Buick’s signature design has been evolving since 1899. With the 2014 model-year LaCrosse, the evolution has branched in a slightly new direction to a safety-conscious design, which features a number of new improvements.
Automotive journalists recently had the opportunity to test these cutting-edge safety features during ride-and-drive events held throughout the country.
Exploring Buick’s Safety Technology Options
The following safety technology on the 2014 Buick LaCrosse is used to help prevent vehicular car collisions:
A patented Safety Alert Seat directs the driver’s attention to potential road hazards using left, right, and simultaneous seat vibrations that are felt by the outer thighs. The Safety Alert Seat uses radar sensors in the front and rear bumpers to measure the distance of nearby vehicles.
Forward collision alert and lane departure warning use a single forward-looking camera to read traffic and lane markers on the road ahead. Visual warnings and audible tones alert the driver to unsignaled lane changes or a slowed vehicle.
Lane change alert warns the driver of fast-approaching vehicles in the next lane, up to 230 feet behind the car.
Rear cross traffic alert and side blind zone alert use radar to watch blind spots and provide visible and audible warnings. When the vehicle is in reverse and the rear vision camera is active, rear cross traffic alert will flash a red icon and directional arrow if another vehicle is approaching from either side, which is especially useful backing out of a tight driveway or parking space in a busy lot.
Side blind zone alert detects other vehicles in a Buick’s blind spot and alerts the driver with a yellow icon on side view mirrors. If a turn signal is engaged while a vehicle is detected in the next lane, the icon flashes to discourage merging.
Adaptive cruise control senses the surrounding traffic in front of the LaCrosse to adjust vehicle speed accordingly.
Automatic collision preparation and collision mitigation braking systems automatically trigger emergency braking if the driver fails to respond to a previous alert.
An 8-inch touch screen equipped with IntelliLink software uses intuitive controls and swipe recognition for easier navigation. IntelliLink also features voice recognition, which allows customers to safely place calls, enter destinations, browse media, play music, and control other functions while keeping the driver’s eyes on the road.
Making Fuel Economy the New Standard
The vehicles improved aerodynamics and lower GVW, from 3,835 pounds to 3,765 pounds for the 2.4L four-cylinder model and 4,045 pounds to 3,906 pounds for the 3.6L V-6 model, increases the fuel economy, and consequently reduces the CO2 emissions of the 2014 Buick LaCrosse.
Highway fuel economy in the 2014 Buick LaCrosse increased by 1 mpg for both available engines and 1 mpg city for FWD, compared to the previous model. The EPA estimates 18 mpg city and 28 mpg highway for the 2014 FWD models and 17 mpg city and 26 mpg highway for the 2014 AWD models.
The LaCrosse is equipped with two different engine options, both mated to 6-speed automatic transmissions:
- The standard 2.4L four-cylinder engine (FWD only), rated at 182 hp.
- The optional 3.6L V-6 engine (FWD and AWD), rated at 304 hp.
All standard models come with GM’s eAssist, which uses a lithium-ion battery system and electric motor-generator to enable regenerative braking capability. Instead of providing all-electric propulsion, the system provides power assistance to the internal combustion engine.
The eAssist system also allows the engine to shut down fuel delivery in certain deceleration situations, or while the vehicle is at a stop. This system saves fuel, and the electric power steering also saves fuel by drawing energy only when the wheels are turned.
To ease vehicle maintenance costs, every 2014 LaCrosse comes with two years or 24,000 miles of included regular maintenance and five years of OnStar RemoteLink Key Fob services.
Regular maintenance includes oil and filter changes, tire rotations, and multi-point inspections.
OnStar RemoteLink Key Fob services allow owners of appropriately equipped models to lock and unlock the vehicle’s doors or activate the remote start using a smartphone app.
Making an Impression with Fleets
Buick’s commercial fleet sales have increased over the past year from 9.1 percent in 2012 to 11.5 percent in 2013, according to Buick.
Globally, LaCrosse sales have exceeded 500,000 since its 2009 introduction and U.S. sales topped 57,000 in 2012, according to the automaker.
For West Bend Mutual Insurance (WBMI) Company Fleet Manager Tom Krause, his company added the Buick LaCrosse to its fleet based on the vehicle’s residual value. According to Krause, the LaCrosse doesn’t look like a typical salesperson’s car, making it easier to remarket. “It’s difficult to remarket mainstream vehicles,” he said.
And, according to Allergan Fleet Administrator Stephanie Rogers, the health care company was impressed with the LaCrosse’s quiet tuning. Whether she was on the freeway or driving through the city, she said she couldn’t hear anything outside the cabin’s interior. “It seemed solid, more so than the other vehicles we tested,” she said.
The LaCrosse is expected to reach dealerships nationwide by the end of the 2013 summer with a suggested retail price of $34,060 including a $925 destination charge.