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2012 Buick LaCrosse With eAssist Preview

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Old 06-08-2011, 04:56 PM
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2012 Buick LaCrosse With eAssist Preview

Better fuel economy through eAssist, an upgraded BAS_Start/Stop System.

http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/501/2012_Buick_LaCrosse_with_eAssist.jpg
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - June 8, 2011

2012 Buick LaCrosse w/ eAssist – $29,960 to start and rated at 37 mpgUS highway.

While the 2012 Buick LaCrosse with eAssist is touted to deliver 25 percent better highway fuel economy than the current 2011 LaCrosse, during a colder country road loop, it provided what we would deem ok results

eAssist

The eAssist system is mated via belt drive to GM’s 2.4L Ecotec DI I4 and next-generation 6-speed AT. The eAssist system uses power stored in the 115V Li-Ion battery to provide an 11 HP electric power boost during heavier acceleration, provides regenerative braking and aggressive fuel cut when slowing and allows for Auto Stop/Start when coming to a stop and subsequent reacceleration.

The 2012 Buick LaCrosse with eAssist also incorporates low rolling resistance tires, underbody panels and an active grille shudder that improves fuel economy, aerodynamics and engine warm-up time.

Additional new standard features for 2012 include dual-zone climate control, 17-inch alloy wheels, full-color driver information center, and Bluetooth and USB connectivity.

Infotainment – Buick’s IntelliLink

Later in the year, the 2012 LaCrosse with eAssist will come with Buick’s all-new infotainment system called IntelliLink. The system uses Bluetooth or USB to connect the driver’s Smartphone to a new 8-inch, high-res, full-color touch screen display. IntelliLink allows Smartphone control via voice activation and steering wheel-mounted controls. It also enables streaming stereo audio from the phone through services like PANDORA Internet radio and Stitcher SmartRadio.

Most importantly, Buick IntelliLink enables integration of one’s own portable devices with each vehicle’s infotainment system, allowing drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

2012 Buick LaCrosse Highlights

The sedan has 101.7 cu. ft. of passenger volume and was appointed in a very luxurious looking and feeling leather trimmed interior with a faux wood accent panel and what appeared to be an LED light bar spread across the entire right side of the dash. In addition, this may in fact be the quietest mid-sized sedan on the road today. Ride was well controlled and compliant. Road manners for the short test drive felt above its price class.

Safety

The Buick LaCrosse has earned the right to sit in your drive with an IIHS Top Safety Pick and 5-Star Crash Test Rating on the most stringent crash testing program in the world. Namely the 2011 NHTSA. These were crash tests on the 2011 and there is no reason to believe the 2012 LaCrosse w/ eAssist will be rated any different.




2011 NHTSA 5-Star Crash Test Rating

Lowlights – When you begin your smaller mid-sized sedan pricing model at $30,000 +, you have priced yourself over approximately 80% of the mid-sized buyers today. In addition, just like the previous BAS system and all hybrid sedans as of late, the traction battery takes a large portion of the trunk’s available cargo capacity, now at 10.9 cu. ft. from the current 2011 non eAssist equipped variants spacious 16 cu. ft.


Trunk’s 10.9 cu. ft. of cargo capacity.

Another “issue” is that the BAS/eAssist systems fuel economy additions to your bottom line may not be as significant as the extremely well-calibrated system is to the EPA test cycles. The results received and shown below were only 15.7% above its EPA combined and the worst showing of a number of automobiles from which with a fuel economy study was performed during the MAMA Spring Rally. This drive occurred on the morning of day 2 of the event with no rain and dry roads vs. raining and wet roads when 10 of the 12-vehicle contingent were driven.

2012 Buick LaCrosse w/ eAssist at the MAMA Spring Rally


34.4 mpgUS from the 29 mpgUS combined rated LaCrosse w/ eAssist around an ~ 8-mile loop.

Speaking with Steve Poulos, GM’s Global Chief Engineer of the eAssist system during the preview drive, I requested that the new 2012 LaCrosse w/ eAssist be highlighted in the future on a more highway friendly route so as to allow the 6-speed AT’s TC to lock up and the expected highway fuel economy should then truly shine.

The eAssist system will also be available on the 2012 Buick Regal later this year.
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Old 06-08-2011, 06:27 PM
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Re: 2012 Buick LaCrosse With eAssist Preview

34.4mpg out of a two ton barge isn't bad, but I suspect there will be a lot of customer complaints at Buick dealers when they wonder why their average FCD is showing in the low 20s. Like any oversize car, it will sip on the highway and guzzle in the city.

It has a lot of good stuff on paper - grille shutters, LRR tires, tall final drive (2.64:1), and 2.4L engine. But the tires are huge (235/50 steamrollers) and the overall platform needs to go on a diet and shed about 10% of its weight.
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Old 06-09-2011, 02:19 PM
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Re: 2012 Buick LaCrosse With eAssist Preview

It will be interesting to see the uptake on the e-Assist no cost option compared to the V6.. but it does take a hit in cargo space on the trunk that is already small for its class.. its a hell of a classy large car.
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Old 06-10-2011, 02:26 PM
SiestaKeyJimmy SiestaKeyJimmy is offline
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Re: 2012 Buick LaCrosse With eAssist Preview

Hey Wayne,

This is about the 20th news piece I’ve read on the new Buick with eAssist and all you guys miss the most important question – how does the Air Conditioning system work?

Down here in Florida we have 95 degree heat and traffic lights that keep you stopped for 4-5 minutes solid. So…will I be dying in heat or does that Buick have an electric powered Air Conditioning compressor?
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Old 06-10-2011, 02:35 PM
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Re: 2012 Buick LaCrosse With eAssist Preview

Hi SiestaKeyJimmy:

It has a standard belt driven unit and while I have only ridden in the LaCrosse twice, neither day was it warm enough to consider A/C. From past GM A/C units however, you will not be having a problem when it comes to Buick’s A/C system even if it was 125 degrees and 75% humidity!

The Stop/Start system will not engage with heavy A/C demand so do not worry about getting warm

Wayne
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Old 10-16-2011, 02:40 AM
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Re: 2012 Buick LaCrosse With eAssist Preview

http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/...=1flkr7v8mt9ej

USA Today reviews the LeSabre, reviewer is disappointed with the actual combined mpg of 18mpg.
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Old 10-16-2011, 02:56 AM
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Re: 2012 Buick LaCrosse With eAssist Preview

Hi Herm:

Thanks for the link to Jim's Review. I suspected Buick was going to have problems with the LaCrosse w/ eAssist's FE from my short time behind the wheel as posted above and the USA Today review bares that out. Unfortunately Jim relied on the Trip Computer for his numbers instead of a top off to top off so who knows? I suspect like most GM products, the OEM aFCD is over reporting a bit so the actual FE may have actually been worse! The LaCrosse is a beautiful and quiet car but the underpinnings are pure "Old School" in this day and age of "Wunder Hybrids".

Wayne
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Old 10-16-2011, 10:00 AM
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Re: 2012 Buick LaCrosse With eAssist Preview

I doubt you will get great economy out of an aggressively driven land barge, no matter what engine trickery you do.
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Old 10-16-2011, 10:30 PM
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Re: 2012 Buick LaCrosse With eAssist Preview

I drove the eAssist version of the Lacrosse today, after driving the V6 a couple of days back. My impression of the eAssist system is that it works, at least to a large degree. I drove the car around city/suburban streets (stop signs and lights, not much traffic, no single road segment more than 0.5 mile) and averaged 23.9 MPG despite a couple of "let's see how well this thing accelerates" trials. I didn't get a chance to run it on the highway, because the dealer gave it to me with so little fuel (52 miles to empty) that I didn't want to chance it.

So, my numbers were from the trip computer and thus aren't totally reliable, but they're probably in the ballpark. Acceleration is acceptable -- perfectly adequate for entering a busy road, for example, but nowhere near the fun of the rather nice V6. The start/stop worked flawlessly, and if you know what to look for you can tell when the fuel cuts out on deceleration -- but otherwise the system is exceptionally well integrated. Kudos to Buick.

The downside is of course the lost trunk space, but you could still stow a couple of bags of golf clubs back there.

So, I have no idea how badly the USA Today author was driving, but I have to think he was just mashing the gas pedal at every start. It's really too bad that his article is now about 15 of the first 20 links when you google "eassist mpg" because that's going to be a significant marketing hump for GM to overcome. I wonder if he'll print an update in headline fonts if a full week-long test shows that his mileage number was way off.
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Old 10-16-2011, 10:48 PM
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Re: 2012 Buick LaCrosse With eAssist Preview

Hi Delegator:

23.9 mpgUS from a 29 mpgUS combined rated car is not exceptional at anything.

Acceleration is also acceptable in everything GM makes from the new Sonic to the Silverado with the 4.3L V6.

Where this car is going to have problems is that few are going to see 29 mpg from it. It has been gamed to achieve high EPA numbers but in the real world, it is not going to do as well. While I was probably in a late model prototype, achieving 15% above the EPA in better conditions than other manufacturer’s automobiles that were almost doubling theirs on the same route the day before in the rain is a bad omen for eAssist and we will probably see more eAssist stories just like this one in the very near future.

I love the interior and it is extremely quiet but the drivetrain is anything but a large advance for the General. Start/Stop is great as is the little bit of assist through the belt but FE gains of 25% are not in the cards for this car…

USA Today will not print anything other than what they received. GM will give them more weeks with the car if they want but both Jim Healey and Chris Woodyard have their hands full with the vehicles they drive on an ongoing basis to reassess the LaCrosse with eAssist once again.

In any case, GM’s eAssit just like BAS (it is an upgraded BAS) is a great idea for the 5 to 10% gain in the city cycles and I hope they incorporate it into all their vehicles for far lower price than the $2 to $3K they are upcharging currently. It is not worth the price but 5 to 10% for all is a nice bump for all of our sakes.

Wayne
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