Buick has been trying for years to re-establish itself as a luxury brand, and the 2018 LaCrosse represents a solid step toward reaching that goal. Though it certainly delivers for shoppers simply seeking a larger, more comfortable and more refined car than what is offered in the midsize sedan segment, this big Buick transcends its typical large sedan competitors by staking a legitimate claim to luxury status. Possessing a nicely crafted cabin, attractive styling and sophisticated driving manners, it genuinely competes with cars from Lexus and Lincoln. In other words, this is so not Grandma's old Century.
For 2018, Buick has diversified the LaCrosse's lineup with a new base engine that puts an emphasis on fuel economy. Called eAssist, this mild hybrid system subtly helps the four-cylinder engine return a Buick-estimated 35 mpg highway. It's important to note that the eAssist is not a full hybrid like those offered by several of the LaCrosse's key competitors. However, it is cheaper than those competitors, and it's really best to think of the eAssist as simply a fuel-economy-focused base engine.
Regardless of the engine you get, the 2018 Buick LaCrosse delivers an impeccably quiet and comfortable driving experience. We also like the LaCrosse's surprisingly adept handling when the car is fitted with the highly recommended Dynamic Drive package. Overall, we recommend the LaCrosse if you're searching for a comfortable and luxurious large sedan.
The 2018 Buick LaCrosse is available in base 1SV, Preferred, Essence and Premium trim levels. All come standard with a mild hybrid powertrain known as eAssist that features a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, a six-speed automatic and a small electric motor that together produce 194 horsepower and 187 pound-feet of torque. Optional is a 3.6-liter V6 (310 hp, 268 lb-ft) paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, while the Essence and Premium can be fitted with all-wheel drive and the V6.
The base 1SV comes standard with 18-inch wheels, automatic xenon headlights, foglights, heated mirrors, rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, keyless ignition and entry, remote engine start, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear air vents, simulated leather upholstery, eight-way power-adjustable front seats (with two-way driver lumbar adjustment), OnStar (with an onboard 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot), an eight-speaker sound system and the Buick IntelliLink infotainment interface that includes an 8-inch touchscreen, two USB ports, Bluetooth connectivity, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone app integration.
The Preferred adds a power-adjustable steering wheel, satellite radio and a cargo net.
Stepping up to the Essence trim gets you adaptive headlights, auto-dimming mirrors, driver-seat memory functions, leather upholstery, heated front seats, passenger-seat two-way lumbar adjustment and wireless smartphone charging. Optional for this trim level is the Driver Confidence 1 package that adds blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alert systems.
The Premium trim includes the Driver Confidence 1 items and adds forward collision warning, a head-up display, lane departure warning and intervention, the Safety Alert driver seat (buzzes to get your attention to various safety warning systems), an ionizing air cleaner, a heated steering wheel, and ventilated front seats with massage and four-way lumbar adjustment. The Driver Confidence 2 package adds adaptive cruise control, forward automatic emergency braking (detects vehicles and pedestrians) and an automatic parking system.
The Essence and Premium can be bolstered with three option packages. The Sun and Shade package has a panoramic sunroof and a power rear sunshade. The Sights and Sounds package adds a navigation system to IntelliLink and an 11-speaker, premium Bose surround-sound audio system. Finally, the Dynamic Drive package equips the LaCrosse with 20-inch wheels, adaptive suspension dampers and, for front-wheel-drive models, an upgraded front suspension design.