2019 Buick LaCrosse

2019 Buick LaCrosse Review: Almost Luxury

by Adam Lynton

Now in its third year - and with a 2017 remodeling under its belt - the Buick LaCrosse is still quite young, and trying to deal with its teething issues as the brand seeks to move up the ranks of the large sedan segment. It certainly has a lot going for it to ensure it is up to the task. Two powertrains are offered, the standard 194-horsepower hybrid and the 310-hp V6, which is offered as standard on the new Sport Touring trim. Complementing these engines is an interior that keeps style fore of thought. It may not be perfect, but the leatherette seats are comfortable and lavish, while the infotainment system is modern and extensive, if somewhat clunky at times. With a reasonable starting price of $29,570, this fledgling entry by Buick is sure to stand its ground against rivals like the Chrysler 300 and Chevrolet Impala.

2019 Buick LaCrosse Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2018 LaCrosse?

The LaCrosse enters 2019 mechanically unchanged, although there is a new addition to the lineup in the form of the Sport Touring trim, which comes standard with the V6 engine previously reserved as standard on the top-tier Avenir only. Also, the Premium model now comes standard with an air ionizer, while two exterior colors are added to the existing palette.

Pros and Cons

  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Upscale interior
  • Long list of standard features
  • Quiet and comfortable ride
  • Handles well with the Dynamic Drive Package
  • Small trunk space
  • Standard handling is mediocre
  • Cramped rear seats

2019 Buick LaCrosse Trims

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Base
2.5-liter Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$29,570
Preferred
2.5-liter Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$33,670
Essence
2.5-liter Inline-4 Gas
3.6-liter V6 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
9-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$36,370
Premium
2.5-liter Inline-4 Gas
3.6-liter V6 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
9-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$38,670
Sport Touring
3.6-liter V6 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$39,370

LaCrosse Exterior

Still quite fresh in the face after its 2017 redesign, the Buick LaCrosse looks contemporary and stylish, with a large Waterfall grille up front intersected by a horizontal bar supporting the Buick logo. The headlights, which aggressively slide up and around the corner of the hood, are xenon as standard with HID available on the upper trims. Fog lights are stock fitted and rest deep within the bumper, barely visible. The sedan rides on 18-inch wheels in its base guise, with upper trims getting access to 19- or 20-inch wheels. A moonroof is optional on the mid-range trims, and standard on the top-end Avenir.

2019 Buick LaCrosse Front View Buick
2019 Buick LaCrosse Rear View Buick
2019 Buick LaCrosse Right Side View Buick
See All 2019 Buick LaCrosse Exterior Photos

Dimensions

As a large sedan, the LaCrosse is unsurprisingly lengthy at 197.5 inches, with a 114.4-inch wheelbase. But it remains relatively sleek with a width of 73.5 inches, excluding the side mirrors. Not standing overly tall, the LaCrosse has a height of 57.5 inches. Naturally, the sedan is quite hefty, with a starting weight of 3,490 lbs on the 1SV, and maxing out at 3,840 lbs on the Avenir with all-wheel-drive. This is on par with the segment, with only a few land boats like the Chrysler 300 outweighing it.

  • Length 197.5 in
  • Wheelbase 114.4 in
  • Height 57.5 in
  • Max Width 73.5 in
  • Front Width 62.9 in
  • Rear Width 63.1 in

Exterior Colors

A choice of ten colors is available on the Buick LaCrosse. The standard 1SV is presented in either Black Onyx or Summit White. Premium $495 paint options available to the upper trims include the metallic paints - Satin Steel, Carrageen, Ebony Twilight, Pewter, and Pepperdust - along with Red Quartz Tintcoat ($595) and White Frost Tricoat ($1,095). The Essence adds Quicksilver Metallic ($495) to its repertoire, but the Sport Touring and Avenir have more refined palettes, dropping many of the colors available to lower trims.

LaCrosse Performance

Each of the powertrains on offer has a different focus. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that comes standard on all but the Sport Touring and Avenir trims is paired with an electric motor that helps it stay ahead of the curve when it comes to fuel economy. But for this advantage, you have to make sacrifices on initial acceleration. This hybrid engine gets the large sedan to 60 mph from standstill in a lazy eight seconds, so it's also going to struggle against the likes of the Chrysler 300, which even at base level features a powerful V6. Once the LaCrosse is already in motion, it relies more on the gas engine than the electric motor, so passing and merging on the highway should still be quite manageable.

The stronger 310-hp V6 engine is all gas, all the way, and gives the large sedan a surprising amount of oomph. With its nine-speed automatic transmission, this powertrain launches the LaCrosse past the 60 mph mark in just under six seconds. This should make town driving less of a chore, but all that stop-go action is going to impact fuel efficiency quite significantly.

2019 Buick LaCrosse Front Side View Buick
2019 Buick LaCrosse Rear View Driving Buick
2019 Buick LaCrosse Rear Badge Buick

Engine and Transmission

Two engines are available to the Buick LaCrosse. Standard on the 1SV, Preferred, Essence, and Premium is the eAssist hybrid engine that pairs a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor, which gives it a little boost during acceleration to reduce fuel consumption. This setup, developing a total of 194 hp and 187 lb-ft of torque, is mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox and a front-wheel drivetrain as standard. All-wheel-drive is available to the Essence, Premium, and Avenir, but only with the other engine.

The more potent 3.6-liter V6 engine is standard on the Sport Touring and Avenir trims, delivering a respectable 310 hp and 268 lb-ft to the front wheels. Rowing the gears for this powertrain is a nine-speed automatic transmission. This engine provides ample power for moving the large sedan with all the haste you could need around town or on the highway, but it is quite a bit thirstier than the hybrid option. All-wheel-drive is available on the Essence, Premium, and Avenir.

  • Engines
    2.5-liter Inline-4 Gas, 3.6-liter V6, 3.6-liter V6 Gas
  • Transmissions
    6-Speed Automatic, 9-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

In its base guise, the LaCrosse is by no means a performance vehicle. The eAssist engine is unhurried, and handling dynamics of the sedan seem tuned to suit this sedate attitude. The suspension is far too light for high-speed maneuvers, causing the chassis to shift unsettlingly when turning at anything above casual town speeds.

The steering is responsive, at least, and offers quite a bit of resistance during faster turns, but communication from the wheels is lost in all that open space between the suspension and chassis. Overall, the Buick fails to deliver an engaging or inspiring driving experience. But that changes quite a bit if you throw in the V6 engine and slap on the Dynamic Drive Package.

The combination of a far more capable engine with the available Sport Mode and continuously variable real-time damping, transforms the sedan into something far more eager, with spirited acceleration and competent handling characteristics. And since these changes are mechanical and not structural, the would-be luxury sedan doesn't have to sacrifice on ride quality, although the larger 20-inch wheels don't help its case.

Speaking of which, the LaCrosse doesn't do a bad job at cosseting, with seats that are eminently comfortable and plenty of creature comforts inside the cabin. External noise is handled well, but road and wind noise can be quite intrusive. Ride comfort is quite good, but when you're considering a large sedan, especially from manufacturers who want to make inroads into the luxury segment, you will want more than just good. Large bumps and imperfections shouldn't rattle you as much as they do in the Buick.

LaCrosse Gas Mileage

Fuel efficiency is usually an afterthought on near-luxury vehicles, but the Buick manages to attain quite impressive figures, especially on models equipped with the hybrid eAssist engine. Coming standard on all but the Sport Touring and Avenir trims, this engine gets an EPA-estimated 25/35/29 mpg across the city/highway/combined cycles. These are good numbers, but the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid manages an even more impressive 42/39/41 mpg.

The V6 engine that comes standard on the top trims, which is optionally available on the other models, returns economy figures of 20/30/24 mpg, better than both the V6 variants of the Chrysler 300 and Lincoln MKZ. The eAssist engine, with a 15.8-gallon fuel tank, can carry the LaCrosse over 458 miles between pit stops. All-wheel-drive models get a 16.2-gallon tank.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    15.8 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 25/35 mpg
* 2019 Buick LaCrosse 2.5L FWD

LaCrosse Interior

The interior is high-quality in some aspects and disappointing in others. The base trim level, gets synthetic leather upholstery and soft-touch materials in high-traffic areas, although the presence of hard plastic does negatively impact on the luxury feeling. The sloping roof does infringe on space within the cabin, but there is a fair amount of shoulder room, even in the rear. The controls for the variety of tech and convenience features are laid out rationally, and are reasonably easy to operate - but you can't avoid having to struggle with the touchscreen.

2019 Buick LaCrosse Dashboard Buick
2019 Buick LaCrosse Steering Wheel Buick
2019 Buick LaCrosse Rear Passenger Seats Buick
See All 2019 Buick LaCrosse Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

There is seating for up to five within the sedan, with ample legroom all around. Headroom is at a bit more of a premium - especially for passengers in the back - courtesy of the sloping roofline. For this reason, it is not advised that you seat anyone over six-feet tall back there. On the plus side, there is quite a lot of shoulder room, which means you really can fit three people on the rear seats. The power-adjustability of the front seats allows for achieving an optimal driving position and helps to offset the large blind spots, at least a little bit. The wide-opening doors and plentiful legroom allow for easy ingress, although the low roofline might force you to duck your head down.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 42.0 in
  • Front Head Room 38.4 in
  • Rear Leg Room 38.0 in
  • Rear Head Room 37.2 in

Interior Colors and Materials

As standard, the seats are upholstered in very realistic faux leather available in a single hue, namely Light Neutral. The perforated leather present in the upper trims offers a bit more customization, with Ebony, Brandy, and Chestnut making up the palette. The dashboard and door panels sport a combination of wood-like trim with metal inlays. While some hard plastics do show through the refined veneer, there are enough soft-touch materials around busy areas to ensure that the car feels truly luxurious even if it doesn't always look it.

LaCrosse Trunk and Cargo Space

Considering the overall size of the vehicle and the segment in which it competes, the LaCrosse provides a disappointingly small trunk. The rear wheels intrude on the space, with the eAssist battery causing further disruptions in the models using the base engine. Not taking into account the odd dimensions presented as a result of these intrusions, the trunk only supplies 14.3 cubic feet of useable space. This is increased by a mere 0.7 cubic feet in models equipped with the V6 engine. This is enough for a couple of large suitcases, if you can fit them in the weirdly-shaped trunk, or several carry-ons. The rear seats fold down in a 60/40 split to make up for this rather glaring weakness.

Small-item storage is a bit more generous, comprising door pockets, two cupholders in the front and two in the back, a glove compartment, and a central storage bin. The seatback pockets are not very practical, sadly.

2019 Buick LaCrosse Side View Buick
2019 Buick LaCrosse Top View Buick
2019 Buick LaCrosse Rear View 1 Buick
  • Trunk Volume
    14.3 ft³

LaCrosse Infotainment and Features

Features

Buick didn't hold back when decking its large sedan out with the best tech it has to offer. The standard fare includes eight-way power front seats, cruise control, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and ignition, remote engine start, two 12-volt power outlets, a rearview camera, rear parking assist, and a teen driver system. Moving up the trim levels, you'll find heated and ventilated front seats with driver-seat memory, adaptive cruise control, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column, a head-up display, a following distance indicator, forward collision alert, automatic emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert, lane change alert, blind-spot monitoring, and automatic parking assist.

Infotainment

The infotainment suite is quite comprehensive on the base model LaCrosse, comprising an eight-inch Buick touchscreen display, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and an eight-speaker sound system that supports AM/FM/CD/MP3 playback, with an auxiliary audio jack and two USB ports. A 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot is also installed, though it requires a subscription to OnStar to utilize. On the upper trim levels, SiriusXM, HD Radio, navigation, and an 11-speaker Bose audio system become available on higher trim levels. A wireless charging pocket is supplied in the top trims to make integrating your smart device as painless as possible.

LaCrosse Problems and Reliability

J.D. Power awards the LaCrosse a dependability score of 84 out of 100, putting in very near the top of the large sedan segment. However, the 2019 model has been recalled for insufficient coating on the rear brake caliper pumps, while the 2018 model was recalled for an incorrectly welded fuel pump flange. Buick offers a 50,000-mile/48-month bumper-to-bumper warranty, and a powertrain warranty and roadside assistance valid for 70,000 miles/72 months.

Warranty

  • Warranty Note:
    Preliminary 2019 Warranty Note \ 
  • Basic:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    6 Years \ 70,000 Miles
  • Rust-Through:
    6 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Corrosion:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Hybrid/Electric Components:
    8 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    6 Years \ 70,000 Miles
  • Maintenance Note:
    1 Year \ 1 Visit

LaCrosse Safety

The NHTSA has awarded the LaCrosse five stars for overall safety, with only front passenger crash tests and driver side barrier tests receiving four stars. Similarly, the IIHS gives the car an overall rating of Good, the highest score possible for IIHS evaluations.

US NHTSA crash test result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Key Safety Features

Standard safety features comprise four-wheel ABS, EBD, stability control, traction control, automatic headlights, a teen driver system, a rearview camera, rear park assist, and eight airbags: front, front knee, front side, and side curtain. This list of features expands as you move up the trim levels or install packages, adding forward collision alert, a following distance indicator, automatic emergency braking, lane change alert, blind-spot monitoring, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic park assist.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2019 Buick LaCrosse a good car?

Buick gets a lot right with its remodeled large sedan by managing to balance the precarious factors modern buyers weigh when deciding on a new vehicle. The LaCrosse is a pretty decent all-round vehicle, with only a few weak points. Unfortunately, these shortcomings hold it back from achieving the luxury status that the manufacturer was aiming for with the redesign.

Two engines are offered - one focusing on economy while the other leans more towards performance. Neither engine fails horribly in the area where the other shines, so it's really up to you to decide which is the better choice for you. The handling dynamics on every model, regardless of the engine, are merely passable, but they become far more engaging once you throw on a few extra features offered on the mid-to-top tier trims.

Sadly, nothing can really fix the trunk, which is well below average in this segment, although not so poor as to make the sedan a write-off. The passenger space is also not ideal, but the focus Buick places on comfort and modern tech features are more than enough to distract from this minor complaint.

Overall, the LaCrosse is definitely worth consideration. It may not be perfect, but the areas where it really shines keep it in the running against more refined large sedans.

🚘What's the Price of the 2019 Buick LaCrosse?

The LaCrosse is reasonably priced for a large sedan, with a starting MSRP of $29,570 on the 1SV. Getting behind the wheel of the Preferred trim will cost you $33,670, while the Essence has a price tag of $36,370. The Premium model will set you back $38,670. Sitting at just under the $40k mark, the Sport Touring asks you to lay out $39,370. Breaking the aforementioned price barrier, the top-tier Avenir is one of the more expensive sedans in its segment at $44,870. Since all-wheel-drive is only available with the V6 engine, the Essence and Premium get launched over the $40k mark at $41,070 and $43,370, respectively, when configured as such. All prices exclude taxes, licensing, registration, and a destination charge of $925.

2019 Buick LaCrosse Models

The Buick LaCrosse range is comprised of six models: 1SV, Preferred, Essence, Premium, Sport Touring, and Avenir. Standard on the first four trims is an eAssist combination engine comprised of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder paired with an electric motor, producing a total of 194 hp and 187 lb-ft. Mated to this is a six-speed automatic transmission that directs power to the front wheels. Standard on the Sport Touring and Avenir, and available on all but the 1SV, is a 3.6-liter V6, which is mated to a nine-speed automatic gearbox and develops 310 hp and 268 lb-ft. All-wheel-drive is available on the Essence, Premium, and Avenir when paired with the V6 engine.

The base 1SV trim is well equipped with 18-inch wheels, automatic xenon headlights, fog lights, and basic advanced safety features such as a rearview camera and rear parking sensors. The standard infotainment suite comprises an eight-speaker sound system and an eight-inch touchscreen that supports Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a 4G LTE hotspot. Further up the range, you can get leather upholstery, and heated/ventilated front seats with four-way power lumbar adjustments. Advanced safety features include forward collision warning, lane-keeping assist, and a safety alert driver's seat. The top-tier Avenir gets unique exterior styling and interior appointments.

See All 2019 Buick LaCrosse Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

Even though the Buick is well-equipped from the get-go, there are still a number of packages on offer to give it that extra edge. The Driver Confidence I Package ($445) for the Essence helps to shore up some weak points in its advanced safety features by adding lane change alert, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. As it comes installed with all of the above, the Premium gets access to the Driver Confidence II Package ($1,690), which brings adaptive cruise control, automatic parking assist, forward automatic braking, and rear cross-traffic alert to the already jam-packed suite. The Dynamic Drive Package ($1,300) available to Essence, Premium, and Avenir equips the sedan with 20-inch alloys, continuously variable real-time damping, and Sport Mode selectivity.

🚗What Buick LaCrosse Model Should I Buy?

If you want to balance quality with affordability, then the mid-level Essence should fit the bill quite well. It comes with perforated leather seats as standard, and gives you a fairly long list of advanced safety features, although there is still room to improve and you can add a package or two while still keeping the total price below $40k. This trim also gives access to the stronger V6 engine, if you want to add performance to the mix, but it may throw the affordability part of your equation off a bit.

2019 Buick LaCrosse Comparisons

Buick Regal Sportback Buick
Chevrolet Impala Chevrolet
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Buick LaCrosse194 hp25/35 mpg$29,570
Buick Regal Sportback 250 hp22/32 mpg$25,370
Chevrolet Impala 305 hp19/28 mpg$31,620

2019 Buick LaCrosse vs Buick Regal Sportback

The Regal Sportback is the smaller sibling to the LaCrosse, diverting from the traditional sedan style in favor of a sportier hatchback approach. This makes the car more maneuverable around town and easier to park. Surprisingly, this reduction in size does not negatively impact on the interior of the Sportback, with an impressive 31.5 cubic feet of space on offer in the hatch-style trunk. Passengers are not so fortunate, with both head- and legroom rather limited in the rear and only slightly more generous in the front. The Regal is also not quite as well-appointed, with the material and build quality a few steps below that of the LaCrosse. The Sportback has a stronger base engine, in the form of a 250-hp turbo four-cylinder, making it quicker on the road than the large sedan, but it is heavier and less fuel-efficient, getting 22/32/26 mpg. However, the Regal has a much lower starting price of $26,295. With the LaCrosse not quite meeting the luxury standard it aspires to, and the Regal offering more utility and driveability, the more practical choice is the Regal.

See Buick Regal Sportback Review

2019 Buick LaCrosse vs Chevrolet Impala

The Impala rivals the LaCross quite closely in terms of performance, with a 197-hp four-cylinder engine under the hood as standard. However, this is not a hybrid engine like the Buick's, meaning it is less efficient, returning only 22/29/25 mpg; the stronger 305-hp V6 fares even worse. Still, the Chevy is well-appointed inside, if somewhat less opulently than its rival, and it provides more cargo room at 18.8 cubic feet. The lower starting price of $28,090 is undermined by the poorer efficiency figures, and for this price, you get a cabin that is far less luxurious than you might expect from a large, near-luxury sedan. With respectable performance, a plush interior, adequate storage space, and excellent fuel economy, the Buick LaCrosse is worth the higher financial outlay.

See Chevrolet Impala Review

Buick LaCrosse Popular Comparisons

2019 Buick LaCrosse Video Reviews

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$29,570 - $47,070
Price Range (MSRP)
Buick LaCrosse