2006 Buick Lucerne: V-8 Power comes back to Buick
By Alan Gell
The new Buick Lucerne marks a major change for the Buick line-up and return to cars that are bigger, bolder, and more powerful. It’s not a small, cramped version. It’s a full-size luxury sedan. Generally speaking, the Lucerne is a reworked LeSabre, but with a much more aggressive and bolder look. My test drive model was a CXS with just about everything on it. It wasn’t ultra-luxury, but I certainly called it a luxury vehicle.
When I was a young boy, my grandfather had a Buick. A big, shiny, black one with those luxurious soft seats, wide spacing in the rear, and lots of gadgets on the dash. I will probably never forget the first time I sat in that car. I was impressed with Buicks from that day on. They weren’t the ultra-luxury Cadillac or Lincoln vehicles that signified being well-to-do back in those days. But the Buick represented something special. The last few years, Buick has been downsized somewhat, but that is changing. The Lucerne brings back the V-8 engine for the first time in ten years.
In the early part of December, Buick kicked off the introduction of the Lucerne by featuring Lucerne styled golf carts on “The Amazing Race” and “Martha Stewart Living.” They were immediately dubbed as “Baby Buicks.” But those golf carts could hardly tell the story.
The Lucerne’s exterior appearance is gracefully sculpted, yet it’s bold. Not rugged, but very stylish. The classic waterfall grille is a part of the overall look.
The test model I drove was called “sharkskin.” The inside features everything you would expect for a luxury automobile, especially in technology. Obviously, there’s the Stabili-Track, but the Lucerne also features Magnetic Ride Control which provides great vehicle control because of increased road surface contact of the tires. There’s heated and cooled front seats, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a nine speaker audio system, DVD navigation, remote start, rear parking assist, heated washer fluid, and a whole lot more. The interior colorscheme for my test model was called “cashmere.” (Where do they get all these fancy names? What’s wrong with black, white, red, blue, and green?)
But again, the most outstanding part of the Lucerne that captured my attention is the V-8 power. It’s standard on the CXS model and available as an upgrade on the CXL model. This 4.6 liter, 32 valve dual overhead cam V-8 engine is all aluminum and can spit out an estimated 275 horsepower
There’s a lot more to this Lucerne that is noticeable when you drive it. The new V-8 engine is much quieter that you would expect, due to a special engine cover. The Buick PR folks say that the quietness is also due to the pistons being coated with a special polymer for extra quiet operation.
All the state of the art safety features are included in the Lucerne, such as an energy absorbing engine cradle and a lot of injected structural foam elements. There’s the anti-lock brakes, of course, traction control, brake assist, and more. This is the first time that brake assist has been part of any full-size sedan by Buick. There’s six air bags, including roof-rail curtain bags and dual stage front bags.
The test drive CXS model I drove for a week averaged about 20 miles per gallon. That was slightly less than the spec sheet listing of 25 mpg on the highway.
The standard sticker price was $34,265, but with a premium paint job, special driver package, heated & cooled seats, and even heated washer fluid – the bottom line came in at $37,480. For a luxury vehicle with about everything on it, that’s not bad in today’s market.
This new Buick Lucerne isn’t much like my grandfather’s big black model from the 1950’s era, but it has all the new impressive features that will probably infect young boys of this generation like I was infected back then. This Buick is big, bold, and full of luxury as well as power. What more can you want? Obviously, I am impressed with the Lucerne and suspect you will be also. Check it out at your nearby Buick dealership.