2013 Buick LaCrosse

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$9,599–$19,591 Inventory Prices
Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
Photos
Reviews
Safety & Recalls
Warranty & CPO
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Key Specs

of the 2013 Buick LaCrosse. Base trim shown.

  • Body Type:
  • Combined MPG:
    20-29 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

The Bad

  • Small trunk
  • Crowded controls
  • Mushy brakes
  • Backseat too low to the floor
  • Numb highway steering
2013 Buick LaCrosse exterior side view

Notable Features of the 2013 Buick LaCrosse

  • Newly standard Buick IntelliLink integrates internet radio from smartphones
  • 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with eAssist hybrid technology gets 36 mpg highway
  • Available 3.6-liter V-6
  • Available AWD
  • Available rear DVD screens

2013 Buick LaCrosse Road Test

Jennifer Geiger

GM's old mild hybrids, such as the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid, delivered all the flashy hybrid badges without the big fuel-economy gains. This time around, things are different.

The 2013 Buick LaCrosse eAssist offers a comfortable ride and an inviting interior with unobtrusive fuel-saving technology.

As in 2012, the 2013 Buick LaCrosse comes with a standard electric-motor-assisted eAssist four-cylinder engine or an optional V-6 engine; I tested the eAssist. The only major change this year is that Buick's IntelliLink multimedia system is now standard. Compare the 2012 and 2013 versions here.

Buick's largest sedan competes in the near-luxury body-type segment, a limited field that includes the mainstream  Volkswagen Passat and the upscale Lexus ES 300h. The Passat comes in five- and six-cylinder gas and four-cylinder diesel trims; the ES 300h is a four-cylinder hybrid. Compare all three sedans here.

eAssist: Refined, Smooth, Efficient
The LaCrosse's most impressive detail is easy to miss: Its mild-hybrid powertrain is so seamless, you barely sense it working. The system conserves fuel with a combination of regenerative braking, electric assist during acceleration and a stop-start function.

It's all to good effect: The car is both surprisingly potent and efficient. It felt stronger than expected, especially in a car that weighs close to 4,000 pounds. The powertrain moved the LaCrosse without a problem and never felt lacking, thanks to an assist from a lithium-ion battery ...

GM's old mild hybrids, such as the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid, delivered all the flashy hybrid badges without the big fuel-economy gains. This time around, things are different.

The 2013 Buick LaCrosse eAssist offers a comfortable ride and an inviting interior with unobtrusive fuel-saving technology.

As in 2012, the 2013 Buick LaCrosse comes with a standard electric-motor-assisted eAssist four-cylinder engine or an optional V-6 engine; I tested the eAssist. The only major change this year is that Buick's IntelliLink multimedia system is now standard. Compare the 2012 and 2013 versions here.

Buick's largest sedan competes in the near-luxury body-type segment, a limited field that includes the mainstream  Volkswagen Passat and the upscale Lexus ES 300h. The Passat comes in five- and six-cylinder gas and four-cylinder diesel trims; the ES 300h is a four-cylinder hybrid. Compare all three sedans here.

eAssist: Refined, Smooth, Efficient
The LaCrosse's most impressive detail is easy to miss: Its mild-hybrid powertrain is so seamless, you barely sense it working. The system conserves fuel with a combination of regenerative braking, electric assist during acceleration and a stop-start function.

It's all to good effect: The car is both surprisingly potent and efficient. It felt stronger than expected, especially in a car that weighs close to 4,000 pounds. The powertrain moved the LaCrosse without a problem and never felt lacking, thanks to an assist from a lithium-ion battery pack and a 15-kilowatt electric motor. The motor combines with the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine for 182 horsepower total. The LaCrosse eAssist is EPA rated at 25/36 mpg city/highway, compared with the two-wheel-drive V-6's 17/27 mpg (all-wheel drive is a V-6-only option, rated 17/25 mpg).

The Lexus ES 300h, however, delivers 40/39 mpg from its hybrid system, which combines an electric motor with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder for a total of 200 hp. Also more impressive is the Volkswagen Passat TDI's 31/43 mpg rating, compliments of its satisfying 2.0-liter diesel four-cylinder. Though it only makes 140 hp, 236 pounds-feet of torque at 1,750 rpm make it lively from a stop and strong on the highway.

Power delivery in the LaCrosse is smooth, and shifts around town are well-timed, but the six-speed automatic's downshifts seem a bit delayed on the highway. At cruising speeds, the LaCrosse has impressive road isolation, making for a pillowy ride and a hushed interior. You pay for the compliant ride in the handling department, however; it's by no means an agile car. The sedan's full heft is felt hustling through corners.

The Buick LaCrosse earns another point in the refinement column for its automatic stop/start engine. In fact, it's smoother than many similar Mercedes-Benz and BMW systems, which can sound harsher and feel more abrupt. The LaCrosse's transitions were barely perceptible by comparison.

The regenerative braking system will give drivers pause, however. The brakes have a non-linear action and a stiff, brick-like feel. The response is mushy initially, then lurchy toward the end of the stop; it makes for an overall unnatural sensation.

In the Lap of Luxury
The 
Buick LaCrosse may compete in the near-luxury class, but there's nothing just "near" about the luxury of its interior. The top-of-the-line cabin is richly appointed with wood and chrome trim, and the seats are supportive and cushy. It has the high-class look and feel of a more expensive vehicle, all the way up to the Touring trim level, with the attention to detail you'd expect from a Lexus.

My test car had leather seats and surfaces and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, which are standard on all but the Buick LaCrosse base model, and the materials felt rich — even the padded plastic. Blue ambient lighting and contrast-color stitching tie the cabin's design together.

The newly standard IntelliLink multimedia system is refreshingly intuitive, and its large touch-screen buttons have a quick response time. If that's not your style, you can use the center dial and traditional push-buttons instead. Setting the radio presets was a no-brainer, as was pairing and connecting my phone with Bluetooth and launching the Pandora internet radio app. Navigation is an $895 option available on all but the base model; it's a $2,625 option on the ES 300h and an extra $1,660 on base Passat TDIs. It's standard on the uplevel version of the Passat TDI.

The Buick LaCrosse Premium's curved, twin-cockpit setup makes the cabin look and feel expansive, and I had plenty of head- and legroom in front. Although the LaCrosse is the longest sedan of the three, it offers slightly less front headroom than the VW. The Buick is roomier than both in back, however, with 40.5 inches of legroom, compared with the Passat's 39.1 inches and the ES 300h's 40 inches.

Low-cut door openings mean taller passengers will have to stoop to get in the back. Once there, the second row is roomy enough for two adults, but the middle seat is kid-only territory. The front cabin's center console eats up knee space, and a high floor hump steals foot space. Add a stiff cushion and you have the least comfortable seat in the house.

The LaCrosse's trunk space also disappoints. Sixty percent of the backseat folds, but the opening is only a narrow pass-through. The battery blocks most of it, eating up a decent part of the trunk's cargo space. EAssist versions have just 10.9 cubic feet of trunk space (2.4 cubic feet less than V-6 models), which trails the ES 300h's 12.1 and the Passat's 15.9 cubic feet. Interior storage is also lacking: The center console is smaller than you'd expect in a sedan this size, and the tiny door pockets are practically useless.

Safety
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Buick LaCrosse an overall score of five stars. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the LaCrosse has received the agency's highest rating, Good, in all areas of testing thus far. (The new small overlap front test has not yet been conducted.)

GM's OnStar safety communication system is standard with six months of free service, as are six airbags: front and side-impact airbags for the front seats and two side curtain airbags that cover both rows. Seat-mounted rear side airbags are a $350 option across the lineup. Other available safety features include a blind spot warning system and adaptive auto-dimming cornering headlights that automatically swivel to illuminate upcoming curves when you turn the steering wheel.

Visibility forward and back is partially obscured due to the sedan's sloping roofline and its high belt line (with resulting short windows). The LaCrosse's side mirrors are also a bit small. The reverse-sensing system with backup camera helps, and it's standard on all but the base model. A camera is standard only on higher Passat trim levels, and it's a $740 option on the ES 300h. Click here for a full list of safety features and here for our Car Seat Check.

Features & Price
The 2013 Buick LaCrosse starts at $32,555 (all prices include destination charges) and is available in base, Leather, Premium 1 and Premium 2 trims; the eAssist powertrain can be had only on base and Leather trims. My Leather trim test car started at $34,765 and was well-equipped with standards like heated leather seats, the IntelliLink multimedia system, keyless entry, remote start, a backup camera with park assist and power front seats with lumbar adjustment and memory.

The LaCrosse splits the difference between the Volkswagen Passat TDI ($27,020) and Lexus ES 300h ($39,745). Leather seats on an ES 300h will cost an extra $1,370, and it will take another $440 to get them heated. Heated leather seats are standard on uplevel versions of the Passat.

The value leader is clearly the Passat, but diesel power doesn't appeal to everyone. The fuel-economy champ is the ES 300h, but its higher sticker and lack of standard equipment mean prices can quickly escalate. Again, the LaCrosse splits the difference, carving out a niche as a comfortable, efficient and relatively affordable sedan.

In the Market
I keep coming back to the word "pleasant" to describe the LaCrosse. That may sound boring, but here it's not. Pleasant is what this brand strives for and what Buick's customers want — both its traditional, comfort-seeking consumers and a new set of shoppers looking for a stylish, comfortable and fuel-efficient sedan. The LaCrosse eAssist delivers in all three areas.

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2013 LaCrosse Video

The 2013 Buick LaCrosse with eAssist is a midsize mild-hybrid sedan that in some ways feels full size and surprisingly luxurious.

Latest 2013 LaCrosse Stories

What Drivers Are Saying

Exterior Styling
(4.8)
Performance
(4.7)
Interior Design
(4.6)
Comfort
(4.9)
Reliability
(4.7)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

Latest Reviews

(5.0)

Highest demand Buick sedan

by Tenacea 73 from South Bend on July 11, 2018

Very roomy and comfortable. 3 years owner and no major service needed. Have been approached several times about car and color. Dealership keeps trying to buy car back. Read full review

(3.0)

Cooling system tends to build MOLD

by Ginger VM from Minneapolis MN on May 23, 2018

The vehicle mets my needs. Leg room front and back is great. The middle console needs design work, not able to rest your arm comfortably. The ride is bumpy, more sporty then luxury. The cooling system ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2013 Buick LaCrosse currently has 2 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2013 Buick LaCrosse Base

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

    72 months / 70,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    72 months / 70,000 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