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HarleyEarl

2006 Buick Lucerne CXS V8

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He Drove, She Drove

Lucerne has classic styling, comfy interior and a powerful V-8.


By Paul & Anita Lienert


2006 Buick Lucerne CXS

Type:Front-engine, front-wheel drive, 5-passenger sedan.
Price:Base, $35,990 (inc. $725 destination charge); as tested, $38,630.
Engine:4.6-liter V-8; 275-hp; 295 lb-ft torque.
EPA fuel economy:17 mpg city/25 mpg highway.
Where built:Detroit.
12-month insurance cost, according to AAA Michigan*:$1,717. (Estimate. Rates may be higher or lower, depending on coverage, driving record.)
Anita
Likes:Love the portholes. Six-passenger capability. Roomy rear seat. Huge trunk. Great safety features. Standard OnStar.
Dislikes:No adjustable pedals. No rear DVD entertainment system. No displacement on demand. Pretty pricey for a Buick.
Paul
Likes:Hits the target market dead-center. Classic Buick styling, with lots of chrome. Extremely comfortable seats, with optional heating/cooling. Great "magnetic ride" suspension is compliant, firm with very little body roll. Excellent assembly quality. Powerful V-8 engine returns to the big Buick for the first time in years. Responsive steering.
Dislikes:Needs a navigation system. Mediocre fuel economy. Gauges a little difficult to read in daytime. Only a four-speed automatic when many competitors offer five and six speeds.



The interior is subdued. Extras include heated, cooled front seats.



The bad news for Buick fans is that General Motors has killed two familiar, long-running Buick nameplates -- the LeSabre and Park Avenue.

The good news is that Buick for 2006 has introduced an exceptional successor in the full-size Lucerne sedan. Even better news is that the V-8 engine returns to the big Buick for the first time since the demise of the Roadmaster.

We tested a well-equipped, top-of-the-line Lucerne CSX with the new 4.6-liter V-8. The bottom line: $38,630.

SHE: You gave the Cadillac DTS a middle-of-the-road grade last week and called it a "hollow status symbol." Now you've turned into Mr. Sweetness and Light over the Buick, which is the sibling to the DTS, and given the Lucerne five stars. Do you want to explain your strange and mystifying logic? What's the difference?

HE: About $15,000. Seriously, I think Cadillac has been drifting away from its traditional customer base for years, and the DTS is the poster child for that brand ambivalence. You'd never find a Lucerne in my driveway, but I think Buick has hit the target market dead-center with this car in ways no other domestic brand has done. The Lucerne gets classic Buick styling, with lots of chrome and those ubiquitous portholes, but the silhouette is clean, modern and appealing, without looking like a clich�. Buick owners should love it. Inside, the car is roomy and comfortable, if somewhat conservative. And the new V-8 is a differentiator, too. While it's not quite a match for Chrysler's Hemi V-8, it still enables the Lucerne to walk away from weaker contenders like the Ford Five Hundred.

SHE: I'm glad you mentioned the portholes because I'm just nuts about them. I find them very comforting in the same way I find a bungalow comforting. They're a familiar and romantic link to Buick's past. But they didn't just slap on any old porthole; the designers modernized them a bit. I should probably add that they're not functional -- they're purely cosmetic. The Lucerne is not as in-your-face as a car like the Chrysler 300. It has much more subtle, sculpted lines. I'm less turned on by the cabin, which isn't as up to date as what you'd find on a Lexus or even a Cadillac. Or, for that matter, a car such as the Toyota Avalon.

HE: I would call the interior subdued, not overly lavish. The only feature that's really lacking is a navigation system. But there are lots of extras, including optional front seats that are heated and cooled.

SHE: Buick says you'll be able to order a nav system in the spring. I'm disappointed that you can't get adjustable pedals or a rear-seat DVD entertainment system. But you do get a standard OnStar communications system. I'm still concerned about the price, which seems a little steep for a domestic near-luxury sedan.

HE: Let me tell you what you get for that money. The Lucerne gets GM's outstanding magnetic ride control, which gives you a superb, compliant ride, with very little body roll. And the 4.6-liter V-8--another feature that's shared with Cadillac--is pretty powerful, delivering 275 horsepower and 295 pounds-feet of torque. Unfortunately, GM has fitted only a four-speed automatic where Chrysler and Ford are now offering five- and six-speed units on their cars. So you can't tap the engine power as effectively, and fuel economy is not much better than mediocre.

SHE: Too bad GM doesn't offer displacement on demand. That would have helped gas mileage, too. Having said that, the Lucerne hits the high notes in just about every other respect. The styling is a conversation starter, at least among consumers of a certain age. You can get lots of golf bags in the trunk, and you can order the car in a six-passenger configuration--a feature that not many competitors offer. My only question: Is this a Buick for the ages or the aged? Edited by HarleyEarl
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You'd never find a Lucerne in my driveway,


Gasp!!!! AB-SO-LUTELY NOT!!!! He prefers the stodgy ride of all old farts; the Toyota or Lexus Camry (ES330)

I should probably add that they're not functional -- they're purely cosmetic.


I thought they were functional?!?!? (For cooling only, but functional none the less)

which seems a little steep for a domestic near-luxury sedan.


GRRRR... I know this is somewhat true, but it angers me anyway.


Overall a pretty positive review.... But already GM needs to address some issues.

They should introduce a Lucerne Super with a better V8, nicer interior and better transmission. (Wishful thinking I know, but still it be a huge Buick revival)
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The displacement on demand and a 5 or 6 speed transmission would've made this car just over the top. I think it is more than a quality vehicle now, I just can't help but think "What if..."
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The displacement on demand and a 5 or 6 speed transmission would've made this car just over the top. I think it is more than a quality vehicle now, I just can't help but think "What if..."

[post="50740"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


Exactly. Even as terrific of a car as it is (especially considering that it's a Buick, to boot!), it STILL suffers from the "GM What If" syndrome.

What if...it had the 3.6 OHC engine standard, a 5 or 6 speed auto, significantly better fuel economy and power output, and a more elegantly sculpted nose.... B)

THEN, simply put, it probably would be doing gangbusters right now and in the future. As is, still a terrific car, but seemingly stuck just behind the "over the top" line.
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I agree with most of there thoughts but formed a few of my own when checking over a base CX the other day. The trunk is 17.0 cu ft which is smaller than an Impala. Worse the trunk hinges swell right into the thick of the trunk potentially crushing luggage or other belongings. I never have understood the need for navigation on normal cars like this. It is a huge waste of money at over $2000 for a tiny little screen that looks at odds with the rest of the dash anyways. I guess if it was to be offered Buick should have had it ready in time for introduction like Caddy did with the DTS. The smaller cheaper LaCrosse has a tilt/telescoping wheel available but not in the flagship Lucerne. And you can't even order a leather steering wheel with controls in your base Lucerne as you can in your base LaCrosse. The base engine power issues had been beaten to death so i'll move on. The fuel economy is dissapointing on an all new 2006 model. 19/28 is one less on both counts than last years LeSabre/Park Ave with the more powerfull 205 hp 3800. The 17/25 of the V8 really gives pause. If driven even remotely spirited the V8 car will drink gas like an SUV and with the new 07 Tahoe getting over 20 combined this is not a good thing for a smaller lighter 4 door. Much of the blame probably goes to the old 4 speed automatic and outdated engines. That 5.3 303 hp DOD motor would have been a better choice at 18/28 and far superior performance numbers. Other than these gripes I too realy liked the cars I saw but would not coonsider one untill GM offers a better base engine and transmission. Oh and I applaud Buick for finally offering a floor shifter as std equipment.
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Navigation is coming later in the year. The brochures spell that out very clearly. As auto 'journalists' they should know that.
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Navigation is coming later in the year. The brochures spell that out very clearly. As auto 'journalists' they should know that.

[post="51172"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]

I recall someone (thought it was you Fly), who suggested that GM's navigation was getting upgraded or something and that was the cause for the late release... anyone have any info on that?
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Expensive for a Buick? I rathink think the Lucerne is too cheap to be a Buick. Buick should be a luxury car and no try to steal sales from Pontiac after having already killed Oldsmobile.
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Expensive for a Buick? I rathink think the Lucerne is too cheap to be a Buick. Buick should be a luxury car and no try to steal sales from Pontiac after having already killed Oldsmobile.

[post="51202"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]

WHOAH.... Buick did not kill Oldsmobile... Oldsmobile had several problems with it--and it was GM that killed Oldsmobile.

Buick is not stealing sales from Pontiac at all--first of all, Pontiac has the G6... coupe, sedan and soon convertible... Buick does not have a coupe or convertible in its ENTIRE lineup.

Secondly, Pontiac has the Solstice, a really cool roadster that is getting tons of rave reviews. Buick has no roadster.

Pontiac has the GTO--a hi-performance coupe. Buick? Uh, yeah, right again, nothing.

So... Buick has 1 vehicle that was JUST introduced this year that is getting good reviews. And it has the Rendezvous which has had unexpected popularity. That's it. I just don't think it's fair to say Buick killed off Pontiac.

As for Buick being a luxury car division, well, entry luxury yes. Luxury right now? No--that's Cadillac. Down the road when Cadillac bumps up the scales, then Buick will move up too--at least that's how I see it.
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Well, I disagree with their statement about the Lucerne price being steep for a domestic near-luxury car. A fully loaded Lucerne is about $4,000 less than a loaded Park Avenue Ultra.

In a world that buys $32,000 Camries & Accords, a $38,000 Lucerne is NOT too expensive.
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