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Northstar

2006 Buick Lucerne

34 posts in this topic

KEVIN A. WILSON
Published Date: 10/31/05
On sale: Now
Base Price: $27,715
Powertrain: 3.8-liter, 197-hp, 227-lb-ft V6; fwd, four-speed automatic
Curb Weight: 3764 lbs
0 to 60 mph: 8.4 seconds (est.)
Fuel Mileage (EPA combined): 22 mpg

Ever since the Toyota Avalon arrived in 1994, car writers have called the big sedan “the best Buick money can buy,” playing around with variations on the old ad campaign that proclaimed “When better Buicks are built, Buick will build them.”

Funny stuff. If you’re toiling for Buick, though, you have to admit the ads invited satire. That has to sting.

Finally, after years of little more than wan grimaces in response, General Motors looks to be fighting back. Buick offered both a 2005 Avalon and its front-drive platform mate, the Lexus ES 330, for direct back-to-back comparison with the new 2006 Lucerne. This model replaces both the LeSabre and Park Avenue in struggling Buick’s rationalized car range, just as the LaCrosse (Allure in Canada) replaces both the Century and Regal.

The new big Buick is named for a city in Switzerland, and our passenger on this first drive of the Lucerne was a big Swiss-born fellow named Bob Lutz, vice chairman of General Motors, who began by telling us his personal, chauffeur-driven ride is a DTS, but that he is swapping the Caddy for a Lucerne.

The Cadillac and Buick are built on the same platform, the G-body that has underpinned some of GM’s best front-drive sedans for years. The Lucerne is offered with either a 3.8-liter 197-hp V6 or the 275-hp 290-lb-ft Northstar V8 (the first V8 offered in a Buick car in 10 years).

Lucerne’s body sports lines borrowed from the Velite concept car. Once you get past the Buick waterfall grille, it has a Lexus-like look to it, and the comparison goes deeper. Fit-and-finish is excellent, the standard safety equipment is world-class, and the Buick is quieter than the Toyota-built cars offered for comparison.

The cabin is up to snuff. The Lucerne uses high-quality materials and is screwed together properly, with an aesthetic appeal that, while hardly cutting-edge, is not so old-school as the LeSabre or the Park Avenue.

Then there is the driving. On GM’s challenging ride and handling test loop at Milford and then over some of the better test roads in southern Michigan, the Lucerne proved imperturbable. Like an Avalon or ES 330, it’s no sport sedan, but if you’re in a hurry you can lean on a Lucerne and it won’t let you down.

At the proving ground we sampled cars with Magnetic Ride Control, using the fast-acting, electronically controlled variable shock absorbers that damp out road-induced motions. Okay, we thought, but that old Buick float will be trouble in the twisties if you don’t get the Magnetic Ride Control. Then we hit the open road, and threw a Northstar-equipped Lucerne with the standard suspension into a couple of corners. It was unflustered. No wallow, no foul. Its back-road demeanor reminded us of the last Oldsmobile Aurora, a car that didn’t deserve to die with its marque.

Continue reading: http://autoweek.com/article.cms?articleId=103482
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Very good first impressions from AutoWeek. Good to see. I just got back from the Seattle Autoshow. The Lucerne in Sharkskin looks awesome in person. They didn't have any on the floor. There was only one on the turn table display. the Lucerne spokeswoman was the same from the State Fair of Texas. She stated the people in Dallas went crazy over the Lucerne. It made a great impression. They did have a DTS on the floor. We inspected it inside and out. Interior and exterior were flawless. Wood in the DTS was very convincing. Fit&Finish were first rate and dash/interior materials looked high grade. The analog clock looks good in person. The chrome surrounding the radio unit mimics the chrome around the clock which balances out the center stack and looks appropriate. For a car that starts at $42k the DTS is a steal. GM will sell a lot of them. The Lucerne is going to be an unbelievable value considering how the DTS came across. Edited by VenSeattle
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That's a great little read, thanks for posting it. I love the shot of the Lucerne on the top of the article... looks classy and aggressive for a sedan. Great!

I'm anxious to see this car in person... would absolutely love to get one but unfortunately it's above my means at the moment. Maybe a used one in a year will suit me (would want a CXL - preferably ming blue with tuxedo interior)
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It looks like this will be the first of the Buicks to beat lexus. Add in Buicks high quality rankings and GM has itself a winner. Take note naysayers of Lutz; This is one of his beginning to end cars and it's turning out to be a hit.
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im surprised it goes to 0 - 60 that fast with the 3.8.

[post="38884"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]

I was surprised myself... I wonder what my Century does with the 3.3L? Just for comparison of course.
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Expecting to do so assumes such customers are unhappy enough to leave Toyota, and there is not much evidence on that score.


What does that have to do with anything? Other than Toyota being the darling of the media and TELLING buyers NOT to forsaken the company...

Were the buyers at one time unhappy enough with Buick to buy a Toyota? Or did they just do the logical thing and comparison shop?

I get told all of the time by the collective media and import zealots that I'm clossed minded for being "brand loyal" just like 95% of other americans (I know, I'm militant in nature though) but now that very same media is going to turn around and EXCUSE---or----JUSTIFY that very same BLIND loyalty for import buyers????

Seems a little stupid and deceitful to me...

The Lucerne will do well, at least initially... Once the media finds out it is gaining ground they will begin the onslaught of negativity, like I've presented evidence on with the Solstice and H3.
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im surprised it goes to 0 - 60 that fast with the 3.8.

[post="38884"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


I was surprised myself... I wonder what my Century does with the 3.3L? Just for comparison of course.

[post="38901"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


I'm not... A Lucerne CX's 0-60 of 8.5 sec is very realistic. The Lucerne CX weighs about the same as a base Park Avenue which has the same powertrain (same torque #s but Lucerne has 8hp less). Performance should remain similar, as it apparently has.

http://www.autos.com/autos/vehicle_detail?...e=USB50BUC031A0

0 to 60 Acceleration for Park Avenue:

Base: 8.2 sec
Ultra: 7.64 sec

The Lucerne will not be a slug on wheels. It will provide the same performance as the LeSabre and base Park Avenue which is completely adequate for its target market. Anyone who says otherwise needs to explain how these 20-somethings are surviving in the 100ish HP Scions which have 0-60 in the 9 sec range. Yes, a base Lucerne is faster than an xA & xB.

For less than the price of a base ES330, you can have a well equipped V8 Lucerne with more performance.
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The LeSabre has been the best sellling full sized sedan in America for quite a while, am I wrong about this? The LeSabre wasn't exactly a crappy automobile. The Lucerne had a lot to live up to. Sure- the LeSabre was boring- full sized functional sedans with good fuel economy tend to be boring- so sue the LeSabre for giving America an extremely functional vehicle- but I don't think the Avalon outsold it, am I wrong about this too? I'm just curious about this shady past this article gives Buick and that Toyota trumped Buick in every way.
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The LeSabre has been the best selling full size sedan for over a decade. The past two Avalon generations never beat LeSabre in Sales: Avalon: 1995 66,445 1996 73,308 1997 71,309 1998 77,752 1999 68,038 2000 104,078 2001 83,005 2002 69,029 2003 50,911 2004 36,460 LeSabre: 1995 ? 1996 ? 1997 150,744 1998 136,551 1999 149,445 2000 148,633 2001 145,304 2002 135,916 2003 114,572 2004 114,157 Before anyone wants to discuss fleet sales inflating the LeSabre numbers... the Avalon was heavily fleeted also. Especially the last generation.
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I'm looking forward to driving the Lucerne... so far, it seems pretty good. ANd I think the grille would look better if the upper strip of trim wasn't chrome. It'd make it more Velite-like.
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The Lucerne will not be a slug on wheels. It will provide the same performance as the LeSabre and base Park Avenue which is completely adequate for its target market. Anyone who says otherwise needs to explain how these 20-somethings are surviving in the 100ish HP Scions which have 0-60 in the 9 sec range. Yes, a base Lucerne is faster than an xA & xB.

For less than the price of a base ES330, you can have a well equipped V8 Lucerne with more performance.

[post="38984"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


Fuel econonmy.

For less than the price of a base ES330, you can have a well equipped 06 Avalon w/better performance, NHV, and fuel economy

Who cares about the ES330, its dead in less than a yr.

You forgot the V8 Lucerne gets

17/25 mpg
compared to the
Avalon/ES350's
22/31

Even the Tacoma gets better city mpg
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Fuel econonmy. 

For less than the price of a base ES330, you can have a well equipped 06 Avalon w/better performance, NHV, and fuel economy

Who cares about the ES330, its dead in less than a yr.


How do you know the Avalon has better NVH? :huh:

Regardless, I was comparing the current performance of the target market's vehicles (loyal LeSabre & Park Avenue owners) to the Performance of the Lucerne CX & CXL.

The comparison to Scions & ES330 were to indicate tolerance for 0-60 performance numbers by younger buyers & also the willingness to pay the price of admission.

Concerning the Avalon, the Avalon doesn't offer standard OnStar, 4y/50k warranty, or Road Side assistance... items Lexus buyers seem to appreciate and luxury buyers in general expect (Lexus and Acura both use GM's OnStar is certain vehicles.)

Try to give the Lucerne a chance. Check one out, and test drive it when it arrives at a local Buick dealer. :)
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im surprised it goes to 0 - 60 that fast with the 3.8.

[post="38884"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


It's gotta be in the gearing.

The S/C Riviera was supposedly able to get to 60 in just below 8 seconds. Not bad for a 3700lbs car designed in 1992.
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Fuel econonmy. 

For less than the price of a base ES330, you can have a well equipped 06 Avalon w/better performance, NHV, and fuel economy

Who cares about the ES330, its dead in less than a yr.

You forgot the V8 Lucerne gets

17/25 mpg
compared to the
Avalon/ES350's
22/31

Even the Tacoma gets better city mpg

[post="38999"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


Actually the recent tests have shown the Lucerne is quieter then the ES.
The Lucerne looks better
The CTS has the same mileage numbers as the Lucerne V8 and they are selling every one they make.
The Northstar will smoke the Avalon V6 in performance. All it's torque is down low.

So tell us again how Avalon will suddenly increase in sales by 5 times to overtake all those LeSabre buyers?
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lol toyota lies about its MPG...consumer reports have done their own MPG and they were much lower.
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Oh yeah, and I can now buy a Park Ave Ultra equivilant with a real V8 and the performance to match it starting at 30k
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Thank you Ven for the sales numbers... I though that was crap the article made the Avalon seem like what everyone was buying these days instead of the LeSabre, its direct comepitor. If the Avalon was the better "Buick" then why did the LeSabre murder it in sales? Toyota also tends to give their vehicles more horsepower than they have where GM tends to say their vehicles have less power than they actually have. A recent Motortrend issue covered this and all the vehicles Toyota submitted for the unbias HP test Toyota overpowered (in other words said there was more HP in the vehicles than there was) their vehicles, and all the ones GM gave GM actually said they had less horsepower than there actually was. Toyota is using its popularity to give themselves a little extra boost because everyone trusts them so much while GM is scrutinized under a magnifying glass.
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lol toyota lies about its MPG...consumer reports have done their own MPG and they were much lower.

[post="39055"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


Toyota also tends to give their vehicles more horsepower than they have where GM tends to say their vehicles have less power than they actually have. A recent Motortrend issue covered this and all the vehicles Toyota submitted for the unbias HP test Toyota overpowered (in other words said there was more HP in the vehicles than there was) their vehicles, and all the ones GM gave GM actually said they had less horsepower than there actually was. Toyota is using its popularity to give themselves a little extra boost because everyone trusts them so much while GM is scrutinized under a magnifying glass.


:rolleyes: Edited by sciguy_0504
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eh... Toyoguy may be trying to play the Fuel economy card, but it's not bothering me. The Lucerne's V8 fuel economy is almost identical to Toyota/Lexus' own V8 in their $60k Lexus LS430: 18/25 (and that's with a six-speed automatic). So, for him to call foul over the Lucerne's V8 fuel economy would be to shun his own current Lexus flagship sedan.

Sure the LS430 will be replaced soon, but the Lucerne can get updates as well. Right now we're talking current and factual: People pay twice as much for a similarly powered Lexus that gets the same MPG and are quite satisfied.
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good to hear.. I actually alraedy saw a lucerne add in the back of a magazine.. it was a pic of the lucerne with a black backround, the lucerne was a silver cxs, and it said something, cant remember what but it did, and it also had a black allure cxs on the bottom. Glad to see GM Canada is FINALLY advertising something.. I never ever see the allure advertised..i dont know how anything gm sells here..you barely see any advertisements.
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Thank you Ven for the sales numbers... I though that was crap the article made the Avalon seem like what everyone was buying these days instead of the LeSabre, its direct comepitor. If the Avalon was the better "Buick" then why did the LeSabre murder it in sales?

Toyota also tends to give their vehicles more horsepower than they have where GM tends to say their vehicles have less power than they actually have. A recent Motortrend issue covered this and all the vehicles Toyota submitted for the unbias HP test Toyota overpowered (in other words said there was more HP in the vehicles than there was) their vehicles, and all the ones GM gave GM actually said they had less horsepower than there actually was. Toyota is using its popularity to give themselves a little extra boost because everyone trusts them so much while GM is scrutinized under a magnifying glass.

[post="39070"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


All the 2006 Toyota horsepower figures are now accurate. The new SAE guidelines require a third-party witness.
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All the 2006 Toyota horsepower figures are now accurate. The new SAE guidelines require a third-party witness.

[post="39159"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


That's good to hear. I'm not the type to bash Toyota and I wouldn't accuse them of doing something like that without it being in ink in Motor Trend which is a magazine I find reliable enough for showing statistics. By default Toyota gets the benefit of the doubt by anyone who is not a GM loyalist... it's not that people are Toyota loyalists, they just tend to have the better reputation in the general public and they've seemed to use that to their advantage is what I've derived from it. General Motors had done similar when they were the preferred brand.
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Cananopie, the '58 Buick Limited in your sig is awesome. I like your use of color, too. The pale yellow contrasts nicely with the blue car.

I perused the Lucerne website last night, and I have to say the car is a knockout... Glacier Blue CXS with Ebony leather... or, oooo... Ming Blue with Tuxedo (blue over natural) leather interior and chrome wheels, WOW.

While I haven't seen one yet, the car seems pretty big in photos. It's elegant, yet athletic, and it carries a brand name that comes with infinitely more soul than any Asian brand could ever hope for.
Edited by ocnblu
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Cananopie, the '58 Buick Limited in your sig is awesome.  I like your use of color, too.  The pale yellow contrasts nicely with the blue car.

I perused the Lucerne website last night, and I have to say the car is a knockout... Glacier Blue CXS with Ebony leather... or, oooo... Ming Blue with Tuxedo (blue over natural) leather interior and chrome wheels, WOW.

While I haven't seen one yet, the car seems pretty big in photos.  It's elegant, yet athletic, and it carries a brand name that come with infinitely more soul than any Asian brand could ever hope for.

[post="39260"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]

Blu, we have the exact same taste in color schemes for the car. Looks SO beautiful!
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