Not a full-blown hybrid system like that of the Toyota Avalon Hybrid, the eAssist provides a power boost from a small electric motor and onboard battery pack for start-up, and adds torque for passing and uphill freeway ramps. It also helps boost fuel efficiency.
The system includes regenerative braking, which diverts some of the energy normally lost during braking or coasting back to the lithium-ion battery pack through a motor/generator. It also has upper and lower aero shutters to reduce drag for enhanced efficiency.
Our test vehicle was the Premium front-drive model with the V-6 engine ($2.500) in the Quicksilver Metallic exterior color ($395 extra), and the Ebony interior with perforated leather seats.
The Premium comes with the best interior, with the perforated leather upholstery and a new, standard lumbar massage feature (great for an aching back).
Outside and inside, the LaCrosse also is elegant without any hint of overdoing it, and we found the front bucket seats to be among the most comfortable we've tested among sedans in this class, and even above.
Buick has added places to store and connect smartphones in the center console between the driver and front passenger, something the previous model was seriously lacking. You no longer have to put your phones in the cupholders.
Rear passengers had surprisingly roomy accommodations, particularly in the two outboard positions. There was ample knee and legroom, and when there was no third person riding in the back, a pull-down center armrest was available with dual cupholders.
At the bottom rear of the front center console are 12-t and 120-volt power outlets for the backseat passengers, ready to power laptops and game consoles as well as smartphones.
All trim levels come with Buick's QuietTuning, which is designed to reduce or block outside noise and vibration. That helped make our vehicle quiet at highway speeds, except for some occasional noise from rough pavement.
With last year's remake, the LaCrosse is longer, lower and wider than before, and about 300 pounds lighter, which GM attributes to the use of high-strength steels.