CARS.COM — A mild hybrid four-cylinder model is back for the Buick LaCrosse as the new base powertrain for 2018 models going on sale this fall. It brings a new lower starting price for the base LaCrosse of $30,490 plus destination; the V-6 that's standard on the 2017 LaCrosse now will be an option on "select trims."
The new starting price is $1,575 lower than the cheapest 2017 LaCrosse with a V-6 if Buick keeps the destination charge at $925 for 2018. The current base LaCrosse is priced at $32,065 plus $925 destination.
Buick also announced some other updates for the 2018 LaCrosse, including extending the option of all-wheel drive down to the mid-range Essence trim and three new colors. Also, V-6 models will get engine refinements and a new nine-speed automatic transmission that also will spread to five more Buick models "by this time next year," according to the automaker. We'll have to drive it to see, but that may or may not be good news given troubles some other automakers have had with nine-speeds.
The new mild hybrid system, which Buick calls eAssist, uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and has a combined output of 194 horsepower and 187 pounds-feet of torque, spokeswoman Arianna Kughn said. That's 9 percent more torque than the mild hybrid system offered on the last-generation LaCrosse starting in 2012, as well as on some Regals. Output compares to 310 hp and 282 pounds-fee of torque for the V-6.
As for what you'd get from the mild hybrid in lower operating costs along with the lower sticker price, Buick did not release estimated mileage ratings for the new electrified system. The 2017 V-6 is rated at 21/31/25 mpg city/highway/combined with front-wheel drive, while the former mild hybrid, which used a 2.4-liter four-cylinder, was rated at 24/35/28 mpg. That's about 12 percent better combined mileage than the current V-6.
The rear-mounted 86-volt lithium-ion battery for the new system is more compact, allowing the LaCrosse to retain its fold-down rear seat and leaving trunk space at 14.3 cubic feet, Kughn said, down only slightly from 15 cubic feet in the V-6 LaCrosse.
The gas engine in the system does most of the work, while an electric motor/generator replaces the alternator and assists the engine with horsepower and torque as needed as well as recharges the battery. The car also has regenerative braking, full-time automatic stop-start and aerodynamic improvements that include active grille shutters.