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Retooled LaCrosse a solid effort

| Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, 9:27 p.m.

When my mother bought a Buick in the '80s, she rationalized the purchase as a car that said, “I've made it.”

The fact that my mom now drives a Honda Accord speaks to the problems Buick has had in recent decades re-establishing itself as the maker of luxury vehicles that are as reliable as they are beautiful — the sorts of cars hard-working, salt-of-the-earth Americans buy as rewards for jobs well done, the sorts of cars that serve as well-deserved sanctuaries as much as status symbols.

The LaCrosse was Buick's first step on its long road of image restoration back in 2009, when the full-size sedan was introduced to showcase the company's more elegant design aesthetic. Now Buick is back with an updated version of the LaCrosse that ratchets up the comforts and technology.

Available in August, the $33,135-plus 2014 LaCrosse is based on the same platform as the newly overhauled Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac's sport-luxury sedan, the XTS. It keeps the doors, roof and windows from the outgoing model but retools the front and back ends of the car with a slightly more aggressive stance that isn't so radical as to be youthful.

It is, after all, a Buick.

The larger waterfall grille is underscored with windswept LED running lights and sporty ventilation holes on the hood, while the back end is outfitted with a barely there built-in spoiler and chrome tips on its trapezoidal exhaust, which make for a sleek, if not particularly original, profile.

The real joys of this exceptionally roomy car are only apparent once a driver flings open its solid doors and slides into a welcomingly plush seat awash with the sort of warm ambient lighting that will appeal to anyone who has yet to adopt compact fluorescents. From the broad, wood-trimmed dash to the micro suede roof liner, it is a thoroughly tactile and sensory experience.

— The Orange County Register

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