Buick looks to enhance the high-tech and efficiency credibility of its LaCrosse with the addition of a new eAssist mild hybrid powertrain for the base model of its flagship sedan.
It adds a new level of appeal to a car that wears Buick's latest design language very well, even if the rear-end styling reminds us a little too much of the Volvo S90.
But that kind of subjective talk overlooks Buick's promise that the LaCrosse's new 2.5L four-cylinder engine, backed up by an electric motor and compact lithium-ion battery, will be 16 per cent more efficient than the V6 engine used in uplevel models.
Buick says the new eAssist powertrain adds some torque (9 lb-ft) compared to previous iterations of this drivetrain, while the small battery was designed to preserve trunk space and the LaCrosse's fold-down rear seat.
Other mechanical updates include a new nine-speed automatic transmission for the 3.6L V6 that carries over from last year.
Unlike most hybrids on the market now, Buick's eAssist can't drive the car on electricity alone. Rather, it supplement's the gas engine's power to add a bit of performance when it's required, and cut fuel consumption in normal driving.
What eAssist does share with other hybrids is regenerative braking to help charge the battery, a stop/start function that shuts down the gas engine at stoplights to avoid burning fuel unnecessarily and Active grille shutters help the car cheat the wind in highway driving.
Buick is coy about how much power the eAssist setup makes, but a similar powertrain offered in the previous-generation LaCrosse was good for 182 hp and 172 lb-ft of torque, so expect this new version to be nominally more potent than that.
The eAssist option gives Buick something a little different with which to compete with higher-profile entrants at the entry-level of the luxury sedan market, like the full-hybrid Lexus ES 300h and no-hybrid Genesis G80.
LaCrosse made a big leap in interior design when this generation debuted as a 2017 model, gaining a modern dash dominated by an IntelliLink touchscreen infotainment display that incorporates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality and a customizable TFT gauge cluster as standard, and wireless smartphone charging is an option.
Luxury cars get nowhere these days without active safety features, so the LaCrosse can be had with those too, including radar cruise control with pedestrian detection for its automatic braking function, self-parking abilities and lane-keeping assist. Also on the option list is General Motors' excellent vibrating safety seat, a much better way of getting the driver's attention than buzzers and beepers when the car senses something isn't quite right.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed
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