MPG-o-Matic 2012 Buick LaCrosse eAssist Review Summary: The 2012 2012 LaCrosse with eAssist plays the efficiency card, as it targets the more affordable end of the luxury full-size market, with the Lincoln MKS, Acura TL, and Lexus ES350 as its primary competitors. The LaCrosse eAssist mates a 2.4-liter inline four with a lithium-ion battery powered electric motor, which achieves significantly better fuel economy (25/36) than the conventionally powered MKS (17/25), TL (20/29), and ES350 (19/28). When compared to the slightly smaller Lincoln MKZ Hybrid (41/36), the LaCrosse eAssist is an equal in the highway efficiency, but drastically behind in the city.
The 2012 LaCrosse eAssist is powered by a Direct Injected VVT 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine with an eAssist mild hybrid system that produces 182 horsepower (HP) and 172 foot pounds of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. A conventional 3.6-liter VVT V6 is available with either all-wheel-drive (AWD) or front-wheel-drive (FWD). The LaCrosse eAssist is not offered with AWD. (The eAssist system is shared with the Chevy Malibu Eco and Buick Regal eAssist.)
The official fuel economy estimates for the 2012 Buick LaCrosse eAssist are 25 city / 36 highway miles per gallon (MPG). These figures represent a significant improvement over the V6 FlexFuel LaCrosse, which is rated at 17/27.
We traveled more than 500 miles in our Carbon Black Metallic review unit and hit the official mileage estimates, with an average of 37.3 MPG on the Interstate highway and 31.7 MPG combined with temperatures ranging from the fifties through the low eighties.
The four-banger and eAssist system get the job done in the sprint up to sixty. If you’re looking for more oomph, you’ll opt for the 303 HP V6.
Interstate Mileage Testing:
- Cruise control set to 68 MPH, A/C off, windows up: 37.1 MPG
- Cruise control off, target speed 60-72 MPH, A/C off, ECO on, windows up: 37.5 MPG
Interstate highway testing temperatures were in the high seventies to eighty degrees. Our LaCrosse eAssist Premium I test vehicle was equipped with the standard 17-inch alloy wheels, clad with Michelin Primacy MXM4 P245/50R17 grand touring all-season tires, and was delivered with under 400 miles on the odometer.
Highway driving range is excellent. The 2012 LaCrosse eAssist is fitted with a 15.7 gallon fuel tank and is designed to run on regular unleaded gasoline.
The four-wheel-disc ABS brake system uses 12.6-inch vented rotors on the front and 12.4-inch solid rotors at the rear. The LaCrosse eAssist weighs in at 3,835 pounds.
The center-mounted color Driver’s Information Center provides a slew of information (compass, energy monitor, trip meters, range to empty), including the all important average and instant fuel economy data, as well as individual tire pressure monitoring and OnStar turn-by-turn directions.
By targeting the Lexus ES350 with the LaCrosse, one has to wonder … if Lexus became the new Buick in years past, can Buick become the new Lexus? If you’re in the market, you’ll want to drive these two back-to-back. This is not the floaty Buick of yore.
The eAssist mild hybrid system delivers more power under acceleration, along with stop/start functionality. When you come to a full stop, the gasoline engine will shut down to conserve fuel. When you lift your foot off the brake pedal, the engine starts automatically.
The LaCrosse’s roomy interior is sure to please passengers. The Premium I group includes leather seating, with front bucket seats that provide four-way power lumbar support and three-way heating. The driver’s memory seat includes automatic mirror adjustment.
Our test car was equipped with the Drivers Confidence Package, which features adaptive high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlamps, blind spot mirrors, and a cool heads-up display (which is shared with the Camaro).
The Entertainment option package includes an eleven-speaker, 384-watt Harman/Kardon audio system features a eight-inch touchscreen LCD, complete with satellite radio, USB integration with Pandora and Stitcher, and rear backup camera. Handsfree Bluetooth and Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist are standard and six months of On Star service is included.
Twelve-volt outlets can be found at the rear of the center console, and inside the center console next to the USB input.
The LaCrosse’s roomy rear seat features a fold-down center armrest and is rated for three, with 37.3 inches of headroom and 40.5 inches of legroom.
The eAssist falls short when it comes to room in the trunk, with the lithium-ion battery pack swallowing up space. There’s only 10.9 cubic feet of cargo area.
All-in-all, the 2012 Buick LaCrosse provides a worthy domestic option to those who might otherwise consider a more pricey and less roomy import. The LaCrosse eAssist’s mild hybrid delivers solid mileage for a mid-size luxury sedan, although it does fall significantly short of the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid’s efficiency in the city and on the back roads. Rear seat comfort is a strong suit of the LaCrosse, with those extra inches of legroom making all the difference for those long-legged passengers.
Parts Content Information
US/Canadian Parts Content: 60%
Major Sources of Foreign Parts Content: Mexico 15%
Final Assembly Point: Kansas City, KS
Country of Origin:
Engine – United States
Transmission – United States
Powertrain (Limited) – 5 years/100,000 miles
eAssist Component – 8 years/100,000 miles
Bumper-to-Bumper (Limited) – 4 years/50,000 miles
– by Daniel Gray
2012 Buick LaCrosse eAssist