“Buick LaCrosse adds eASSIST mild hybrid model?
Buick offers significant choices in their LaCrosse lineup for the 2012 modelyear. You can get a 2.4-liter Ecotec DOHC, 16-valve inline four-cylinder Direct Injection and an advanced 115V lithium-ion battery and latest-generation 15-kW belt-driven, liquid-cooled motor-generator unit that benefits from regenerative braking with up to 15 horsepower and 15kW of electricity to charge the battery. The gasoline fueled engine delivers 182 horsepower at 6,700 rpm, along with 172 pound feet of torque, while the motor generator cranks out the Kw equivalent of 136 horses and the Nm equivalent of 233 pound feet of torque. Monitoring motive force to the front wheels is a second-generation Hydra-Matic 6T40 six-speed automatic transmission. This mild hybrid system is called eASSIST. Or, you can opt for a new 3.6-liter V6. LaCrosse e-ASSIST models also come with a large full color screen, a new communications system called Intellilink and larger alloy wheels.
In LaCrosse models equipped with the new Intellilink system, there is no ?in-car? navigation system, but Intellilink may be connected with smart phone nav systems via Bluetooth. LaCrosse models equipped with in-car nav systems feature turn-by-turn directions on both the main screen, river Information Center and in the Head Up Display. Intellilink constitutes an in car Wi-Fi Hot Spot.
eASSIST?s battery power pack is located behind the rear seat and has an expected life of ten plus years or 150,000 miles. Hitachi makes the battery cells, while Delphi produces the converter module. The eASSIST light electrification system provides a 20 percent in highway fuel economy along with a 32 percent improvement in city driving economy. Essentially, eASSIST ?is expected to deliver an estimated 36-mpg highway and 25-mpg city ? small car figures in a full-size sedan that comfortably seats five adults with luxurious comfort and amenities. LaCrosse?s fuel economy equals or exceeds that of small cars like the MINI Cooper (28 city/36 hwy with automatic transmission) and Toyota Corolla (26 city/34 hwy with 1.8L and automatic transmission). MSRP is $29,960 before an $860 destination charge.
The LaCrosse with eAssist ?not only rivals small car fuel economy, it exceeds the efficiency of non-hybrid segment competitors and is on par with more expensive hybrid models. eASSIST utilizes regenerative braking, which provides up to 15 kW of electricity to charge the battery, while providing up to 15 hp (11 kW) of electric power assistance during heavier acceleration. Automatic and?smooth engine start-stop functionality takes place , using electricity rather than gasoline when the vehicle is stopped. eASSIST ?also employs aggressive fuel cut-off during deceleration down to zero mph for added fuel savings and intelligent charge/discharge of the high-voltage battery. There?s also a hill-assist system that captures brake pressure to help keep the vehicle stationary when eAssist?s start-stop function is activated on a moderate or steep grade, allowing the driver to accelerate more smoothly from a stop.
?Buick LaCrosse with eAssist technology features improved underbody aerodynamics and tires optimized for performance as well as fuel economy, in addition to active control of front-end airflow, improving aerodynamics and engine warm-up. Electronically controlled shutters in the lower grille close at higher speeds, pushing more air over the vehicle, which increases aerodynamic efficiency enhancing fuel economy. All of these technologies increase the eAssist system?s regenerative braking capability, while also improving the vehicle?s efficiency while driving. An ECO gauge on the instrument panel continuously responds to driving behavior, allowing the driver to drive with maximum efficiency.
The Buick marque of General Motors at some point in history seemed to fall into the stigma of being a vehicle suited only to more mature adults or ?Blue Hairs?. It was a premium GM brand, albeit one that fell below the level and stature of the Cadillac lineup of luxury vehicles. You?ll note that Elvis chose Cadillac over Buick. Perhaps if he had picked Buick instead, things might have turned out differently.
Within the past few years however, there has been a resurgence, or renaissance if you will, for Buick. It would seem that all of a sudden, the Buick division of General Motors stumbled upon the legendary ?Fountain of Youth?. Today, Ponce de Leon would probably depend upon Buick for his horsepower. In China, the Buick nameplate is the most popular with young people.
The new Buick LaCrosse for 2012 steps up to the plate ready to hit a home run in the automotive sales world. This new age Buick displays a much more attractive exterior appearance in a more youthful persona. And?. with performance attributes and interior amenities to match. Now those concerned with economy and ecology may opt for eASSIST . LaCrosse has done away with badging for various levels of trim.
The sculpted design of the LaCrosse has obviously been influenced by Buick?s design heritage, including such leading examples as the Y-Job Concept, the Roadmaster and the Riviera ? all of which helped define?American automobile design through the years. Cues such as the signature ?sweep spear? body-side styling, hood-mounted portholes and waterfall-style grille are drawn from traditional Buick DNA. ?The new LaCrosse is intended to represent modern elegance,? according to Ed Welburn, vice president of GM Global Design.
The exterior balances taut, sculpted lines with sensuous accents and surfaces. Inside, smoked chrome accents, warm wood, first-class leather and materials blend harmoniously to create an inviting environment.?
The interior features a soft Ice Blue ambient lighting. While displaying a flowing, uninterrupted design theme that wraps around both the instrument and door panels. Attention to detail is in evidence throughout the cabin, including the analog instrument cluster, with the smoked chrome trim offset by dark woodgrain accents, and contrasting stitching.
My test 2012 Buick LaCrosse eASSIST ?featured a Diamond White metallic exterior with the interior done in Charcoal. The base sticker read $29,960. Adding the Destination charge bumped the final price to $30,820 before tax and license.
SUMMARY:? The 2012 Buick LaCrosse eASSIST? is representative of a high quality, premium luxury four-door sedan. The actual look is that of a graceful and elegant coupe with the blacked out ?B? pillars and chrome trim around the cabin side glass area. Inside the cabin, old-world craftsmanship is suggested by the fit and finish, and by elements such as the uniquely integrated door pull/side armrest and handle combination. The Ice Blue ambient lighting is actually more of a Teal-tone, which adds a richness and warmth to the cabin?s dash, console and analog gauge rings
The driving experience is enhanced by a four-wheel independent suspension system, including a four-link rear suspension that uses isolating mounts to minimize noise and vibration. StabiliTrak electronic stability control system is standard, as is a variable-effort power steering system, four-wheel disc brakes with four-channel ABS, electronic brake force distribution and brake assist system. Both the acceleration and handling characteristics are exemplary, with outstanding ride comfort.
LaCrosse?s intelligent technologies combine to deliver a 360-degree field of vision behind the steering wheel, for a greater feeling of comfort, security and?safety. Side Blind Zone Alert technology, which notifies the driver if a vehicle in adjacent lanes is traveling in the driver?s blind spot, is available, as is a rearview camera system that features a display integrated into the navigation system screen.?
LaCrosse with eAssist is manufactured at GM?s Fairfax Assembly facility in Kansas City, Kansas.
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