For 2006, Lucerne replaces the LeSabre at the top of Buick's model lineup. This front-wheel-drive luxury sedan shares a platform and a V-8 engine with the Cadillac DTS, and is the first V-8-powered Buick passenger car in a decade. Compared to the LeSabre, Lucerne offers a two-inch-longer wheelbase, resulting in a smoother ride and greater comfort inside (even though the Lucerne is actually 3.5 inches shorter than the model it replaces.) A number of Buick firsts are seen on the Lucerne, including use of GM's Magnetic Ride Control, StabiliTrak with brake assist, heated and cooled front seats, and a heated windshield washer system.
Styling is a combination of the contemporary and vintage: the waterfall grille and four stylized "portholes" on the front fenders are reminders of Buick's one hundred-year-plus heritage of building luxury automobiles. Another classic touch is the name: though it never appeared on a production Buick before, Lucerne was the name of a stylish four-passenger Buick concept car that debuted in 1988. Befitting a vehicle with Buick's heritage and shared Cadillac components, Buick has launched its QuietTuning engineering initiative. All Lucerne models are brimming with it. From a stiff body structure with tight tolerances and hydraulic engine mounts to laminated side glass and acoustic absorption pads in the doors, Lucerne's idea of luxury is to transport you in silence.
The base CX model is powered by a 200-hp, 3.8L V-6 engine. It features four-wheel anti-lock brakes and independent suspension, 16-inch aluminum wheels, dual-stage air bags for the driver and front passenger, and a six-speaker AM/FM stereo with 6-disc CD changer. Step up to the mid-range CXL and add dual-zone climate controls, 6-way power leather seats, leather steering wheel and shifter handle, warm wood accents, in-car trunk release with valet lockout, 17-inch aluminum wheels and tires, and heated exterior mirrors.
The top-of-the-line CXS is powered by a 275-hp, 4.6L Northstar V-8 (which is optional on the CXL). The CXS also features Magnetic Ride Control suspension and StabiliTrak traction control. Also included are an Entertainment Package that includes XM Satellite Radio and a nine-speaker Harmon/Kardon sound system and a Luxury package that adds 8-way, power-heated and dual-preset-memory front seats; sporty dual stainless steel exhaust tips; 18-inch wheels and tires; halogen projector-beam foglamps; and turn signals that are integrated into the side-view mirrors.
The Lucerne competes in the Large Conventional segment along with 13 other, primarily domestic-branded vehicles. Similar to the Midsize Conventional segment, value is the name of the game in this segment.
The runaway sales leader in this segment is the Chevrolet Impala. With 246,481 sales in calendar year 2005, according to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM the Impala outsold its nearest competitor, the Chrysler 300 (144,048 units in 2005), by more than 100,000 units. Rounding out the top five sales performers are the Pontiac Grand Prix (122,398), Ford Five Hundred (107,932), and Toyota Avalon (95,318). The recently-introduced Lucerne, with only three months of sales in 2005, recorded 8,821 sales for the year. Expect full-year sales in 2006 to be in the 70,000-80,000 range.
|CX||4 speed automatic||$25,265||197-hp / 3.8L 6-cyl||19/28|
|CXL V6||4 speed automatic||$27,265||197-hp / 3.8L 6-cyl||19/28|
|CXS||4 speed automatic||$34,265||275-hp / 4.6L 8-cyl||17/25|