First Drive- 2014 Buick LaCrosse Redefines Class

by Tony West and Jamar Lee
2014 Buick LaCrosse
2014 Buick LaCrosse

The 2014 Buick LaCrosse hits the streets with new swag inside and out. With a reputation as a gentleman’s’ automobile, the always sophisticated Buick has been improving itself for a few years. But for 2014, Buick has modernized the LaCrosse with a stylish tech-advanced design that attracts older professionals, young stunners and a lot in between. The new LaCrosse is available as an all-wheel drive model or a front-wheel drive model each with four trim levels: the base model LaCrosse; the Leather LaCrosse, the LaCrosse Premium, and the LaCrosse Premium II. We reviewed the LaCrosse Premium. [divider]

Design a Modern Remix

Buick gets a lot of stuff right with its new design. Eleven interior colors are offered with four contrast combinations. My favorite color is Midnight Amethyst paint job – a deep plum contrasted with a copper colored interior. The LaCrosse’s more stout body shape adds hip and legroom.

2014 Buick LaCrosse
2014 Buick LaCrosse

Cool are the new LED daytime running lights, Bi Xenon HID headlights and the wing-shaped wraparound taillights. Buick’s waterfall grille now projects further and reflects a subtle blue hue. New standard active grill shutters close at high speeds to reduce drag. Buick designers also updated the rear of the LaCrosse with the rear spoiler incorporated into the trailer edge of the decklid also enhancing aerodynamics.

2014 Buick LaCrosse rear wing tip wrap around taillights
2014 Buick LaCrosse rear wing tip wrap around taillights

The rear also has chrome accents on the dual exhausts and on the truck. Chrome accents also trick out the grille, door sills and the hood vents. The LaCrosse also comes standard with 19 inch wheels.  These small enhancements give the 2014 Buick LaCrosse a modern look and more prominent stance.[divider]

Swagged Out Sophisticated Interior

Inside the 2014 Buick LaCrosse is cool leather trimmed spacious cabin with tons of amenities. The  LaCrosse is refreshed with soft leather, cool contrasting accents and stitching, custom ambient lighting, and lots of technology for safety, comfort, and infotainment.

2014 Buick LaCrosse interior
2014 Buick LaCrosse interior

The interior of the 2014 LaCrosse features a leather wrapped heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, dual zone climate control and an air filtration system. A power moonroof, rear camera, and power rear sunshade are options included in the Leather Package. I enjoyed the keyless entry, remote start, and the 8 inch driver information center and 8 inch touchscreen. I also enjoyed the comfort of the Buick LaCrosse. The front seating has a wraparound design that allows for 41 inches of front legroom and 40 inches of rear legroom. Also cool is the 4 way adjustable headrest and carpeted floor mats.

2014 Buick LaCrosse interior
2014 Buick LaCrosse interior
2014 Buick LaCrosse 8 inch touchscreen weather forecast
2014 Buick LaCrosse weather forecast

The center stack is more sophisticated with half as many buttons as the previous model. Now more functions are accessed with the 8 inch touchscreen. The touchscreen features full color navigation with real time traffic alerts, weather forecasts, and XM satellite radio. Buick’s next generation IntelliLink features colorful easy-to-use customizable functions including voice command, phone, audio, and other media. IntelliLink also allows for up to 60 favorites including contacts, radio stations, destinations, and other media to be stored.

Standard is a 7-speaker audio system. An 11-speaker Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound System is also available. The Bose sound system is pristine and powerful. QuietTuning Technology features a sound absorbing laminate on the windshield along with sound deadeners throughout the body structure.  QuietTuning ensures that the Buick’s ride is tranquil.

2014 Buick LaCrosse interior backseat
2014 Buick LaCrosse interior backseat
2014 Buick LaCrosse leather with suede accents
2014 Buick LaCrosse leather with suede accents

The Ultra Luxury Interior Package adds Sangria and Ebony leather seat options and trim with Shadow Tamo Ash Wood. The Ultra Luxury Package also features synthetic suede on the door pillars and headliner. My only drawback in my ride in the LaCrosse was the seat moving back when I opened the door, and up only after I started the ignition which seems counterproductive when I need to have my foot on the brake to start the car. Also, the tilting mirrors greatly assist the back-up camera but that leaves my blind spot-blind. And sometimes the touchscreen controls are non responsive.[divider]

Impressive Spirited Ride

Two engines are offered in the 2014 LaCrosse. The standard 2.4 liter DOHC I4 has 182 horsepower, 172 lb-ft of torque and an EPA of 25 mpg city and 36 mpg highway. A 3.6 liter V6 engine is offered with 304 horsepower, 264 lb-ft of torque and a combined EPA of 21 mpg. Both engines feature continuously variable valve timing, direct injection, and electronic throttle control. Both engines are mated to a Hydra-Matic 6T70 six speed automatic transmission. EAssist utilizes a lithium-ion battery system and electric motor generator to enable regenerative braking.

2014 Buick LaCrosse
2014 Buick LaCrosse

Regenerative braking, a hybrid-like feature, allows the engine to reduce fuel usage when decelerating or at full stop. Standard Electronic Power Steering also saves fuel. A Haldex All-Wheel drive system features an electronic limited slip differential that refines driving and handling by distributing precisely the right amount of torque to the wheel that needs it based on speed and throttle position.

An updated chassis along with MacPherson strut front suspension and four-link rear suspension give the LaCrosse supreme handling. Sport Mode Selectivity uses electronically controlled dampers to constantly analyze road conditions and instantaneously adjust. Sport Mode Selectivity also features HiPer Strut front suspension that makes the Buick’s ride even smoother even in rough terrain.

The Buick LaCrosse Premium had a relaxed comfortable ride. While 304 horsepower is no punk on the highway, powertrain and safety features keep the excitement at a comfortable level. Cruising is tranquil, cornering is precise, and braking is on a dime. The LaCrosse also has powerful four-wheel disc brakes.[divider]

Safety Features Inspire Confident Cruising

New for 2014 are two driver confidence packages that use camera and radar enhanced technology that put the driver at ease on the road. Standard is Stabilitrak, traction control, and Intelligent Brake Assist.

2014 Buick LaCrosse Blind Spot Monitor
2014 Buick LaCrosse Blind Spot Monitor

The Driver Confidence I Package includes Lane Departure Warning, Lane Change Alert, Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Forward Collision Alert. The Driver Confidence II Package adds Collision Preparation, the Safety Alert Seat, and Adaptive Cruise Control.

Buick’s upgrades to sophistication have redefined the LaCrosse. The look and the powertrain will sell the LaCrosse right out of the showrooms. The LaCrosse has an MSRP of $35,000.[divider]

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