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Buicks were once a status vehicle for sure, not one that middle-class families typically had parked in their driveways. The brand featured powerful V8 engines, huge backseats, had a sense of style, and were also major gas guzzlers.

Buick was the standard-bearer for the big, bulky, powerful sedans that a generation of Americans proudly drove for more than three decades, starting in the 1950s and running into the ’70s.

⤹ Roseville: June 20- 23! ⤸

⤹ Roseville: June 20- 23! ⤸

⤹ Roseville: June 20- 23! ⤸

⤹Roseville: June 20- 23! ⤸

However, long ago Buick cut ties with that generation of vehicle. These days the folks at General Motors have adapted to the times, producing much smaller sedans.

2015 Buick LaCrosse

* Performance: 2.4-liter hybrid, four-cylinder, with 11-kilowatt electric motor, 182 horsepower; 3.6-liter, V6, 304 horsepower
* Mileage estimate: 25-36 mpg; 18-28 mpg  
* Price: $33,635 to $40,500
* Warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles; drivetrain 6 years/70,000 miles; roadside assistance 6 years/70,000; corrosion 6 years/unlimited

One of the more interesting choices in this year’s Buick lineup is the LaCrosse. This midsize sedan, the largest in Buick’s lineup, can be purchased with a fairly powerful 3.6-liter, V6 with 303 horsepower, making it a sedan that will easily get up and go.

However, if that’s not how you want to roll, one can also purchase the LaCrosse hybrid model. That’s right, Buick is offering a hybrid sedan, which several years ago replaced the standard four-cylinder model.

The hybrid engine won’t remind anyone of those glory-day Buicks, but the comparison in gas mileage is laughable. The LaCrosse hybrid gets 25-36 mpg. However, judged by today’s standard for hybrids, the LaCrosse gas mileage is on the low side.

Gas mileage is not the only issue with the front-wheel drive LaCrosse. The hybrid powertrain pairs with a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine with an 11-kilowatt electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack. This unique combination produces 182 horsepower. Yet it has rather sluggish acceleration, judging by its 0-60 mph clocking of 9.2 seconds.

However, sluggish is not a word that leaks into the conversation when discussing the V6 version. It has a high-performing engine, a V6 that goes 0-60 mph in 6.8 seconds and feels even quicker. Gas mileage is not impressive at 18-26 mpg.

Last year the LaCrosse went through a redesign and the result is a little different look – call it the “cool” factor. It features a more sculpted hood, redesigned headlights, and a larger grille, all designed to attract more youthful buyers. It provides lots of comfort, is roomy and drives quietly.

For 2015, three of the four LaCrosse trims receive an upgraded OnStar system with 4G LTE and WiFi, while four-way adjustable headrests and a rearview camera are standard across the board.

The interior has also been upgraded with the redesign and now has much more techie appeal. The
IntelliLink infotainment system is pretty user-friendly and has an 8-inch touchscreen. Trunk space is a modest 13.3 cubic feet and the hybrid shrinks to 10.8 due to the battery’s trunk location.

Billed as an entry-level luxury sedan, the LaCrosse isn’t ready to compete head-to-head against the Lexus ES 350 or the Acura TL. But it is a model to consider, along with the Chrysler 300, Hyundai Genesis, Volkswagen Passat and the Ford Taurus.

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