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C/D review of Lucerne on stands

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I was at B and N working on a paper this AM.

After some coffee, I went over to the magazine area. I saw that Car and Driver reviewed the Lucerne.

Overall, the review was positive. It praised the craftsmanship and the quality of the product. It seemed a little shortchanged on the power of the V8 engine. But, overall, not bad. The first picture one encounters is indeed flattering.

The one comment that bugged me is that the styling piggybacks onto that of the mid 90s Camry. How is that? I think that the Lucerne's styling is closely aligned with that of the large VW Phaeton. In fact, one day I was driving down the freeway and thought that the car 1/4 mile ahead of me might be the new Lucerne. Instead, it was a Phaeton.

I then moved over to Consumer Guide Buying Guide with all the new cars where they give numbers between 1 and 10 to a bunch of categories. They assert that the best Lucerne purchase is a CXL with the 3800 V6. Ha ha ha. I had to laugh because so many C&Gers hold views to the contrary.

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Patrick Bedard of C/D didn't exactly slam the Lucerne, but he wasn't that enthusiastic about it either. This stood out to me:

"You're surrounded by a first-rate simulation of quality materials. In fact, the Lucerne interior is a panorama of plastic under soft-touch paints, trimmed in obviously fake wood, but someone worked hard on the details. The shines and sheens look classy, and the stitched seams across the doors, seats, and console are convincingly craftsmanlike. The windshield pillars are smoothly covered in headliner material, eliminating molding lines and dsitracting glare. The large sun visors slide on their arms, allowing exceptionally good coverage to the sides. If you don't look too critically at the details of console bins and hatches, the appointments live up to four-holer expectations."

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Patrick Bedard of C/D didn't exactly slam the Lucerne, but he wasn't that enthusiastic about it either.  This stood out to me:

"You're surrounded by a first-rate simulation of quality materials.  In fact, the Lucerne interior is a panorama of plastic under soft-touch paints, trimmed in obviously fake wood, but someone worked hard on the details.  The shines and sheens look classy, and the stitched seams across the doors, seats, and console are convincingly craftsmanlike.  The windshield pillars are smoothly covered in headliner material, eliminating molding lines and dsitracting glare.  The large sun visors slide on their arms, allowing exceptionally good coverage to the sides.  If you don't look too critically at the details of console bins and hatches, the appointments live up to four-holer expectations."

This is the same story with the Tahoe, except the simulation is more convincing. Maybe it's because the enormous SUV dash is so far away that it requires deliberate reaching to feel and notice it.

Edited by empowah

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That was a weird review. Bedard complaining about tilt-wheel, port holes...and my favorite...that the DOHC V-8 had no low end torque! Yet, if he had tested the 3800 engine, he likely would have complained about it being a pushrod...can't win. I also found it odd they only compared it to the Chrysler 300C and the Ford 500 in the article and had no comparisons to the Toyota Avalon. The only Avalon comparison was in the chart at the end of the article.

I used to enjoy his reviews, though lately they've gotten tiresome. He complained a lot about the HHR the previous month...which interestingly they keep calling the "me too cruiser" (and let's not forget the window control placement!) and yet the Honda Ridgeline, a copy of the Ford Explorer SportTrac, got a free pass as being "innovative." Hmmm...

Edited by BigPontiac

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His comment on the torque:

"Although a V-8 driving the front wheels is out of step with today's trend back to rear drive, the Lucerne makes it seem as right and righteous as God's plan. What torque steer? More to the point, what torque? For the record, the 4.6-liter Northstar is a twister, not a torquer, delivering 275 horsepower at 5600 rpm, with another 1000 rpm available before the redline, but a torque output of only 290 pound-feet at 4400 rpm. Compared with, say, the 390 pound-feet at 4000 rpm of Chrysler's Hemi, the Lucerne's V-8 is only mildly energetic."

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THE VERDICT

Highs: Uncluttered dash with big knobs, hushed interior, La-Z-Boy comfort in the front buckets.

Lows: Ancient five-position tilt-column, legacy four-speed automatic, heritage Camry body shape.

The Verdict: Watch the Gray Panthers pounce on this one.

Other interesting quotes:

"Apart from the reinterpreted portholes, the wedgy shape seems familiar and tired, a repeat of a 90's Camry; only the big-eye look in front saves it from being a complete cliché."

"You'll have to live with GM's ancient tilt column that gives only five positions over a wide angle range; choose between not quite right or hopeless."

"From a standing start, you get an initial jump off the torque converter up to 7 or so mph, followed by a sag as you wait for the twister V-8 to take over, which it does at about 28 mph; 60 mph comes up at just a tick under seven seconds (6.9), followed by the quarter-mile mark in 15.3 at 94 mph."

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Bobo,

It sounds like you subscribe.

Thanks for the accuracy of the wording. It does sound kind of apologetic, doesn't it?

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>>"Lows: Ancient five-position tilt-column"<<

The complaints get more and more nitpicky and in turn: laughable each year, what with the majority of the running complaints addressed and buried.

This may be the biggest indicator of Just How Far We've Come of any of them. Too bad the 5th grade writers can't leave the "ancient" stereotypes alone.

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At least someone else "in the know" is finally commenting about the odd styling. Overall, in CXL or CXS guise and with the chrome wheels and a proper color, it does actually have quite a luxurious presence...but it's still largely just an ovoid blob.

Actually, if the center section stayed, and the front end was heavily revamped to be crisper and more chiseled like that of the Velite, and maybe touch up the rear details, it really would be gergeous. Oh, and make the black center stack pieces the same color as the rest of the dash...it sticks out.

As is, not bad at all, but not stimulating at all either, except for looking very nice in fully loaded garb. Moreso, I still don't get why so few people comment on the strangely undetailed front, in particular.

Terrific quality, refinement, and equipment, but still ho-hum in the looks...not bold like it really could stand to be, and really get people to notice.

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>>"Lows: Ancient five-position tilt-column"<<

The tilt column thing seemed absurdly nit-picky to me.. I think my Jeep only has 5 positions...I didn't realize any car had more than that.

I don't see any Camry, but I see a lot of Passat in the C-pillars and tail. The front would look better without a different headlight treatment, IMHO.... something more horizontal would look better...(and wider Buick taillights).

Edited by moltar

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Yes, the column tilt adjustment thing is preposterous. That's like saying the teather to the fuel cap doesn't match the cap itself.

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>>"Lows: Ancient five-position tilt-column"<<

The complaints get more and more nitpicky and in turn: laughable each year, what with the majority of the running complaints addressed and buried.

No, I noticed that flaw the moment I sat in one... it's a legitimate complaint. The column doesn't adjust for reach, and I found the driving position slightly unnatural. Most manufacturers have moved on to infinitely adjustable columns that lock in place as opposed to a floppy lever.

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Yes, the column tilt adjustment thing is preposterous. That's like saying the teather to the fuel cap doesn't match the cap itself.

I have more of an issue that it doesn't have a telescopic feature as standard. But, with the given positions of the steering wheel, most normally sized people ought to find one that works.

I am not a big fan of the dash. It's a scaled up LaCrosse/Allure dash, much the same way that the Alero had a junior version of the Intrigue dash, if you recall. I think that there are enough economies of scale that they didn't have to replicate the LaCrosse/Allure dash.

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I agree that the nitpicky level of complaints is a testament to how far GM has gone. But the bar is continuously being raised. Yesterday in the San Francisco Chronicle, there was a review that was decidedly lukewarm about the Lucerne and its Northstar engine, even stating that the Hyundai Azera was a superior vehicle with a better interior and better performance.

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Am I the only one who doesn't get the "gray Panther" reference? What does that even mean?

Senior citizens. The Gray Panthers were/are a senior citizen activist group..

Edited by moltar

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Well, the very first Lucerne I saw on the street was sporting 4 portholes on the fenders and large chrome wheels.

So much for Car and Driver's opinion. What I think many here and in other places need to realize is that what Car and Driver likes is not necessarily what sales the best. Case in point, the Accord.

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This is after all the magazine that picks the xBox as first place against the Element, HHR and PT Cruiser. And they also think the Malibu Maxx looks odd but give the xBox kudos for styling. Whatever! How they think the Lucerne looks like a 90's Camry is beyond me. I'll bet when they review the putrid 07 Camry they won't even mention the fact that is looks just like a Mazda in front and that the overall shape is bloated and ugly. When reviewing the Lucerne they just had to come up with some stupid older 90's car to compare it's styling to. These yuppie retards should keep there opinions about styling out of the equation because few cars made today really have great styling. It's either the tired jelly bean look or the ugly box or the haunchy midget window look of the 300C etc. Thankfully GM has the best styled vehicles IMO like the Solstice/Sky, Vette, 900's, Lucerne, Grand Prix, and Ford with there Mustang and Fusion.

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I think Car and Driver and Motor Trend need to start supporting their opinions and backing up why they will go crazy over one thing and not the other. I can understand being pro-better-gas-mileage, even an extra gear or two, or whatever. Those are reasonable reasons to choose one over the other, but the magazines are getting 'set in their way' now which is exactly what they didn't like about Buick in the first place.

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I will confess I haven't read the article...but it sounds like a good review overall....

...plus, isn't the target market for this machine the old LeSabre/PA crowd? There's plenty of people for whom this machine makes perfect sense...

Listen, if the quality is there, and a couple of 2nd yr. upgrades like a tilt/telescope steering wheel and the 6 sp. auto are on the way, that's not too bad.

This car isn't aimed at BMW owners...unfortunately, BMW is C&D's preference, which really isn't where this car (or Buick's line-up) is going anyway...

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Wow ! I see this guy gave it his best enquirerian Shakespear try. atta BOY !

Anyone know weight of Lucerne ? I bet their getting heavy

Dman that Northstar must just drop dead in its tracks just like a heart attack victom, ey ? :lol:

Anyhow, Im taking my daughter to work yesterday and POP, there it is, the first Lucerne at our small dealership, not really small but they also sell Pontiac, Chevy, Chevy truck and GMC. Anyhow........ DAMN ! thats the best looking Buick since the 2 dr H body or the 95 Riviera if you prefer. CXL 38 in Red. It was even more interesting because then I drive right past a Bonne GXP in the parking lot, they do look much better cleaned up than "ribed". Anyhow dropped off my daughter and went back to look at this Lucerne. In real life its headlights do not look HUGE, you loose the 3D in a photo somewhat. The overall profile is aggressive and I just love the greenhouse. The baseball cap Buick roof is finally GONE !

looking through window at interior

Im not a fan of course grainded pleather or leather

it was a column shift, so no console

to much glare to see anything well

Still thinking back to the LSS or Auroras I dont think Im finding anything more appealing about this "new" way of doing interiors.

Ill go do a test drive sometime soon. Ill have to go to the city to get a test of both the 38 and N*.

Anyhow that new GM lineup looked good sitting there but I thought I could set them up better to get the heads turnin. They had a blue G6, yellow Cobalt coupe, that soft blue Lacrosse, two nice Maxx'z, this red Lucerne and more. But there was no method of the parking or display and they have the truck up front toward road and cars behind :rolleyes: ....is it me ???

Still that Lucerne is a nicely carved car, I must drive and get all touchy with the wittle pwasic pieces.

Edited by razoredge

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Well... I still find the Lucerne's exterior to be it's biggest flaw. While I wouldn't call it Camry-like, it's definitely not unique in any way and definitely not very Buick. A bad thing, FYI, in case you forgot what a Buick is supposed to be.

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