The 2005-2009 Buick Allure (LaCrosse in the U.S.) has proven to be a comfortable, reliable and competent automobile in the mid-size segment. Think of it as a better looking, better driving successor to the older Century/Regal models -- because that's exactly what it is.
The base CX model behaved most like the earlier Century/Regal. Somewhat softly sprung, it delivers a good ride but less than crisp handling. The CX uses the old GM 3.8L overhead valve V6. It is definitely "old school" but it is a simple (relatively speaking), smooth, and very reliable engine.
Next up the model ladder is the CXL, which added luxury features such as leather, a split folding rear seat, upgraded trim, and automatic climate control. It also uses the 3.8L V6.
The top of the line model, the CSX, is both more luxurious and sportier than the other models and brings such features as an upgraded suspension, traction control, anti-lock brakes and a new generation overhead cam V6 to the table.
Allure's exterior styling is smooth and flowing with an upscale look. The CXL and CSX offer plenty of chrome, something just about everyone is doing these days.
Inside is pleasant enough, but you could easily imagine yourself sitting in an Impala. The faux wood looks exactly that, and the whole presentation is a bit of a letdown. It's not bad, just not quite up to what the exterior promises.
Seating for four is comfortable, but rear seat leg room gets a bit tight if the front passengers have their seats pushed back. The CSX's buckets are somewhat more supportive than those found in the lower trims.
An optional front seat center convertible armrest/console setup (lifted from Ford's Taurus) provides for an additional passenger up front, but there's no comfort to be found there.
The 3.8L V6 in the CX and CXL works unobtrusively and provides adequate power at 200hp. The 3.6L V6 in the CXS produces 240 horsepower and is similarly smooth and quiet, while providing noticeably quicker passing acceleration. Both engines get a bit thrashy when pushed, though. A four-speed automatic transmission handles the shifting chores smoothly.
Fuel economy is near the top of its class for mid-sized six-cylinder sedans.
Handling is clearly of second concern to a smooth, quiet ride in the LaCrosse, and that's ok. The CXS, with its tighter suspension, wide 17-inch alloys (16-inch on the other two) and quicker steering gives up just little "smooth" for a much more responsive driver experience.
Reliability has generally been very good, especially on all the major components. The Series III 3.8L V6 is well known as a robust and reliable engine--as well it should be as its basic design reaches all the way back to the early sixties.
Our reliability survey reveals some minor front end issues and occasional minor electrical annoyances.
Service costs weigh in about average, as do most GM models. While low-cost service for any newer vehicle today is impossible to find, the LaCrosse does well for this class.
Four wheel disc brakes with ABS are standard on the CXS and optional on the CX and CXL. Two dash mounted front air bags are standard, while side curtain airbags for the front passengers were an option. StabiliTrak and an Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist feature were also optional.
The Allure is an excellent choice for those seeking a reliable, comfortable ride with sleek, contemporary styling.
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