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Rented a Lucerne for 5 days!


GMman

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I know there are people who bash GM for selling any of it's vehicles to rental car companies, as if that is the only way they could sell their vehicles, but I think it's a good marketing tool in the sense that you can really find out about a car when you take it on a 5 day test drive.

My wife and I rented a V8 Lucerne a couple of weeks ago and we both fell in love with it. Even my wife had sort of bought into the perception gap thing that Buicks were for "old people". But after spending quite a bit of time in it, she began to realize how great the car really is. Not only is it really gorgeous on the exterior, but it's like a vault when you're cruising at 85 down the interstate. The trunk is huge and the seats are extremely comfortable. The Northstar is a friggin' screamer. We were driving through the mountains and were not taking our time. Keeping your foot out of it is impossible. I know it's not considered a sports sedan, but it's close to handling like one. Absolute pleasure to drive. I encourage anyone who doesn't own one and has never driven one, to try one out next time you rent a car.

There were only two things that I didn't like about the car. One was the turning radius. I've read about this forever with this platform, but WOW. Seems like two turns and you're locked! Very odd. The next thing was with the interior. The sunroof didn't have any trim around it, to finish it out. I couldn't believe that. Every other GM vehicle I know of has trim around the headliner at the sunroof, except the Lucerne. And then the plastic on the instrument panel behind the steering wheel. It's like a giant punch bowl made of hard plastic with some funky "graining" going on. Again, very odd for a premium vehicle like BUICK.

Overall I love that car. Styling is great and the ride and drive is fantastic! A couple of places it seems like GM went cheap and that's a shame because Buick deserves better.

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I like this car too. Did you get a chance to check out mileage? I agree about the hard plastics on the dash and the weird grains used and also the sunroof without trim. I would like to see Buick add the trim around the sunroof option, eliminate the intrusive trunk hinges, add the 3.6 liter V6 as an option to the base 3800 and add the telescoping steering column from the LaCrosse at least on the better models for 2008.

Edited by ponchoman49
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I also rented a Lucerne a couple of months ago, but a base model with the 3800. I liked it very much and it felt more powerful than my S/C 3800 in my Riviera. My only complaints were the tight door openings in front IMO and the lousy hard plastic dash. The seats were a little too firm for my liking, but overall I liked it very much. If I were in the market for a brand new car, Lucerne would be right at the top of my list...and I'm only 24 years old.

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Last summer I drove both the Lucerne CXS and LaX CXS. Overall, I did prefer the LaX mostly because the size was more to my liking and the seating position is much higher (in relation to the dash) than in the lucerne. However, the Lucerne was really fun to drive . . . I was shocked. The magnetic ride control (or whatever it's called) is fantastic. If that is a part of the LaX Super (which was rumored here at one point), then I'm sold. The telescoping wheel should definitely be added, especially since it is offered on the DTS and they are built on the same line.

To me the biggest thing that holds back both models is the 4speed transmission. I know there has been much discussion here, and disagreement, on that issue. I would only say that if you are coming from an older model with a 4speed trans, then no big deal really. But if, like me, you lease a new car every 2 - 3 years, then you may be used to something more. At the time I was looking, my almost 3 year old Accord had a 5 speed transmission. Driving both BUICK's simply felt like a gear was missing. The LaX especially felt like it was being held back by the transmission, which is perhaps why some folks have not been impressed by the 3.6 in the LaX. I'm sure that if I got one, within a week or so I'd be used to the 4speed again, but it does leave you feeling wanting during the test drive.

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Did you get a chance to check out mileage?

You bet I did. 20.5 MPG (by the computer). That was driving through the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee with my right foot buried fairly often in the luxurious carpeting. I was impressed with the mileage.

I agree with the 4 spd comments. The Buick needs a 5 spd...if for nothing else, just for credibility. It gives the domestic car "haters" something to grab hold of....(pricks)

Even with this older platform, Buick has a really nice car on their hands. I'd buy one...and I'm "only" 35.

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If people knock the $h! out of the Avenger for having hard plastics they should be blamming the Lucerne for it's hard plastics. This is an entry level luxury car....no excuses for that. Still, I like the exterior a lot...it's just too bad it's saddled with old-tech drivetrains.

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Yep, a fantastic car, and this summer I almost had my mother trading in her Suburban for one when gas was really high. Not overly done or "wow" on the outside, but clean and classy, feels built like a tank, and the interior layout and finishes are wonderful. I drove two CXL V6 models, which I generally loved, and really enjoyed the 30+ mpg the readout gave on my normal speed running, but wasn't too impressed with the strange roar (compared to past 3.8 experience) and tad sluggish 3.8 punch. Still, would probably choose that engine for its durability and economy, but also have never tried out a Northstar model.

It has most of the core essentials right, and doesn't suffer from extra awkward proportions like parts of the Lacrosse or cramped and less well done interior of that smaller car, and if they give it some nice updates, it will be REALLY good. Namely, drop in the 3.6L and 6-speed in some or all of the V6 models, give the nose a more luxurious detailing, and a few other little things, and all will stay strong.

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It'd be nice for the CXL to offer the 3.6L starting 2008... they're not going to make the 3.8L after this year, and the Lucerne replacement isn't around until 2010 or 2011, so they need another V6 there. Since they want to have a premium image, and they're putting in higher quality engines in lower end models like the Malibu and Aura, it only makes sense. Plus, it'll add a little more oomph and shut up people who complain about the "raspy growl" the 3800 makes under heavy accelleration.

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the seats are extremely comfortable. Absolute pleasure to drive.

When I've "test sat" them at the dealer, the seats seem to lack good ergonomics and contours. So they are comfortable, eh?

Also, all the mags stress that the handling is floaty and not communicative. Is it more vague than taut?

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It'd be nice for the CXL to offer the 3.6L starting 2008... they're not going to make the 3.8L after this year, and the Lucerne replacement isn't around until 2010 or 2011, so they need another V6 there. Since they want to have a premium image, and they're putting in higher quality engines in lower end models like the Malibu and Aura, it only makes sense. Plus, it'll add a little more oomph and shut up people who complain about the "raspy growl" the 3800 makes under heavy accelleration.

Well, we'll see, especially when the 3.8L is done...the 3.6L is really the only logical choice, along with a 6-speed. From that then, should also be a new 6-speed mated to the Northstar which could use it the MOST, to properly apply the extra power and natural reviness of the engine.

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If people knock the $h! out of the Avenger for having hard plastics they should be blamming the Lucerne for it's hard plastics. This is an entry level luxury car....no excuses for that. Still, I like the exterior a lot...it's just too bad it's saddled with old-tech drivetrains.

Refer to my previous post, I said the dash was hard and lousy

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Sign me up for a White-Gold CXL V8. You got 20.5 mpg with your foot in it, that is excellent. It is odd you rented a V8 Lucerne most are CX V6 or CXL V6 models. Sweet was it a CXS or CXL V8?

They had both. We rented it from Avis and there were two older gentlemen in the building where you pick up the car. I asked if they had any V8's and his reply was "Yeah, we have some four-holers out there". I love that he knew what I was talking about. The one we rented was a 2007 CXS with 18k miles on it. I almost went with the V6 CXL because the color was better (Dark Garnet with Ebony leather) and it had 2k miles on it. The CXS was Sandstone with cashmere interior. In the end the CXS won out because I had to try the Northstar and I'm glad I did. I think the ebony interior helps the way the hard plastic dash looks, but I agree that BUICK needs to rethink the dash materials, regardless. I was impressed with the mileage too.

When I've "test sat" them at the dealer, the seats seem to lack good ergonomics and contours. So they are comfortable, eh?

Also, all the mags stress that the handling is floaty and not communicative. Is it more vague than taut?

They were soft and comfortable. Not squishy, but not sports car firm either. For that car, my opinion is that they're just about right. The backseat was probably the MOST comfortable seat I've ever sat in. The headrest is in exactly the right place for me. I loved it. And of course there was room-o-plenty. I read the mags too and have always disagreed with a lot of what they say regarding the "non communicative" steering thing. The magazine writers want EVERY car to have communicative steering. They even criticize the ever perfect lexus for having non-communicative steering. My opinion is that a luxury cars are supposed to be isolated. I happen to like that. As far as the handling being "floaty" that's a crock of crap. My 1993 Chevy pickup needs shocks right now and when I get on the right road, at the right speed...I'll show you floaty... The Lucerne handles very nice. I was driving through twisty two lane mountain roads. It didn't handle like my wife's former 2003 BMW 525i with the sports package, but BUICK didn't design it to. It's a really great driving car. Doesn't drive like it is as big as it is, braking was spot on, acceleration was very quick, and twisting and turning at a pretty good clip on those mountain roads didn't phase the Lucerne at all.

Sure it would be nice to have a 6 sped auto, which I'm sure is coming. I'd also be nice for it to be RWD. For the $$, I'd consider this car just the way it is. A couple of cosmetic changes on the interior and I would have a hard time picking this car apart.

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I also rented a Lucerne a couple of months ago, but a base model with the 3800. I liked it very much and it felt more powerful than my S/C 3800 in my Riviera. My only complaints were the tight door openings in front IMO and the lousy hard plastic dash. The seats were a little too firm for my liking, but overall I liked it very much. If I were in the market for a brand new car, Lucerne would be right at the top of my list...and I'm only 24 years old.

There must be something wrong with your Riviera 3800 SC if a 3900 lb Lucerne with a detuned 3800 and lazy 2.86:1 gears felt quicker. The CX and CXL 3800's I drove felt sluggish from 35-55 and were only good for 8.8-9.0 seconds 0-60. They were noisy at full throttle and roared and mileage was less than my 2000 LeSabre at around 24 combined. Overall I was dissapointed with the 2 Lucerne 3800 cars I drove compared to my old 2000 LeSabre Custom with Grand Touring suspension and 3.05:1 gears. My LeSabre's 3800 felt less strained, was quieter and consistantly got 31-32 on pure highway runs compared to 29-30 with the Lucernes. That is the beef I have with the current Lucernes equipped with 3800's. More noise at full throttle, lower mileage and slower accelleration compared to the previous gen LeSabre which had 8 more HP and 3 extra lbs ft of torque. And a properly tuned and running Riv SC from 1996-1999 ran 0-60 in 6.8-7.0 seconds and had buckets full of bottom and mid range torque so I would look further into that.

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