Since General Motors trimmed its brand offerings post-financial collapse, Buick has pushed hard to reinvent itself as a legit luxury-car alternative. When the brand released the redesigned 2017 LaCrosse, Buick felt it had gotten closer to its goal than ever before. Two model years later, the 2019 Buick LaCrosse is still holding strong and features a few updates like the new Sport Touring model, air ionizer, and new paint options. Is the 2019 Buick LaCrosse a true luxury-car alternative that can scratch the premium-car itch without killing your budget? Keep reading to find out.

Best Value

You can have the 2019 Buick LaCrosse in six flavors, but our taste buds lean toward the midrange Essence trim. This loads you up with an array of premium features like ambient interior lighting, a 110-volt outlet, power lumbar for the passenger seat, a wireless charging pad, leather seating, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, adaptive headlights, and more without breaking the bank. The Essence trim also opens the door to a few package options that happen to be a good value.

  • Model: 2019 Buick LaCrosse Essence
  • Engine: 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with eAssist light electrification technology
  • Output: 194 hp / 187 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Six-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
  • Fuel Economy: 25 City / 35 Hwy
  • Options: Driver Confidence I Package ($445, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-change alert, blind-spot monitoring) and Sights And Sounds Package ($1,145, navigation, Bose premium Centerpoint surround-sound system, HD Radio)
  • Base Price: $37,295 (including a $925 destination fee)
  • Best Value Price: $38,885

Performance

Buick LaCrosse

The 310-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 provides competent performance that allows the LaCrosse to masquerade as a sports sedan when driven hard. That said, it does its best work as a luxury cruiser that delivers a smooth ride and offers a virtually sound-free cabin thanks to its noise cancelling system.

The 2019 LaCrosse’s platform is stiffer than one may think, and the steering is quicker-responding than Buicks of yesteryear. This gives the LaCrosse unexpected athleticism. However, the 20-inch wheels compromise ride quality due to the small sidewalls on the tires. Plus, the 2.5-liter eAssist engine, while thrifty, is underpowered for this segment.

Style

The LaCrosse’s design is a delicate mixture of sport and class, mixing it up well with more-premium brands. And the LaCrosse does this without trying too hard to look cool or unique – it all feels very organic. The cabin shows off just how hard Buick has worked toward moving into the world of true luxury cars. It boasts loads of premium materials, including leather, soft-touch materials, and tasteful accents.

While Buick is doing a great job of shedding its “Grandpa car” image from years ago, the LaCrosse still harks back to this forgettable era with its signature portholes. Also, the rear roofline cuts into the head room, and leg room is tighter than most in its class at 38 inches.

The Best and Worst Things

The value the Buick LaCrosse offers is nothing short of astonishing. Sure, you’re not getting a premium badge on the nose, but its features, comfort, and performance with the V6 engine make you think differently from behind the wheel.

Despite this value, there are some at-cost head scratchers. For example, the Essence trim has only two no-cost colors – black or white – and the rest are $395 or more. Options like this and some advanced safety bits drive up the price quickly.

Right For? Wrong For?

Buick LaCrosse

The LaCrosse is perfect for the younger professional who wants a premium look and ride but cannot pull off the true luxury-car price tag.

If you're a more discerning buyer who sees value in a badge, the LaCrosse will disappoint.

The Bottom Line

Will the 2019 Buick LaCrosse replace your BMW 5-Series and keep you smiling? Probably not, but it's the perfect luxury-car alternative. Its pricing is just right, the features are there, and it has style for miles.