The 2012 Buick LaCrosse comes in a whopping seven different trim levels. That can be good news or bad news for buyers, depending on how one interprets it. It is good because it allows the purchaser to select exactly how they want to customize their vehicle. But, it can be bad if that process ends up being overwhelming due to all of those options. The base model has an array of features including keyless entry, cruise control, OnStar, power seats, dual climate control zones, 17 inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity, folding rear seats, tilt/telescoping steering wheel with radio buttons, and a comprehensive audio system with CD player, auxiliary jack, iPod and USB jacks, and satellite radio. If all of that is not enough, the Convenience Group adds remote start, rearview mirror with auto-dimming feature, and driver seat power lumbar modification. Next up comes the Leather Group which includes, quite obviously, leather seating as well as fog lamps, heated front seats (with the passenger also gaining full power functionality), and heated mirrors with turn signal indicators.
Moving on down the trim train there is the Premium 1 Group adding memory driver seat, rear parking assistance feature, and an auto dimming driver side mirror. Premium 2 Group boosts performance thanks to the upgraded 3.6 liter V6 engine, heated steering wheel with leather and wood accents, a sunshade for the rear window, ventilated front seats also providing heat and perforated leather, and keyless entry. Next up is the Premium 3 Group and its 120 volt power outlet, sporty suspension, larger 18 inch chrome wheels, and 11 speaker audio system boasting the Harman Kardon name. Finally there is the Touring Group which is the cr?me de la cr?me of the LaCrosse lineup. It adds stylish xenon headlamps, navigation, hard drive for storing music, rearview camera, head up display, blind spot alarm, adaptive suspension, and bigger 19 inch alloy wheels. A sunroof, video system, and rear side-impact airbags are additional options.
There are two new engines available on the 2012 Buick LaCrosse. One is a hybrid variety that will be reviewed separately so the focus here is on the 303hp V6 that offers 264 lb ft of torque. This motor is much more powerful than the previous version yet it still manages to get 17 mpg in the city and 27mpg on the highway for an average of 21mpg. If the all-wheel drive option is selected the mpg drops to 16/26/20 respectively. All versions of this Buick get paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. In terms of overall performance, there are the usual antilock brakes and multiple airbags that you would come to expect here. Stopping performance is slightly worse than average but still acceptable. Crash test scores are rated at five stars, the highest possible. Driving the LaCrosse is a pleasure due to crisp handling and comfortable ride which combine to provide the ultimate luxury experience. The gutsy motor and acceptable fuel economy make this Buick a worthy contender in this niche.