Cruising, Turning & Stopping

Ride comfort is still king at Buick, and it's a formula GM shouldn't change. The LaCrosse leaves manhole covers and steel plates behind with the sort of measured wump that you'll notice but won't care much about. Taut suspensions are all the rage these days; cars like the Lincoln MKS, Nissan Altima and Mercury Milan ride on the firm side. It's nice to see Buick held the line.

The steering wheel turns with Lexus-like smoothness; in parking lots, turning is a two-fingered affair.

There's noticeable steering play at 12 o'clock on the highway, though, so you'll have to get used to making periodic course corrections. On curvier roads, handling isn't as razor-sharp as a genuine sport sedan — there's more steering slop and body roll on curvy roads, for example, than in a TL or Infiniti G37 — but Buick fans may find this a step in the more athletic direction.

The LaCrosse CXS offers an $800 Touring Package that adds an adaptive suspension and swaps the standard 18-inch wheels for 19s. It also incorporates a Sport mode. While in Drive in a LaCrosse equipped with the Touring Package, ride quality wasn't noticeably better than non-Touring suspensions. Road noise is more noticeable, going from whisper-silent with the lower trim levels' 17- and 18-inch wheels to noticeable with the Touring Package's 19-inchers.

Activate Sport mode in a LaCrosse with the Touring Package, and the suspension dials in firmer settings, the automatic holds low gears longer to maximize acceleration, and the steering reduces power assist. On twisty roads, the LaCrosse stays markedly flatter in corners, but in town you'll want to move the gearshift back to Drive, otherwise patches of rough pavement will find their way to your backside a bit easier.

The lessened power-steering assist in Sport mode also alleviates some of that highway steering play, and the effect makes for a more settled, planted sensation, with fewer course corrections needed. The wheel remains easy enough to turn at lower speeds, too. Buick ought to have standardized Sport mode's steering calibrations across all trims.

Four-wheel-disc antilock brakes are standard, but the pedal doesn't elicit a particularly strong response. Under hard braking, the car's nose dives excessively.

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