The Inside

Like the pricier CTS sedan from sister brand Cadillac, the LaCrosse's dashboard is trimmed in a leather-like material with stitched seams and padded finishes. Ambient lighting pipes across the dashboard at night, and the woven headliner material extends down the window pillars. These are small details, but they go a long way toward convincing those with sticker shock that Buick's midsize sedan's price premium is deserved. It's just north of a well-equipped Chevy Malibu, but still well south of the base CTS.

Options include a heated steering wheel, a rear-window power sunshade, and heated and ventilated front seats. That makes for a lot of center controls to sort through; get all the toys, and the dash has more sprawl than Los Angeles County. There's still quite a spread even in base models without those options, and their white-on-silver finish washes out in sunlight. On the upside, GM's stereo setup is as user-friendly as always, with on-screen labels for your favorite radio stations — i.e., "93.1" or "104.3" instead of "preset 1" or "preset 2" — and the ability to program AM, FM and satellite radio stations into the same list of presets.

As in the CTS, a radio recording system is optional. The version in the LaCrosse buffers up to 30 minutes of AM, FM or satellite radio, allowing you to pause, rewind and fast-forward in TiVo-like fashion. The convenience possibilities are promising — you could pause the game to run into the store, for example — but you'd have to leave the keys in the ignition; Buick says the system resets the buffer when you turn the car off. Bummer. The standard yearly subscription to OnStar's Directions and Connections plan includes turn-by-turn navigation. If you want a map, the optional in-dash navigation system — it's GM's latest generation — has excellent graphics and quick response: Zoom in on the map or jump to a submenu, and it happens now. After all these years, I'd become accustomed to navigation systems taking a second or two to react.

    See also:

    Driver Information Center (DIC)
    Your vehicle has a Driver Information Center (DIC). The DIC displays information about your vehicle. It also displays warning messages if a system problem is detected. All messages will appear in ...

    Shoulder Belt Height Adjuster
    The vehicle has a shoulder belt height adjuster for the driver and right front passenger seating positions. Adjust the height so that the shoulder portion of the belt is centered on the shoulder. ...

    Tow/Haul Mode Light
    This light comes on when the Tow/Haul mode has been activated. For more information, see Tow/Haul Mode . ...