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  • Drew Dowdell
    Drew Dowdell

    2012 Buick Lacrosse with eAssist

    The North American International Auto Show starts tomorrow and for the trip up to Detroit, Buick has provided me with a 2012 Buick Lacrosse with e-Assist. For 2012, the Lacrosse has a standard a 4-cylinder engine with a light electrical assist and automatic stop.

    The e-Assist system is somewhere between BMW's Efficient Dynamics auto-stop/brake regeneration system and Honda's Integrated Motor Assist in terms of the level of hybridization. E-Assist offers a 15 horsepower and 79 ft-lb of torque electrical boost to the gasoline engine where Efficient Dynamics offers none. The Honda IMA system adds 23 horsepower and 78 ft-lb of torque.

    So how does it drive? Having driven a 2011 Lacrosse 4-cylinder without e-Assist the very first thing I noticed was the extra torque in the low RPM range. You won't be pulling stumps with your Lacrosse, but the electrical boost at low RPM gives the 4-cylinder a more V6 feel in terms of take off. The gear ratios are also tuned well to get you rolling up to speed swiftly. It is still a 4-cylinder, but in normal city and suburban driving, it will feel like a V6. Speaking of city and suburban driving, according to the computer, I'm averaging 26.6 mpg in that combination.

    The transmission will keep the RPM higher when needed and Buick's QuietTuning does its job keeping engine noise out of the cabin. Full throttle acceleration isn't swift, but the tach will swing nearly all the way to 7,000 rpm without protest. Refinement of the 2.4 coupled with the electric motor is excellent, continuing with the nearly V6 feel displayed in city driving.

    Those wishing for more power for drag racing would do best to check off the box for the 303 horsepower 3.6 liter V6 and be on their way, but the 2.4 with e-Assist will satisfy 90% of buyers out there who are more concerned with fuel economy than pink slips.

    I have yet to test out the long distance highway fuel economy, but as soon as I click save on this post, I am getting in the car to start my 250 mile trip to Detroit where I'll pick up our friend Z-06. Send me your questions in the meantime.

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    Apparently the gear ratios, or rather, final drive ratio, are tuned for fuel economy rather than acceleration. The addition of eAssist allowed GM to keep the RPMs lower than before while still allowing for adequate acceleration.

    Sounds like the electric assist more than made up for the reduced engine power to the wheels... nice. How often does it downshift on the highway? eAssist is supposed to reduce the need for that as well.

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    If you have a chance and the inclination, check it with pen and paper as well. My Cruze had an optimistic DIC.

    28.9 on the first 1/2 tank (pen and paper) the first 1/2 of that was my city/suburban cycle

    what is your average speed? 36.1 mpg= nice.....

    I didn't look on the DIC, but I did 65 - 70 most of the way.

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    Apparently the gear ratios, or rather, final drive ratio, are tuned for fuel economy rather than acceleration. The addition of eAssist allowed GM to keep the RPMs lower than before while still allowing for adequate acceleration.

    Sounds like the electric assist more than made up for the reduced engine power to the wheels... nice. How often does it downshift on the highway? eAssist is supposed to reduce the need for that as well.

    under steady cruise, only under a steep hill, but it will downshift twice when it does.

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    The Lacrosse goes back to GM in about 2 hours... and I'm really sad to see it go. I filled up the car the night before I left Detroit. A full tank gets you over 500 mile crusing range but I was a bit more hurried coming home and averaged 33mpg which cut the range back a bit.

    Power is softer than one might hope under hard acceleration, but in normal situations, it still rolls with a V6-like feel.

    The car that GM will be dropping off to replace it will be good for the Nor'easter that is predicted to hit here in the next 24 hours. Any guesses as to what it is?

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    You're not getting a Nor'easter. You might have a blizzard coming, but not a Nor'easter... a Nor'easter is like a weak winter hurricane... where the center of the storm is mostly over the ocean, and it heads northeast with the gulf stream. You're too far inland to get much Nor'easter weather.

    You scared me, though... I had to drop my lunch and pull up the weather.

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