2010 Buick LaCrosse

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Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
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Key Specs

of the 2010 Buick LaCrosse. Base trim shown.

  • Body Type:
  • Combined MPG:
    20-24 Combined MPG
  • Engine:
    182-hp, 2.4-liter I-4 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain:
    Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission:
    6-speed automatic w/OD and auto-manual
  • View more specs

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Interior quality
  • Comfortable ride
  • Quiet cabin
  • Elegant styling
  • Well-executed navigation system
  • Doesn't need premium fuel

The Bad

  • Small trunk
  • Crowded controls
  • Mushy brakes
  • Backseat too low to the floor
  • Modest acceleration with AWD
  • Numb highway steering

Notable Features of the 2010 Buick LaCrosse

  • Redesigned for 2010
  • Two available V-6 engines
  • Four-cylinder available in fall 2009
  • Available AWD
  • Standard six-speed automatic
  • Available rear DVD screens

2010 Buick LaCrosse Road Test

Joe Wiesenfelder
The 2010 Buick LaCrosse sedan made its debut a year ago, and it's been a huge hit. Kelsey Mays reviewed the whole LaCrosse lineup last year, including CX and CXL trims with the 3.0-liter V-6, and the top CXS trim level with the 3.6-liter V-6. Now, Buick has added a four-cylinder version of the CX to lower the price a bit and boost gas mileage. (See all versions compared.) All these cars are 2010 models, so Kelsey's review remains a comprehensive evaluation. I'll concentrate on the new four-cylinder's performance and some new observations.

Overall, the four-cylinder LaCrosse will further expand the model's considerable appeal, but its modest power means it's unlikely to become a significant part of the mix.

In terms of base price, the four-cylinder saves you only $840 over the V-6-powered CX, but the mileage bump is a more significant 2 mpg in the city (to 19 mpg), 4 mpg on the highway (to 30 mpg) and a combined 2 mpg improvement in mixed driving (to 23 mpg).

Modest Power, at Best
The 2.4-liter four-cylinder generates 182 horsepower, versus the 3.0-liter's 255 hp (252 hp with all-wheel drive) and the 3.6-liter's 280 hp. The CX comes only with front-wheel drive and either the four-cylinder or 3.0-liter engine. The CXL comes with front- or all-wheel drive powered by the 3.0-liter, and the CXS comes with front-wheel drive and the 3.6-liter.

As for its acceleration, the smaller engine rides the line between modestly powered and underpowered. As s...

The 2010 Buick LaCrosse sedan made its debut a year ago, and it's been a huge hit. Kelsey Mays reviewed the whole LaCrosse lineup last year, including CX and CXL trims with the 3.0-liter V-6, and the top CXS trim level with the 3.6-liter V-6. Now, Buick has added a four-cylinder version of the CX to lower the price a bit and boost gas mileage. (See all versions compared.) All these cars are 2010 models, so Kelsey's review remains a comprehensive evaluation. I'll concentrate on the new four-cylinder's performance and some new observations.

Overall, the four-cylinder LaCrosse will further expand the model's considerable appeal, but its modest power means it's unlikely to become a significant part of the mix.

In terms of base price, the four-cylinder saves you only $840 over the V-6-powered CX, but the mileage bump is a more significant 2 mpg in the city (to 19 mpg), 4 mpg on the highway (to 30 mpg) and a combined 2 mpg improvement in mixed driving (to 23 mpg).

Modest Power, at Best
The 2.4-liter four-cylinder generates 182 horsepower, versus the 3.0-liter's 255 hp (252 hp with all-wheel drive) and the 3.6-liter's 280 hp. The CX comes only with front-wheel drive and either the four-cylinder or 3.0-liter engine. The CXL comes with front- or all-wheel drive powered by the 3.0-liter, and the CXS comes with front-wheel drive and the 3.6-liter.

As for its acceleration, the smaller engine rides the line between modestly powered and underpowered. As someone who knows a driver can adapt his expectations and driving style to a car, I was satisfied with it. However, I know Americans are power-hungry and all too quick to deem unsafe any car that can't blow away a top-fuel dragster in the passing lane. Here in the Illinois flatlands, the car was more than workable, though I expect some shoppers will disagree. A fully loaded CX four-cylinder on hilly terrain, however, would be another story entirely. Even I don't think 2 extra mpg and an $840 discount are worthwhile in that scenario.

The drivetrain's character is pretty good overall, and I give extra credit for how quiet the engine is, even under full acceleration. To tap into maximum power, four-cylinders have to rev pretty high, and people tend to equate the accompanying noise with "straining." In truth, the engine is just doing its job, but the drama can definitely give a bad impression. The LaCrosse overcomes this sensation by keeping engine noise to a minimum. Historically, GM's Ecotec family of four-cylinders hasn't been a paragon of refinement in terms of noise, vibration and harshness. This new execution is nicely done.

Having six speeds in the standard automatic transmission is key to making the small engine viable in the LaCrosse, and though it serves its purpose, I wish it would respond more quickly to requests for passing power. It often hesitates before kicking down, and sometimes it gets confused and hunts for a gear. It's likely most drivers won't notice these things; I'm less accepting of transmission or throttle hesitation than I am of modest power. I also felt some slight thunking when getting on or off the accelerator at low to medium speeds, but again, that might be a picky car reviewer thing.

The Comfort Story
The CX is more comfortable than the higher trim levels I've driven, for one reason: the cloth seats. It's not the upholstery itself; it's the seat design. Both I and another editor found the leather driver's seat uncomfortable enough to be a deal-breaker. There was a preponderance of lumbar support, even when that adjustment was backed off all the way. I can usually find reasonable comfort in a test car; not that one. The CX's cloth seat isn't exceptionally comfortable — the front of the cushion could tilt down farther, and there's a lot of lumbar support here, too — but it's definitely workable. (Lumbar adjustment is optional on this seat, but we didn't have it.)

I was pleased with how comfortable the CX rides, for two reasons: First, it's a Buick, and the brand might easily have tried to make the LaCrosse something it's not — a sport sedan with an overly firm suspension — trying to appeal to the younger buyers it admittedly seeks. Buick didn't; it's comfortable, as I believe it should be. Second, I've driven the CXS trim level equipped with 18-inch wheels, and I thought it was too choppy. The CX's 17-inch wheels (steel is standard, but we had the optional alloys on our test car) made for a more comfortable and model-appropriate ride.

On the downside, these tires were very noisy, especially on grooved pavement, in an otherwise quiet car.

The LaCrosse's cabin quality is among the best GM has to offer. The cloth upholstery isn't a knockout, and some of our editors thought it seemed out of place on a supposed premium car, but I'm not sure faux leather is intrinsically better. The center control panel is far less busy and more ergonomic than the jumble of controls you get with the optional navigation system. Unfortunately, one reason for the reduced clutter is the deletion of buttons for the heated and ventilated front seats that came with the leather in our previous test car. The cloth seats sacrifice the feature.

Rolling Ding Factory
I noticed another anomaly that didn't stand out in previous tests: a flawed interior handle design. Doors usually have an unlatch handle and a separate grab handle nearby for closing the door. The LaCrosse's grab handle is tucked under the armrest, and the problem with that is that the grab handle is also the means to stop the door after you push it open to get out. You might not realize it, but when you park next to another car or obstacle, unlatch the door and push it open, you then stop it by grabbing the handle. The LaCrosse's design makes it too hard to grab after you've pushed it. I noted a similar problem in the Ford Explorer a few years ago, and it was addressed in the next model year. Until Buick takes a second look at this design, I'm not parking next to any LaCrosses.

Safety
Since our previous review, the LaCrosse has been crash-tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and it performed very well. It's a Top Safety Pick because it scored Good, the top rating, in front, side and rear crash tests, as well as in the roof-strength test, which measures rollover protection. It also has a standard electronic stability system, as required.

Other standard safety features include front and side curtain airbags. Side-impact torso bags are standard for the front seats and optional for the rear. Antilock brakes are also included.

LaCrosse Four-Cylinder in the Market
The four-cylinder LaCrosse is sure to appeal to some buyers, but there's no way it will put much of a dent in the six-cylinder mix. While roughly 80 percent of the best-selling midsize cars are four-cylinders, the LaCrosse CX's just doesn't have the punch — or the price or mileage benefit — to command that much of the market, especially in the premium class, where larger engines are popular and lower mileage is better tolerated.

Though it has a roomy backseat, the LaCrosse is Buick's midsize car. The full-size Lucerne will continue to be sold until the middle of 2011, at which time the LaCrosse will be considered Buick's flagship sedan. With more room both in the trunk and in all seating dimensions, the Lucerne remains an attractive alternative if space is what matters most to you.

Send Joe an email 



2010 LaCrosse Video

Cars.com's Joe Wiesenfelder takes a look at the 2010 Buick LaCrosse CX. It competes with the Cadillac CTS and Chrysler 300.

Latest 2010 LaCrosse Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.7)
Performance
(4.3)
Interior Design
(4.6)
Comfort
(4.7)
Reliability
(4.4)
Value For The Money
(4.4)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

Happy Daddy

by Sportsmom79 from Oviedo on July 28, 2018

Just purchased this car a few hours ago for my husband and he is super excited. The drive was smooth, spacious and luxurious. The seats are really comfortable which will be great for when you are ... Read full review

(5.0)

Great ride!

by xjinxix from Flint, Mi on July 14, 2018

This car is so comfortable and driving it makes you feel like the car is floating! Its loaded with a ton of features! Tons of room. Very happy with it. Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2010 Buick LaCrosse currently has 0 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2010 Buick LaCrosse CX 4 cyl.

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 100,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    60 months / 100,000 miles

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by Buick

Program Benefits

Two Factory-Backed Warranties, CPO Scheduled Maintenance Program, Vehicle Inspection & Reconditioning, 3-Day/150-Mile Vehicle Exchange Program, 24/7 Roadside Assistance and Courtesy Transportation, OnStar & SiriusXM Satellite Radio Trial Offers, and a Carfax Vehicle History Report

  • Limited Warranty

    Two Factory-Backed Warranties

    6-Year/100,000-Mile, Powertrain Limited Warranty and a 12- Month/12,000-Miles, Bumper-to-Bumper Limited Warranty, both with $0 deductible
  • Eligibility

    Under 5 years / 75,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a 172-Point Inspection & Reconditioning.

    See inspection details.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The LaCrosse received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker