2015 Buick LaCrosse AWD Premium review: Wi-Fi and more


2015 Buick LaCrosse AWD Premium

2015 Buick LaCrosse AWD Premium

There’s style, and then there’s style, and that’s what the 2015 Buick Lacrosse has. A while back, we sampled the 2012 Lacrosse and found a pleasant All-American, a long-legged tourer, consummate commuter and classic day-to-day suburban sedan. For the traditionalist, it’s a superb manifestation of the American sedan.

Nothing has changed. In fact, we found the 2015 Bu8ick Lacrosse has endured the several seasons quite well—not a sure thing in a world of quickly changing tastes.

2015 Buick LaCrosse AWD Premium dash

The styling theme for the interior of the 2015 Buick LaCrosse AWD Premium’s dash is set by the arc that runs from one front door panel to the other. (click to enlarge)

For 2015, however, the Lacrosse has joined a number of other General Motors in adding in-car Wi-Fi. The backseat of your car is now a hotspot—at least internet-wise—as are the front seats. And who knows, maybe even the trunk, though we didn‘t try, but it does spread 50 feet around the vehicle.

The in-car Wi-Fi works via the OnStar system, and by piggybacking on that established network secures wide accessibility to internet service. Depending on the network speed accessed by the car’s system, the in-car Wi-Fi has up to 4G speed.

The Wi-Fi system in the 2015 Buick Lacrosse can handle up to seven tablets or other wireless devices at a time—which should be enough for  tablet/laptop/whatever for most of the technology-intensive family or carpoolers.

2015 Buick LaCrosse AWD Premium engine

The 3.6-liter V-6 give the 2015 Buick LaCrosse AWD Premium a lot of spunk on the street and highway. (click to enlarge)

While of course being able to do anything on a high-speed internet-attached tablet or laptop has obvious advantages over doing similar tasks on a smart phone—screen size, anyone?—the GM in-car Wi-Fi system has a stronger antenna than a phone.

Additionally, via an app, the system can also download routes researched on Mapquest.com on your desktop computer.

Of course, the 2015 Buick LaCrosse is more than just a mobile internet café. It’s arguably the best looking Buick today, itself not an easy task, it’s also a standout among other full-size sedans. The LaCrosse, with its sweeping bow wake side contour pays homage to classic Buicks of the 1960s.

Inside a grand sweeping arc reaches from front door panel to front door panel, interrupted only by the instrument cluster binnacle. The dash houses a multi-information display that despite its reclined angle isn‘t often rendered unreadable by the sun.

2015 Buick LaCrosse AWD Premium

2015 Buick LaCrosse AWD Premium (click to enlarge)

While the interior contours provide an aura of roominess, storage is sparse, with no real bin ahead of the shifter on the center console, the shifter flanked by cupholder cum lid, with a not particularly capacious compartment under the armrest. That space does contain, however, aux and USB plugs for connecting to the audio, plus a 12v power point to charge an audio or other device.

The front center armrest slides back and up for access to the compartment, but in its normal forward position, it blocks easy grasp of the shifter for use in manual mode. It really doesn’t matter, as manual mode is activated via a rocker switch on the side of the shifter head, and putting this car in manual mode makes sense only for driving in snow or to downshift on long downhills. Otherwise the car just doesn’t inspire it.

Our earlier drive’s LarCrosses were powered by a “mild-hybrid”2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor, with which we recorded 29.0 and 27.1 mpg, in flat and hilly areas respectively. This 2015 Buick LaCrosse had a 3.6-liter V-6 under the hood. It’s rated at 306 horsepower with 264 lb-ft of torque, and connects to the pavement via a six-speed automatic transmission. Both engines come standard with front-wheel drive.

Our test LaCrosse had the optional all-wheel drive available with the V-6. Although we haven’t driven the six-cylinder front driver to compare, the all-wheel drivetrain had zero torque steer when launched hard from a dead stop, as we would expect. And for Snowbelt buyers, the all-wheel setup would have an obvious advantage in winter months.

2015 Buick LaCrosse AWD Premium

2015 Buick LaCrosse AWD Premium (click to enlarge)

The V-6 is good for those who appreciate alacrity in their acceleration, and just as satisfying is the downright melodious sounds the engine makes with a foot full on the accelerator. Merge with pleasure…or just hammer it for the fun of it. At cruise, there’s no noise from the engine and only subdued wind and road noise.

There’s a penalty in fuel economy for all-wheel drive, however. With it, the 2015 Buick LaCrosse is rated at 17/26 mpg city/highway, compared to 18/26 mpg respectively for the front-wheel drive version. Our mixed driving in a hilly area, which we’ve found is hard on fuel economy numbers, produced 21.2 mpg on the recommended regular gas.

Our test 2014 Buick LaCrosse Premium V-6 AWD, then, is a sedan for the driver with a desire for a smooth ride with pleasantness before sport, handsome, well-equipped and well-fettled, and packed with technology. And the passengers, with their collective nose stuck deep in tablet or laptop hooked to the internet, can at best augment in-car conversation with information from the internet. Or the driver can drive in blissful virtual solitude as passengers stay connected to the internet and disconnected to the real world rolling by outside. It’s their choice, but you can’t blame it on the 2014 Buick LaCrosse. It’s simply doing its job, and doing it well.

Specifications and window sticker on next page.