What it is: The LaCrosse is Buick’s newest entry level midsized luxury sedan. The redesigned car was launched in late 2009 as a 2010 model and the 2012 model has seen some slight improvements over the 2010/2011 model. The biggest improvement is a revamped eAssist system, which functions as a mini-hybrid system. In 2010 and 2011, the system merely turned off the engine when you came to a stop and automatically turned it on when you let off of the brake pedal. The new system gives you a Lithium Ion battery and a small electric motor that assists the 2.4 liter 4 cylinder engine with a 20hp and 79 lb-ft of torque bump. While driving the car, I honestly thought it was the V6 model and not the I4 because of the nice power delivery. The big reason to have the 4 cylinder trim is the great gas savings. The LaCrosse is rated at a mighty 25mph city and 36mpg highway, which is great for such a large and luxurious car. The 2012 LaCrosse definitely provides a no compromise luxury feel, especially when equipped with the premium stereo package ($600), driver confidence package (HID headlamps, head-up display, side blind zone alert ($1,440)) and the navigation system with backup camera ($1,345). Price: Base price $29,960. Nearly fully loaded as-tested $36,880. Upsides: Incredible gas mileage and lots of style. Downsides: The startup of the eAssist is a little jerky, but I didn’t notice it after a day of driving. It’s a very minor issue. Wrap-up : I had a very favorable experience with the LaCrosse. GM has turned the brand around and has put together some fantastic cars that appear to all ages. The LaCrosse is a very well rounded car and stacks up very well against not only the domestic luxury manufacturers, but the German and Asian manufacturers as well. Fun Fact: The 2012 LaCrosse is the first to have General Motor’s second generation eAssist system, but it is also available on the 2012 Buick Regal and will be available on the 2013 Chevy Malibu. We will be seeing it more and more as it provides a nearly 30% gain in fuel economy.

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