2012 Buick LaCrosse eAssist Hybrid – Review
The Buick LaCrosse, new for 2010, is the automaker’s mid-sized luxury offering, and replaced the Buick Century and Regal as a 2005 model. It’s built on the General Motors Epsilon II platform that it shares with the Opel Insignia.
With its waterfall grille and signature portholes, it’s clearly a Buick, one that shows the influence of the 2007 Riviera concept coupe that Buick unveiled at the Shanghai Auto Show. The front fascia is more vertical than most American cars but the LaCrosse complies with European pedestrian safety standards since it’s designed for a global market.
For 2012, Buick has replaced the gasoline powered four-cylinder model with the eAssist hybrid.
Buick priced the base LaCrosse eAssist at $30,820, the same as the V-6 non-hybrid LaCrosse, the only other engine offering in the line. This puts the 2012 eAssist $2,830 ahead of the base 2011 LaCrosse CX and $270 more than the midline 2011 LaCrosse CXL four-cylinder.
Buick might want to update its old tagline, “When better cars are built, Buick will build them” to “When more fuel-efficient cars are built, Buick will build them.” The hybrid LaCrosse is indeed more efficient although more costly.
What you get for the additional money is greatly improved fuel economy, 20% to 30%, compared to the 2011s.
The LaCrosse eAssist’s drivetrain is based on the Chevrolet Malibu’s but is the next generation. It comes with the same 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that was in the 2011 LaCrosse, which is unchanged except for the belt-driven electric motor/generator that replaces the alternator. Inside the trunk is a 115-volt 0.5-kWh lithium-ion battery that gets power from the motor/generator during regenerative braking.
The engine itself develops 182 hp and 172 pound-feet of torque and the non-hybrid version of the LaCrosse received a fuel economy rating of 19 mpg (12.4 l/100 km) city and 30 mpg (7.8 l/100 km) highway.
The 2011 LaCrosse eAsssit did far better, receiving a rating of 25 mpg (9.4 l/100 km) city and 36 mpg (6.5 l/100 km) highway.