When it comes to Buick’s modern model lineup, the LaCrosse is by far the brand’s most traditional offering, as it follows the feature-filled, four-door sedan formula that has most famously flowed from its Flint, Michigan assembly lines for the last 50-plus years. But as its traditional clientele is “aging out,” Buick’s moving to appeal to a (relatively) younger demographic by updating its gear and adding a Sport Touring trim to the 2019 LaCrosse.
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2019 Buick LaCrosse Overview
What's New for 2019
A Sport Touring trim joins the LaCrosse lineup, along with two new exterior color choices and an air ionizer on the Premium trim.
Choosing Your Buick LaCrosse
While “full-size Buick sedan” and “hybrid propulsion” may seem antithetical, Buick’s flagship sedan is powered by a surprisingly-small 2.4-liter inline-four-cylinder gasoline engine with automatic start/stop and eAssist “light electrification technology” producing a total of 194 horsepower and 187 pound-feet of torque as standard for most of the line.
Paired exclusively to a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive, this setup is standard on every LaCrosse trim save the Sport Touring and Avenir which are V6 only. The system earns EPA fuel economy ratings of 25 miles per gallon city, 35 mpg highway, and 29 combined.
The six-cylinder is a 3.6-liter that puts its 310 hp and 268 lb-ft to the front or all four tires through a nine-speed automatic. Adding it where needed runs $2,500. All-wheel drive comes at less of a cost, adding $2,200 on V6 Essences and Avenirs and $2,300 to Premiums. In all cases, it drops fuel economy by five across the board to 20/30/24 mpg (city/highway/combined), and all-wheel drive drops it a tad more to 20/29/23 mpg.
The aptly-named Essence trim is the best of all worlds, offering a well-appointed vehicle to start with plus access to nearly everything else the 2019 Buick LaCrosse lineup has to offer including the V6 engine, all-wheel drive, the Dynamic Drive Package, and the full range of interior and exterior colors.
2019 Buick LaCrosse Review
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.
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
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.
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?
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.