By Dave Van Sickle, Motor Matters

The LaCrosse is instantly recognizable with its flowing, sculpted styling that helped redefine Buick when LaCrosse was introduced in 2009. The 2014 LaCrosse gets a facelift with elements and cues that enhance its appearance.

Up front, there's a new front fascia, sculpted hood a more prominent waterfall grille and lower front active grille shutters. The new trend in lighting, LED, are wing-shaped flanks around the new articulating Bi-Xenon headlamps, which turn in the direction of the front wheels for better visibility. A new rear fascia encloses chromed exhaust outlets and a spoiler is integrated into the deck lid to improve aerodynamics. Starting below $33,000, the LaCrosse is offered in five trims.

Two engines are available on this front-wheel-drive midsize sedan: the standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with eAssist, rated at 182 horsepower; and a 3.6L V-6 rated at 304 horsepower. Both are mated to six-speed automatics. The eAssist feature uses a lithium-ion battery and electric motor-generator for regenerative braking capability. The system provides a boost to the engine and shuts off fuel delivery during deceleration to save fuel. That's enough to get 36 miles per gallon on the highway.

An optional Haldex all-wheel-drive system with electronic limited-slip differential automatically decides how to distribute torque based on vehicle speed, throttle position and individual wheel slip.

For 2014, the LaCrosse interior is more contemporary with comfortable new seats and enhanced materials. The rear-seat headrests fold down to enhance rearward visibility, while the new four-way adjustable front headrests are designed to provide a greater range of comfort, particularly for taller drivers.

The new Ultra Luxury Interior Package features premium semi-aniline leather. It covers the seats, console armrest and door armrests and is complemented by synthetic suede on the headliner and door pillars. The Sangria contrast color with the Ultra Luxury interior is exclusive to LaCrosse.

LaCrosse has a comfortable ride and decent handling dynamics. For those who want a more sporty driving experience, the Touring Package includes real-time damping and Sport Mode Selectivity, which uses four electronically controlled dampers to constantly "read" the road and make adjustments within milliseconds. It also features Buick's HiPer Strut front suspension, which enhances ride and handling.

Dual-zone climate controls feature capacitive-touch operation. An all-new instrument panel features a configurable 8-inch color touch screen in the center stack plus an 8-inch color electronic instrument panel display and gauge cluster.

The touch screen is easy to operate with intuitive controls and smartphone-influenced swipe recognition for easier navigation. In addition to easily identifiable icons covering everything from navigation to phone to music apps such as Pandora, next-generation IntelliLink is highly customizable. The system can store up to 60 favorites, including radio stations, destinations and music from other media.

Now the driver can enter destinations in a single step, without having to enter the state, city, street number and street name in successive efforts. City-by-city weather reports are also provided. OnStar customers can access the service via the screen display or by the traditional Blue button.

A new audio system has seven speakers, including strategically placed tweeters and a subwoofer. The system was developed to complement LaCrosse's quiet, acoustically optimized interior.

The 2014 LaCrosse employs radar- and camera-based technology to enable Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Change Alert, Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Forward Collision Alert, Collision Preparation (with Collision Mitigation Braking), full-speed-range Adaptive Cruise Control and the Safety Alert Seat.

LaCrosse's safety features also include eight standard airbags, including rear-seat thorax airbags, StabiliTrak, traction control and four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and Intelligent Brake Assist. A rear-vision camera is available.

There was really nothing lacking with the LaCrosse, so the changes for 2014 just make this five-passenger midsize sedan better.



VEHICLE TYPE__________________ 5-passenger FWD midsize sedan

BASE PRICE_____________________ $32,600

MOTOR TYPE___________________ 16-valve DOHC 4-cylinder w/DI


HORSEPOWER (net)______________182 at 6700 rpm

TORQUE (lb.-ft.)_________________ 172 at 4900 rpm

TRANSMISSION_________________6-speed automatic

OVERALL LENGTH_______________197.0 in.

TURNING CIRCLE (curb-to-curb)___36.8 ft.

CURB WEIGHT__________________ 3,765 lbs.

FUEL CAPACITY_________________15.7 gal.

EPA MILEAGE RATING___________ 25 mpg city, 36 mpg highway