Buick is an old, old, name in the American automotive lexicon.
The founder, David Dunbar Buick, was at the forefront of petrol engine manufacturing in 1899, but the company counts 1903 as its year proper of founding.
Once known for being a mid-premium brand for General Motors, sitting just below Cadillac, Buick now sells more of its cars in China than at home.
The figure is something like 80 percent.
Amongst its current range are the Buick Regal, aka Holden Commodore, and the Buick Lacrosse.
It’s a full sized sedan range at five metres long, spread across five distinct trim levels.
Starting with the A$38,900 bespoke 1SV version, there’s the $44,300 Preferred, mid-level $47,850 Essence, $50,900 Premium, before topping out with the $59,000 Avenir with all bells and whistles.
The entry powerplant comes in the form of a hybrid 2.5-litre four with what Buick calls eAssist. It’s a 24 cell lithium-ion battery and a small electric motor. The petrol engine on its own produces 144kW and 187Nm of torque.
Sole transmission for the four is a six speed auto. Otherwise there’s a nine speed auto and 231kW 3.6-litre V6 for the Avenir — however the nine speed is also optionable down the ladder.
AWD is available for the Avenir, Essence, and Premium.
Fuel economy is quoted as 9.4L/100km for the 1SV to 11.2L/100km for the Avenir from a 60-litre tank
Interior trim features 4G LTE wifi across the range, 12V outlets, eight-speaker audio as standard unless you hop into the Avenir with a 12-speaker Bose setup, eight-way powered driver’s seat, a filter for the aircon system, and rear seat aircon vents.
The Avenir has satnav as standard, but the entry level dips out and it’s optionable elsewhere.
Memory seating isn’t available in the 1SV but is from Essence upwards. Front leg room is quoted as 1060mm, the rear at 960mm.
The dash is a sweeping T shaped affair, from the centre console up to both sides of the cabin. I’s integrated and brings a cockpit ambience.
Underneath there are varying suspension tunes.
Buick offers as an option the “HiPer” strut front suspension for the front wheel drive cars.
It’s designed to reduce torque steer and angles the front wheels to ensure the tyre is given maximum footprint grip. Otherwise it’s a McPherson strut/five link front and rear combo.
Exterior styling is, to the Australian eye, unoffensive in its rounded, organic, look.
Out of place is a line that rises in a sine curve from the centre pillar to the rear window that starts from the line that joins the front fender and rear lights.
At certain angles it brings to mind something from Bentley.
The front is a mix of upright Mercedes-Benz in the centre nose with the headlights bringing to mind Hyundai’s Genesis.
The rear is pure Opel with boomerang styled lights, and the whole package is appealing without being over the top.
The Buick Lacrosse range, on paper, looks like a well sorted and thought out package.
The exterior certainly looks suited to American tastes but wouldn’t require a lot to fine tune for Aussie tastes.
The question would be how much tweaking the handing and drive packages would need if it came here — it’s not, so it’s a moot point.
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