DETROITGeneral Motors announced that the 2012 Buick LaCrosse with eAssist technology will have a starting retail price (MSRP) of $29,960.

Buick expects this model’s eAssist technology to improve highway fuel economy by 25 percent over the current model. LaCrosse with eAssist uses a variety of advanced technologies and body enhancements to deliver up to 37 mpg highway fuel economy, according to the company. eAssist will be the standard powertrain for LaCrosse, which will be built at the Fairfax Assembly Plant in Kansas City, Kan., GM stated.

The fuel economy boost that LaCrosse with eAssist offers comes from its lithium-ion battery system and electric motor-generator that enables regenerative braking capability. This “light electrification” system will also be available on the 2012 Buick Regal later this year.

Although eAssist is the standard powertrain, a new version of the direct-injected, E85-capable 3.6L V-6 with variable valve timing, is available at no additional cost on select trim levels, GM stated. The front-wheel-drive 3.6L model is rated at an SAE-certified 303 horsepower (226 kW), an improvement of 23 hp, and 264 lb.-ft. of torque (358 Nm). An all-wheel drive version, which is yet to be rated, also is available.

The 3.6L engine’s new, integrated cylinder head/exhaust manifold design and a composite intake manifold help reduce its weight by more than 20 pounds (9 kg), which increases horsepower without any loss in fuel efficiency, according to the company. The direct-injected engine also warms up faster, which can cut emissions of unburned hydrocarbons by up to 25 percent.

Additional new standard features for 2012 include dual-zone climate control, 17-inch alloy wheels, full-color driver information center, and Bluetooth and USB connectivity.