Not every brand offers large sedans, but Buick does so with its flagship LaCrosse. The 2018 Buick LaCrosse straddles the line between mainstream and luxury, delivering a handsome vehicle packed with the latest technologies.

Best Value

Buick offers the LaCrosse with standard front-wheel drive or available all-wheel drive. Choose the latter if you live wherever wintry conditions are a factor. For everyone else, the front-wheel drive Premium trim is our “best value” model.

The 2018 LaCrosse Premium starts at $39,590 (including a $925 destination charge). We recommend upgrading to the V6 engine with the nine-speed automatic transmission for an additional $2,500. You’ll also find articulating headlights for improved nighttime driving, leather seats, heated front seats, driver seat memory, and an automatic dimming rearview mirror.

  • Model: 2018 Buick LaCrosse Premium
  • Engine: 3.6-liter V6
  • Output: 310 hp/268 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
  • MPG: 21 city/30 highway
  • Options: V6 engine with nine-speed automatic transmission ($2,500). We think the Driver Confidence Package 2 ($1,690) that adds full-speed range adaptive cruise control, forward automatic braking with full stop, front pedestrian braking, and automatic parking assist is a wise choice for this model.
  • Base Price: $39,590 (including $925 destination charge) on the Premium trim
  • Best Value Price: $43,780

Performance

Buick LaCrosse

The 2018 Buick LaCrosse produces 310 horsepower and 268 pound-feet of torque from its 3.6-liter V6 engine. A nine-speed automatic transmission works alongside this engine. There's a stark difference between the V6 and the standard 2.5-liter engine that makes 194 hp and 187 lb-ft of torque. The smaller engine is part of a “mild hybrid” arrangement that increases torque under acceleration and manages the automatic on/off system. Buick pairs this engine with a six-speed automatic transmission.

The LaCrosse’s V6 is strong, delivering generous power with ample acceleration even when carrying a full load. The chassis is stiff and we found the steering quick and accurate. The standard 18-inch wheels supply a comfortable ride; models equipped with the 20-inch wheels also have a drive mode selector for a sportier drive.

The LaCrosse with a V6 engine makes an EPA-estimated 21 miles per gallon in the city and 30 mpg on the highway – impressive for a large sedan. Although, if you choose the base engine, you’ll come away with a 25/35 mpg city/highway rating.

Interior and Exterior

The LaCrosse’s curvilineal shape brings elegance to the sedan market, typically found on far more expensive models. Its prominent grille, sweptback headlights, wide rear haunch, and stylish rear fascia afford an appearance that's as elegant as it is sporty. The only design drawback of note is the pseudo portholes on the sides above the front wheels near the door panel.

Inside, the cabin is expansive and comfortable. The seats are plush, although the rear seat may seem confining to tall people on account of the sloping roofline and smaller-than-normal legroom. Otherwise, this sedan seats five and offers 15 cubic feet of trunk space.

The interior has its share of soft-touch plastics, but on higher trim models, such as the Premium, the plastics seem subdued and the earth tone leathers are gorgeous. We like the sizable storage space at the base of the center console as it's large enough to hold a tablet or a purse. On the tech front, the Buick supplies such features as Siri Eyes Free, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility, OnStar 4G LTE with wireless charging, and a Wi-Fi hotspot.

The Best and Worst Things

The Buick LaCrosse is a quiet sedan and a strong competitor to the more expensive Lexus ES 350, which doesn’t offer all-wheel drive and has a less powerful V6 engine. On the other hand, the LaCrosse can get expensive, with the top-of-the-line Avenir trim costing $50,000.

Right For...

Buick LaCrosse

Customers who prefer a traditional American sedan, but don’t want the bulk and heaviness of Buicks of the past, such as the Roadmaster. The LaCrosse is sprightly and efficient, a big sedan entirely right in today’s market.

Wrong For...

Bargain seekers. Even as we sifted through the various trims and chose the Premium as our “best value” model, we couldn’t help but think that the $40,000-plus price point is a turn off for some.

The Bottom Line

The Buick LaCrosse holds the flagship banner high in a market where crossovers are more popular than sedans. That said, we think Acura, Lexus, and Lincoln sedan shoppers should consider the LaCrosse as it offers premium features without the Cadillac cost.