decade to be equipped with an eight-cylinder engine. Either engine is matched to a four-speed automatic transmission.