Sign in to follow this  
Variance

Edmunds: 2006 Buick Lucerne Full Test

64 posts in this topic

Buick essentially rebodies the Cadillac DTS

By Scott Oldham Email

Date posted: 04-03-2006

Over the years, we've driven cars that disappoint, cars that irk, cars that thrill. We've even sampled a few that made us laugh. But the 2006 Buick Lucerne CXL V8 is the only car we've ever driven that has caused us physical pain.

Our Platinum Metallic test vehicle was packed with options, including heated and cooled front seats that cost an extra $1,075. The cooling part of the package was fine, but using the seat heaters, turned the Buick's front seats into torture devices. Now we know what it's like to sit on an open flame.

Logbook entries on the subject included: "Call the burn unit, I just used the seat heaters."

After a few days we all learned to avoid the seat heater button on the door panel, but the Lucerne's botched bun warmers aren't the only thing about Buick's newest sedan that left us cold.

Poor performance

To create the Lucerne CXL V8, which is the brand's first full-size, front-wheel-drive, V8-powered luxury sedan, Buick essentially rebodied the Cadillac DTS and shaved a few grand off the sticker price.

Sound idea. Buick needed to replace its long-in-tooth Park Avenue, and the new model would have a V8 engine, a novelty for its class. Problem is, the DTS isn't exactly a spring chicken. The bulk of its hardware has been around since the late 1990s and it's all showing its age.

Even the 4.6-liter Northstar V8 is graying around its temples. In the Lucerne, it's rated at 275 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 290 pound-feet of torque at 4,400 rpm. Impressive numbers five or six years ago, but the much smaller V6 engines in the 2006 Hyundai Azera and 2006 Toyota Avalon nearly match that output. In fact, the 3.5-liter V6 in the Toyota is rated at 280 hp.

At 3,869 pounds the Lucerne is also heavy for its class, and to make matters worse, Buick backs the V8 with a four-speed automatic transmission, which is about as cutting edge as a cassette deck. It shifts smoothly enough for a luxury car, but its gear ratios are too tall to give the Lucerne an alert, ready-when-you-are feel.

As expected, the Buick's acceleration times aren't really any better than the times posted by its V6-powered competition. The Lucerne isn't slow, but it isn't the banker's hot rod its V8 would lead you to believe. At the test track 0-60 mph took 7.7 seconds and the quarter-mile was completed in 15.5 seconds at 92 mph.

On the same day at the same strip we tested an Azera and it ran from zero to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds and matched the Lucerne's quarter-mile performance. The last Avalon we tested was even quicker. Buy a Lucerne with the standard V6 and you should expect to be shut down by the ice cream truck.

Of course the V6 Hyundai and Toyota are without the Lucerne's throaty V8 soundtrack, which is certainly worth something, but they're much more fuel-efficient than the Buick. We averaged less than 14 mpg during our week in the Lucerne, 21 mpg in the Avalon and 17.7 mpg in the Azera.

Where's the power steering?

Order the top-of-food-chain Lucerne CXS and you get the V8 standard as well as Cadillac's Magnetic Ride Control suspension, and larger 18-inch wheels and Bridgestone tires. This is the setup we praised in our first drive of the Lucerne.

This midlevel CXL model, which goes without the magnetic suspension and 18-inch rubber, isn't nearly as well sorted. For starters, its 17-inch Continental tires struggle under the mass of the oversized sedan. They howl in protest every time you turn the wheel and provide little grip. The suspension, which features load-leveling air shocks in the rear, is also tuned too softly and relies too heavily on the electronic stability control to get the car around corners. StabiliTrak is a good system, but can only do so much. Our best run through our slalom test was just 59 mph, which is 3 mph slower than the Azera tested on the same day.

With that big engine sitting between its front tires, it shouldn't be a surprise that understeer is the Lucerne's preferred cornering attitude. In tight bends the outside edge of its front tires takes quite a beating, and there's torque steer if you wood it on the way out.

Like its tires, the Buick's magnetic steering system doesn't like the turns much either. Its ratio is quick enough, but there's too much assist and off-center response is oddly abrupt. Its power assist also stopped working for about an hour after we drove the car hard through a series of corners. Cooked its fluid is our guess. It had been awhile since we drove a car with manual steering, and we hope it's a long time before we experience it again.

On open road, the Lucerne is happier. In long, fast sweepers, the Buick's soft suspension leans over slowly and takes a nice set. And the ride, while a little floaty for our taste, is agreeable if you like that kind of thing.

Its light steering helps hide the Lucerne's size around town, but the car's huge 42.2-foot turning radius (44 feet with the 18-inch wheels) makes parking and U-turns a problem. Grave Digger, the 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe and the USS Ronald Reagan all have tighter turning circles.

Its brakes are also inexcusably deficient. Pedal feel isn't bad, but its best stop from 60 mph took up almost 138 feet, which is worse than most of the SUVs we've tested lately.

Quiet interior

Inside, the Lucerne is a tranquil place. Interior sound levels at full throttle and at 70 mph are lower than we recorded in the 2007 Lexus ES 350 we tested recently.

The rest of the Lucerne's interior, however, doesn't hold up against its competition. With the exception of its chrome metal door handles, which are appropriately upscale, the Lucerne's interior doesn't have the premium feel we expected. Seat comfort is average, the cupholders are laughably shallow, and forward vision is blocked by A-pillars the size of railroad ties. Our test car also had several fit and finish issues, including a loose headliner.

Yes, there's an abundance of wood and leather, but the materials are average for a car with a $35,000 sticker price. As is the Lucerne's equipment list. Despite its sticker, our Lucerne did not have a sunroof, a telescopic steering wheel or one-touch up windows. Those in the Snowbelt, however, will appreciate its optional heated windshield washer fluid and its remote vehicle starter system. Six airbags and OnStar are standard.

We are, however, fans of the Buick's dashboard. Although it's strange that the tachometer is without a redline, the gauges are laid out simply and easy on the eyes. The same can also be said for the Lucerne's sound and climate controls, which feature large knobs and minimal buttons.

Three fit in back without much elbow wrestling, and the trunk is large enough for another couple of acquaintances. Too bad Buick still uses the old-fashioned trunk hinges that intrude into the cargo area.

Just not our thing

So aside from its blowtorch bun warmers, and perhaps its warmed windshield washer fluid, the Lucerne isn't exactly a hot one. It looks good on paper and in the flesh (Buick deserves bonus points for doing the portholes and doing them right), but out on the road, and in the cutthroat $28,000-$38,000 luxury sedan market, the 2006 Buick Lucerne CXL V8 just doesn't have the depth of execution to fight off its long list of new competition.

Cars like the Hyundai Azera, Lexus ES 350 and Toyota Avalon may have six cylinders under their hoods, but they deliver more completely on the promise of a premium sedan.

Posted Image

Link: http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drive...rticleId=109862

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see Edmunds is still in the business of providing false statistics...

In fact, the 3.5-liter V6 in the Toyota is rated at 280 hp.

and one-sided criticism...

Too bad Buick still uses the old-fashioned trunk hinges that intrude into the cargo area.

Too bad Toyota does too in the 2005 Avalon, yet nary a mention of it in Edmunds' First Drive of it.

No mention about the car's safety aspects or great ratings therin. Also, I have to seriously wonder about the sub-14mpg average. I net 18-20 in my 4.0l Aurora and did similarly in a rental 2005 DeVille and a friend's 1998 Cadillac SLS with the same 4.6l Northstar over the course of about two weeks apiece. These were 50/50 city/hwy with liberal a/c usage and sometimes heavy throttle. Based on my experiences, I call into question the credibility and accuracy of such an average.

This editor's theme should be Scotty Doesn't Know because its clear he doesn't. You know what? I even agree with a few of the criticisms but this shocking lack of basic research of data available on their own f@#king website kills credibility in my eyes.

Jesus Christ...get a clue...and retake your Journalism 101 credit

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most reports put the Lucerne at a 0-60 time of less than 7 seconds. I got 6.8 seconds out of a V8, using a G-force, CXL that I drove and that was with only 100 miles on the odo. I also used the seat heaters. While they were a tad warm, I never even came close to getting burned by them. What a bunch of sissy cry babies. They bitch about Buick using old fashioned trunk hinges when Toyota does the same thing on there 2 volume sellers, the Crapalon and blandry. At least the Buick has a bigger trunk and more legroom, better exterior styling and a nicer interior. I like Hyundai better than the Toyota Avalon in fact because it just looks more impressive, has more exterior trim and flash and a far superior interior with the leather seating of course. Consumers on there own bloodly website rate the Lucerne higher overall than the Avalon as do several other journalists. And newsflash, the Avalon has 268 hp which is less than the Buick! After my drive of the Lucerne CXL the trip computer was reading 22.3 which was a mix of city, highway and 0-60 runs. Apparently Edmunds had there foot buried in the throttle the whole time they were driving it to make it look worse than it's competitors. I do agree that GM needs to get off there asses and usher in that new 6 speed automatic like RIGHT NOW! And why oh why is that damn 3800 still being used when so many other better more powerfull engines exist to use? Fix these 2 issues and Buck will have a winner.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was actually going to start my own complaint thread on GM seat heaters. It's one of the few annoyances I have about the CTS. The seat heaters have two settings, 2nd Degree or Tepid.

The Avalanche has 3 settings, 3rd degree, 2nd degree, and tepid.

Reostats have been around since the 1920s. Can't GM use those instead?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting all the complaining about GM Seat Heaters, My CTS :smilies-38096: was just right on the driver side, but the passenger side was a burner, I had caddy look at it and they replaced the heater and wow, now a nice warm high and a keep warm low, no more bun burner.

I agree that edmunds is overly critical of this car. They seem to have japan up the ass for love of their life. :censored:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

no complaints about the seat heats in my burb....but if I accidently turn them on when it is warm outside you definatly notice, which i guess is where they were using them. In the winter, the high setting is just perfect for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

are we still going to be blaming edmunds when gm's market share is 2%? if gm's products are competitive why is everyone other than a few octagenarians in the midwest choosing the imports? it's because they don't make competitive vehicles and everyone knows it. can someone here explain to me why they can't make a 3 series bmw?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This has to be one of the most poorly written and overtly prejudiced articles I have ever read. For starters, as pointed out previously, under the revised horsepower guidelines for 06' the Avalon(you know, the one Toyota wishes they could sell like the Lesabre and now Lucerne) it's engine is a respectable 268 vs the Lucy's 275. Not a huge # but if you research the torque difference (can't recall from memory)the gap is greater. Very rarely do I read these unfavorable articles concerning Buick and get angered because most journalists do conceed a lot of good qualities in the Lucerne and usually have to admit its a damn good car(even if they wouldn't buy one themselves)

This dude though(notice I didn't use the word: writer) Is obviously writing with some bias toward Buicks that nothing or noone can resolve. And why does anyone give a damn about what this car does at a test track. How many people buying a full-size car want it to shark through corners or chirp tires (Not that I've seen the ES burning rubber from a s/s). Most folks(and I am 26 yrs old) want something that looks good and drives well. If you check the owner experience on edmunds on website, you will find owner after owner that has fallen in love with their Lucerene and quite a few of them are first time buick owners.

Lastly, as to his comment about the Avalon, ES350 and Azera doing the job better. Let's be for real, what country do you live in? Hyundai is years away from matching even the name recognition that Buick or Toyota has for quality but yet this guy has already put them ahead of Buick(what a joke). Next, I do (yes I do) respect Toyota for the automobiles that they build. When you sell more of one car(camry) then any other manufacturer in the business, that is an accolade in its own right. But this dude mentioned the Avalon and Es330. They are both alright cars, but neither is selling like the Lucerne is right now and Toyota strategically launched the Avalon 6 months earlier than the Lucerne to try to steal away its potential customers. This guy may post all the crap he wants, but with Lucerne sales growing consitently month-to-month since release he certainly paints himself to be quite the uninformed Jackass. Long live the Premium American Motorcar :pbjtime:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

are we still going to be blaming edmunds when gm's market share is 2%? if gm's products are competitive why is everyone other than a few octagenarians in the midwest choosing the imports? it's because they don't make competitive vehicles and everyone knows it. can someone here explain to me why they can't make a 3 series bmw?

Not everyone wants a 3-series. If that were the case, the debate would be when BMW is overtaking GM as number 1, not Toyota. Cadillac is still selling the CTS above it's initial estimates without having to resort to incentives 4 years after it's intro.

There is still a market for large, soft, luxury cars..... otherwise the Avalon would not exist. In spite of this poorly researched Edmunds article, the Lucerne is quite competitive with the Avalon. Lucerne is selling pretty well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not everyone wants a 3-series. If that were the case, the debate would be when BMW is overtaking GM as number 1, not Toyota. Cadillac is still selling the CTS above it's initial estimates without having to resort to incentives 4 years after it's intro.

There is still a market for large, soft, luxury cars..... otherwise the Avalon would not exist.  In spite of this poorly researched Edmunds article, the Lucerne is quite competitive with the Avalon.  Lucerne is selling pretty well.

This doesn't negate the fact that GM cannot and has not made competitive small cars--not in the luxury 3-series realm and not in the economy realm either. Cobalt is decent but is outpaced by rivals, in its second year on the market. CTS was never a bogey for 3-series in terms of size. GM needs to compete on all fronts, better. They need to have 3-series type cars like they need Lucerne types.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Lexus IS uses the goosenecks on the trunk also.

I see Edmunds is still in the business of providing false statistics...

and one-sided criticism...

Too bad Toyota does too in the 2005 Avalon, yet nary a mention of it in Edmunds' First Drive of it.

No mention about the car's safety aspects or great ratings therin. Also, I have to seriously wonder about the sub-14mpg average. I net 18-20 in my 4.0l Aurora and did similarly in a rental 2005 DeVille and a friend's 1998 Cadillac SLS with the same 4.6l Northstar over the course of about two weeks apiece. These were 50/50 city/hwy with liberal a/c usage and sometimes heavy throttle. Based on my experiences, I call into question the credibility and accuracy of such an average.

This editor's theme should be Scotty Doesn't Know because its clear he doesn't. You know what? I even agree with a few of the criticisms but this shocking lack of basic research of data available on their own f@#king website kills credibility in my eyes.

Jesus Christ...get a clue...and retake your Journalism 101 credit

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This doesn't negate the fact that GM cannot and has not made competitive small cars--not in the luxury 3-series realm and not in the economy realm either. Cobalt is decent but is outpaced by rivals, in its second year on the market. CTS was never a bogey for 3-series in terms of size. GM needs to compete on all fronts, better. They need to have 3-series type cars like they need Lucerne types.

And BMW doesn't compete in the full sized luxury SUV arena... that doesn't mean BMW is going down in flames.

Cadillac is doing quite well thanks. Can they get better? Sure, but they certainly not doing poorly these days. CTS competes with the 3-series only in price. Otherwise it's a discount 5-series competitor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And one more thing:

As for his title: Buick essentially rebadged the DTS. Has anyone ever told this gentleman what the GM corporate strategy once was or is. Buick has even happily been called 'The poor man's Cadillac'. A phrase that is not one of belittlement but of the kinship between the two. But look how this dude twists even that admirable relationship into a negative. If anything, Cadillac owners should feel slighted that Buick owners can spend thousands less and still have the same luxurious experience!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, I'm very ticked after reading this review. They continue to claim the Lucerne's numbers aren't impressive, with a V8, but what about the much higher torque numbers than the cars they continue to compare it to? How about the fact that the Lucerne is a MUCH larger car when you start bitching about 0-60 times? How about telling us the trunk is very large... large enough for a "couple other companions", but then say the hinges intrude on it? So what? Sounds like you have more than enough room to store your $h!... but wait... as fly said they didn't mention the trunk hinges intruding on the MUCH SMALLER Avalon trunk.

This is just absurd.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

are we still going to be blaming edmunds when gm's market share is 2%? if gm's products are competitive why is everyone other than a few octagenarians in the midwest choosing the imports? it's because they don't make competitive vehicles and everyone knows it. can someone here explain to me why they can't make a 3 series bmw?

Nice bold, sweeping statement. I am 33, live in the southeast and I drive a Buick because I like it.

FWIW, nearly every brand has been trying to make a BMW 3 series killer without a great deal of success.

Edited by bdubsee

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

though most of his numbers seem off, i think most of the complaints are legitimate. For its size and power and class, the Lucerne does fall short in some categories compared to what is out there. That doesn't make it a bad car, but the experience isn't as polished as it needs to be, in that lucrative category.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

though most of his numbers seem off, i think most of the complaints are legitimate. For its size and power and class, the Lucerne does fall short in some categories compared to what is out there. That doesn't make it a bad car, but the experience isn't as polished as it needs to be, in that lucrative category.

Well, that's the thing. Speaking just of the quality of the review given, I call a :bs: flag on play. There is a difference between a solid car that needs improvement in some areas and a outright poor entry. The Lucerne is the former, but his review makes it out to be the latter.

Again, the trunk hinge issue is negated by the fact that the Avalon has a similar setup and less volume to begin with, yet this isn't tendered. My car has a 4.0l derivation of the Northstar and its rated lower, at 16/25mpg and a few weeks ago when I had two misfiring plugs, I never averaged below 14, even with heavy idling and a/c use. This Lucerne figure gets more bogus everytime I read it. Also, the horsepower numbers are dead wrong and paint the impression that the Buick's V8 doesn't really outrun a V6 Avalon, it doesn't even outgun it at 5 less hp. Again, dead wrong.

Its a very poor-quality review that should be removed immediately and revised for accuracy and balance if Edmunds considers itself a credible organization. I really don't think I'm out of line in saying so.

And, yes, I would be saying so if it were another car in the gauntlet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Who's made bigger improvements in the luxury sedan segment, Cadillac or BMW? Lets look at the past 20 years:

Cadillac:

1986

Posted Image

1996

Posted Image

2006

Posted Image

BMW:

1986

Posted Image

1996

Posted Image

2006

Posted Image

So... Cadillac, while not quite equal to BMW yet, has made huge strides in this segment. BMW on the otherhand, has been building the same kind of car, with the same kind of formula for 20 years or more. One would expect them to be good at it by now. The simple fact that the CTS and 3 or 5 series are even valid comparisons is a tribute to Cadillacs spiritual growth. Is Cadillac there yet? Not really, but that's why you can buy a discount 5-series competitor from them. I imagine that the distance between the 5-series and the CTS will be cut in half once the '08 CTS arrives.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LOOKS LIKE THAT LUCERNE WAS SELLING TOO WELL!!! WHY IS IT THAT WHEN A DOMESTIC IS SELLING WELL WE TEND TO SEE NEGATIVE P.R. AND NEGATIVE ARTICLES ON THE CAR IN QUESTION?!?!? OH YEAH!!!! TO THROW WATER ON THE FLAMES (If I have to type that one more time today I'm going to shoot myself)

Looks like they nitpicked the car to death. AND, why exactly, if they have already reviewed a CXS are they reviewing a CXL now?!?!?!

Oh wait.... TO THROW WATER ON THE ***BANG**** OWW, dammit, too bad I just shot myself in the foot!!!!

But anyway, you get the picture... More biased BULL$h!.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

tach without a redline - same for the 07 Camlee that I saw photos of...no mention of that in the article...why o.k. on the camlee, but not on the Buick?

LOL, because, in that piece of $h! the engine will sludge and BLOW UP WAAAAY before the redline... So, hence, no need for the redline (That red paint is costly)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LOL, because, in that piece of $h! the engine will sludge and BLOW UP WAAAAY before the redline... So, hence, no need for the redline (That red paint is costly)

In a Lucerne thread bashing the Camry interior for cost cutting, right. :rolleyes:

Odd I've redlined my V6 Camry what 1000 over the past 6yrs. Yet it idles and sounds the same it did when I bought it, must be a fluke.

That Ford rental I had wasn't running smooth once I was finished w/it though. :scratchchin:

Edited by toyoguy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In a Lucerne thread bashing the Camry interior for cost cutting, right.  :rolleyes:

No one mentioned cost-cutting, just lack of a redline. That isn't cost-cutting, that's just odd.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No one mentioned cost-cutting, just lack of a redline. That isn't cost-cutting, that's just odd.

(That red paint is costly)

There actually is a redline, btw.

I don't know how the Camry keeps winding up in these threads. Edmunds has no record of giving the Camry wins. If you don't like edmunds rankings, then stay away from R&T, C&D, and MT when they do their comparos.

http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drive...540/pageId=7328

http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drive...34/pageId=64748

http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drive...rticleId=101056

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoticons maximum are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this