2007 Buick Lucerne CXS Review
JOHN HEILIGVIDEO: 2006 Buick Lucerne Unveiling - Detroit Auto Show
Model: Buick Lucerne CXS
Engine: 4.6-liter “Northstar” DOHC V8
Horsepower/Torque: 275 hp @ 5200 rpm/292 lb.-ft. @ 4400 rpm
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 115.6 in.
Length x Width x Height: 203.2 x 73.8 x 58.0 in.
Cargo volume: 17.0 cu. ft.
Economy: 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway/18.2 mpg test
Price: $38,630 (includes $725 destination charge)
Classified as a “large car,” the new Buick Lucerne occupies the slot in the Buick lineup formerly occupied by the LeSabre, since the real “large car,” the Roadmaster, went the way of all GM rear-wheel drive cars a few years back. Lucerne is “Tiger Woods’ car,” if you believe the ads, and as such is getting a lot of hype with Tiger’s enormous success and appeal.
But what of the Lucerne? And how does it compare with the car it replaces? Our family has intimate knowledge of a LeSabre, albeit a 2001 version, so comparisons are obvious. Finally, I get to drive a car aimed at my demographic group.
Lucerne is about three inches longer than LeSabre and is built on a wheelbase that is also three inches longer. The `01 model had a 3.8-literV6 that developed 205 hp. That compares with the 275 ponies available in the Lucerne’s “Northstar” 4.6-liter V8. Both are coupled to a four-speed automatic transmission.
Over the years, the `01 LeSabre has averages nearly 21 mpg in all types of driving, with a maximum of nearly 32 mpg on the highway. The Lucerne, on the other hand, averaged 18.2 mpg overall and barely reached the claimed 25 mpg on the highway.
Granted, the Lucerne’s engine is significantly larger and more powerful. The question is, is that what Buick’s demographic group (high in grey-hair content) really wants. Lucerne is also available with only front bucket seats, while the `01 LeSabre has a fold-down armrest that converts a bench seat to individual front seats.
At the other end of the car there’s a large trunk, capable of carrying four golf nags. And since the rear seat is spacious enough to satisfy even the crabbiest of senior citizen golfers, you can transport your foursome and all their clubs to the course in style. The rear seatbacks don’t fold to increase carrying capacity.
Our tester was fitted with black leather-faced seats that were heated and cooled up front. Rear passengers had to rough it, although they do have their own climate controls.
If you have only two rear passengers, they’re happy. The center passenger, though, has to deal with the pull-down armrest that makes the rear of the seat uncomfortable. There’s a sizable “transmission hump” (Lucerne is front-wheel drive) that forces the center rear passenger to ride with his knees just under his chin.
In general there’s good use of space in the Lucerne, with a couple of exceptions. For one, I like bottoms to door pulls. This provides a convenient place to stow a cell phone when you’re on the road. And if you’re socially conscious, you can plug the earpiece into the phone for hands-free calling and not have wires all over the place.
Front cupholders are too short, with no apparent way to lengthen them. This resulted in tipped water bottles several times. I was afraid to carry a coffee cup in the cup holder for fear of messing up the interior.
Lucerne has a luxurious interior, with the leather seats, tasteful wood trim, and conservative instrument panel. The round gauges in the Lucerne are white-on-grey and consist of a tachometer, speedometer, water and fuel gauges. Cruise and audio controls are on the steering wheel, with a standard GM wiper stalk on the left side.
Lucerne also marks the return of VentiPorts to Buick. There are four simulated air ports on the fenders. And while they’re kind of hokey, I like them. Maybe that’s because I once wrote an article about them.
A feature Lucerne has stolen from many truck models is turn signal arrows in the outside rearview mirrors. Flip the turn signal lever and lighted arrows show up in the rear mirror, warning drivers of cars that are to your side that you will be turning. It’s a nice safe tough.
Lucerne is a very nice car with a lot of style and power. Compared with the LeSabre, however, it falls somewhat flat, with a high price, larger less economical engine, and front bucket seats that don’t generally appeal to the demographic.
However, it is still 100 percent a Buick, and if you’ve loved Buicks in the past, you’ll love this one.
© 2006 The Auto Page Syndicate