The 2013 Buick LaCrosse with eAssist mild-hybrid technology carries forth with minimal updates from the 2012 model year.
It had been redesigned in 2010 with an effective basic electric helper motor technology, along with regenerative braking and stop-start technology.
Styling was intended to make it more appealing to younger drivers and the brand is now associated with an average buyer in the upper 50s, down from the mid-70s.
The car’s eAssist technology, shared by other GM models as an inexpensive “micro hybrid” treatment to electrically assist the 2.4 liter engine sometimes is criticized for falling short in mpg potential by fans of full hybrids.
To be sure the 25 mpg city /36 highway /29 combined Buick’s base $31,660 MSRP which can easily ascend into the upper 30s to near $40,000 could get you in range of a nice Toyota Avalon Hybrid offering an EPA-rated combined efficiency of 40 mpg. Or, for that matter, that level of spending could afford you a Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid with much better shorter distance mpg potential, but the Buick offers its own appeal.
The midsize car is nearly into the large size class, and offers a refined, smooth ride, and elegant styling.
All told, the package proved satisfying enough to buyers to rank it as the tenth-best selling in the hybrid class last year.
Its aforementioned powertrain offers decent-enough mpg, one would assume, and combines a 15-kilowatt electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack in the trunk with the gas engine for a total of 182 horsepower.
Said power is sufficient to move the nearly 4,000 pound car without feeling like it needs much more gumption to get going.
And that stop-start system? It is more refined than some high-end European cars, such as those from Mercedes.
Handling manners may not top the Euro sedans, but the Buick is a far cry ahead of Buicks of yesteryear that floated on their loosely designed suspensions. Today’s LaCrosse eAssist is up to par with other family sedans in its class and provides a satisfying ride, overall.
Styling inside and out are progressive as well, with the exterior inspired by a GM show car from 2007, the Riviera concept.
Inside the vehicle is luxurious and well appointed, with good quality of fit, finish, materials, layout and switchgear.
As we were saying, there are reasons why this car sells, even if it is not the king of mpg in the midsize sedan class.
The inside accommodations are also laden with the gadgetry one would expect in a modern luxury car.
Standard is Buick’s IntelliLink multimedia system which lets users to control their mobile device through a 7- or 8-inch, full-color touch screen display radio. The system allows smart phone control via voice activation and steering wheel-mounted controls. It also enables streaming stereo audio from the phone through services like PANDORA and Stitcher SmartRadio.
Available also are items like a backseat dual-screen video entertainment system, Harman Kardon surround-sound system, navigation system, rearview camera and a blind-spot warning system.
We’ll have more on this car later, but for if the Buick LaCrosse eAssist is of interest to you, you can read a more thorough dissertation in our 2012 full review of the same basic car.