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AutoBlog: First Drive: 2010 Buick LaCrosse looks to breathe life into old brand

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Filed under: Sedans/Saloons, Buick, First Drive

lacrosse_fd000_opt.jpg
2010 Buick LaCrosse - Click above for high-res image gallery

Make no mistake, the 2010 Buick LaCrosse is the most important vehicle launched by the brand in decades. Buick, nearly consigned to the dustbin of history a few short years ago, is now one of General Motors' four remaining "core" brands. And if it weren't for the Chinese market's love affair with the marque, there's little doubt Buick would've followed Oldsmobile into the afterlife. Instead, GM is attempting to (once again) refashion the brand as a serious competitor to Acura, Lexus and Volvo, and the LaCrosse is the opening salvo in the battle for hearts, minds and market share - not to mention pocketbooks.

Technically, the "New" Buick was born two years ago when the Enclave debuted, but in reality, that was simply a new segment for the brand. In contrast, the LaCrosse marks the initial transformation of Buick's future. CEO Fritz Henderson has stated that new Buicks (and actually all GM vehicles going forward) must be more than competitive - they must be superb. They can't merely match the competition, they have to surpass them in every quantifiable way. So the launch of the LaCrosse couldn't be more fortuitous or fraught with risk. Developed before bankruptcy, bailouts and government intervention, the LaCrosse is what GM envisioned for the future of Buick over two years ago. But is it good enough to revive the marque? Time to find out.



Photos Copyright ©2009 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.

Continue reading First Drive: 2010 Buick LaCrosse looks to breathe life into old brand

First Drive: 2010 Buick LaCrosse looks to breathe life into old brand originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 16 Jul 2009 11:55:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Nice review! I can certainly see how having GME and China involved in the construction of this car is going to help it in the long run.

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I still don't see Buick as a competitor to Acura, Volvo, Lexus or Lincoln. Those brands are at a higher price point, and the Lacrosse is much bigger in size than the European or Acura cars of that price. I see this as an Avalon, Taurus, Chrysler 300, full size, near luxury sedan. The plus for GM is there aren't many cars competing in that segment, but it is also a small segment. Even if this car is great, I think the Buick brand name is too damaged.

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I still don't see Buick as a competitor to Acura, Volvo, Lexus or Lincoln. Those brands are at a higher price point, and the Lacrosse is much bigger in size than the European or Acura cars of that price. I see this as an Avalon, Taurus, Chrysler 300, full size, near luxury sedan. The plus for GM is there aren't many cars competing in that segment, but it is also a small segment. Even if this car is great, I think the Buick brand name is too damaged.

This car is the size of an the larger Acura. It is not a large car if you have ever really seen one in person.

The key will be to get people to drive it. The styling is drawing positive comments from non GM people but they all state that they would have to drive one first and it has to be as good as their import in performance before they would consider buying one. So far the reviewers feel as like many of the last couple Lutz GM cars that it has the stuff. Now the hard part is to convice people to leave what they have to give it a try.

I not many comments from the under 40 crowd that say they like the styling.

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Between the Taurus and the LaCrosse, I'm constantly changing my views on which I like better. Last week, I much preferred the Taurus with its Euro front end and Audi-rate interior. Now the LaCrosse doesn't look as generic and cheesy, and the Taurus's blocky rear end is starting to conflict with the rest of the car.

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Taurus looks way better, but it is too big of a car for me, I want smaller than that. I like the Taurus' interior also. Getting people to drive the LaCrosse is a major challenge, my mom is 55 and wouldn't be caught dead in a Buick (or nearly any other domestic for that matter). A lot of baby boomers were screwed by Detroit 20-30 years ago and will never go back. Personally I see any Buick as a step down from what I drive now, most Volvo, Acura, Lincoln, Lexus, etc buyers will think the same. So Buick has to get Chevy and Ford drivers who are loyal to domestics and looking to trade up. I don't think they can crack the Honda/Toyota life long loyalists unless they offer at least 100k mile bumper to bumper warranty, and even then the Honda/Toyota faithful still won't believe a domestic can last as long as their Japanese car.

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Taurus looks way better, but it is too big of a car for me, I want smaller than that. I like the Taurus' interior also. Getting people to drive the LaCrosse is a major challenge, my mom is 55 and wouldn't be caught dead in a Buick (or nearly any other domestic for that matter). A lot of baby boomers were screwed by Detroit 20-30 years ago and will never go back. Personally I see any Buick as a step down from what I drive now, most Volvo, Acura, Lincoln, Lexus, etc buyers will think the same. So Buick has to get Chevy and Ford drivers who are loyal to domestics and looking to trade up. I don't think they can crack the Honda/Toyota life long loyalists unless they offer at least 100k mile bumper to bumper warranty, and even then the Honda/Toyota faithful still won't believe a domestic can last as long as their Japanese car.

Have you seen both in person?

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from someone who prefers BMW interior design to Cadillac CTS interior design [not by a wide margin mind you]......in other words, i like import flavor.....personally speaking, if Buick continues to build cars with luxurious and modern design and creamy soft interiors with tasteful design as well as smooth engines....they will get back a lot of respect they once earned with the same proud heritage. i remember large cars from the early 80's, my family was not wealthy....and a friend of my dad leaving him the key to his large luxury coupe to 'watch over', it must have been olds or buick, definitely GM that much I have gathered. the quality was great. so long as the impression continues to be one of great quality, just bring over more cars like these, and buick will once again gain respect.

i like what they've done, from what i can tell from this review, with the trim packages. though i'm not paying too too close attention to the what goes on which package, from reviewers comments and the exterior looks, the basic package is not a letdown, and is priced according to a premium standard. i'm not a fan of the midline chromed wheels, just a little garish, but the top of the line package looks fantastic. perfectly placed in the $35k segment. Buick cannot command the luxury price tag that Acura TL can, so to undercut by a few thousands is the only way to go. nonetheless, this car is priced with some exclusivity in mind.

I don't have anything bad to say at this point. I think they've hit the mark. styling-wise I'd like to see it in person again [on the road]. my original thoughts were derivative and lack of originality, however, in person it is impressive and commanding, and sleek. the front end is very attractive. and the interior from what i've read is spectacular. all in all, a great concept executed well for the category.

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smk4565 - >>"A lot of baby boomers were screwed by Detroit 20-30 years ago and will never go back."<<

Funny how this 'Great Burning' is never mentioned WRT hyundai, and that was only 10 years ago.

BTW- these 'burn victims' were not Buick owners- they've been at the head of the quality class for a few decades now.

>>"I don't think they can crack the Honda/Toyota life long loyalists..."<<

There is no such thing- nothing that generic and mediocre can instill 'life-long loyalty'. A fallacy.

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smk4565 - >>"A lot of baby boomers were screwed by Detroit 20-30 years ago and will never go back."<<

>>"I don't think they can crack the Honda/Toyota life long loyalists..."<<

There is no such thing- nothing that generic and mediocre can instill 'life-long loyalty'. A fallacy.

It's not just the boomers, but also Gen X.

I don't know if the lovin' feelin will last 'life-long', but I do know some serial Toyota and Honda buyers that have been buying them nearly 20 years now, people my age and slightly older...I know many people my age that have never owned a domestic, only Japanese or German.

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Kno any people around your age that have never owned a foreign make?

Yep...they seem to be a distinct minority, though.

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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Wasn't sure- you never mention them.

Must just be the crowd you are around; AFAIK, foreign brands are still a distinct minority in the U.S. themselves.

On the flip side, I only kno 1 person who owns a toyota, and it's from the '80s and was a freebie.

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Wasn't sure- you never mention them.

Must just be the crowd you are around; AFAIK, foreign brands are still a distinct minority in the U.S. themselves.

On the flip side, I only kno 1 person who owns a toyota, and it's from the '80s and was a freebie.

Toyotas and Hondas are very, very mainstream, very common. Look around someday, at any typical suburban mall or street.

In my demographic, I know a lot more 30 something software/technology professionals that drive late model and new Camrys, Priuses, Corollas, Civics, Accords, Priuses, Acuras, BMW 3-series, Audis etc than Dodges, Chevys, Fords, Buicks, etc. Probably 30 to 1.. About the only domestics that I personally know several people to own are SUVs and the occasional Mustang or Challenger.

I'm not talking about California either, I'm sure the #s in my demographic would be even more skewed towards imports there. This is just normal suburban Denver and Phoenix from my experiences over the last decade. That's my reality context, I'm sure things would be different in other contexts.

Rob

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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As a GM fan, that must be tremendously depressing.

It is. I gave up talking about cars at one company I worked, the Toyota fan boys kept ragging on me for driving a Jeep and liking American cars. I have a few friends that like Mustangs and Jeeps, and one buddy that has a Prius and a Challenger SRT8..that's pretty radical.

My observation is that the generation younger than mine (Y) are even more import-oriented.

Then again, I only know techies, since that is my world.... I spent my college and grad school years around other techies, and all my friends outside of work the last 10+ years have been techies or otherwise in the computer biz. I've had a few girlfriends that weren't techies, though a couple were in software marketing and sales.

Rob

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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Was reading this article on my lunch break yesterday. One of my coworkers walked past as I had the interior pic up. He stopped dead in his tracks and said 'wow, what's that?' I told him it was the new Lacrosse and showed him the first exterior pic and he said 'that' thing's a Buick? Man have they come a long way".

This is a very well done vehicle. May GM never sell a single one with hubcaps.

-RBB

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from someone who prefers BMW interior design to Cadillac CTS interior design [not by a wide margin mind you]......in other words, i like import flavor.....personally speaking, if Buick continues to build cars with luxurious and modern design and creamy soft interiors with tasteful design as well as smooth engines....they will get back a lot of respect they once earned with the same proud heritage. i remember large cars from the early 80's, my family was not wealthy....and a friend of my dad leaving him the key to his large luxury coupe to 'watch over', it must have been olds or buick, definitely GM that much I have gathered. the quality was great. so long as the impression continues to be one of great quality, just bring over more cars like these, and buick will once again gain respect.

i like what they've done, from what i can tell from this review, with the trim packages. though i'm not paying too too close attention to the what goes on which package, from reviewers comments and the exterior looks, the basic package is not a letdown, and is priced according to a premium standard. i'm not a fan of the midline chromed wheels, just a little garish, but the top of the line package looks fantastic. perfectly placed in the $35k segment. Buick cannot command the luxury price tag that Acura TL can, so to undercut by a few thousands is the only way to go. nonetheless, this car is priced with some exclusivity in mind.

I don't have anything bad to say at this point. I think they've hit the mark. styling-wise I'd like to see it in person again [on the road]. my original thoughts were derivative and lack of originality, however, in person it is impressive and commanding, and sleek. the front end is very attractive. and the interior from what i've read is spectacular. all in all, a great concept executed well for the category.

I'm really confused by the LaCrosse's placement in the market. Who does it REALLY compete with in the realistic marketplace?

I simply do not see Buick pulling in Acura buyers (as Docherty as suggested.) The CXS may pull in ES350 buyers......I don't think Volvo has enough volume to add significant conquest sales for Buick either.

I would see Lincoln now as Buick's biggest competitor with the MKS. But, a loaded CXS undercuts a Taurus Limited.....???

Isn't Cadillac supposed to go after Lexus and Lincoln? (And BMW, Benz, et al....)

I'm warming big time to the LaCrosse. Not something I would have thought would have happened when I saw the original spy shots. I think it's a pretty damn competitive vehicle......but for who?

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base package retains traditional Lacrosse buyers. midlevel package picks off uplevel mainstream sedans, Accord, Camry, and offers them more 'exclusive' make. uplevel CXS from $35k-40k hopes to convince buyers of soft luxury brands, Acura, Volvo, Lexus, etc with high level technical features, standout styling, great interior presentation, extremely convincing driving dynamics/powertrain combo. in short there best hope is probably siphon off 15% of import luxury brands. i think they'll do better; considering many of the interior features, it's a very engaging car.

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