Redesigned last year, the Buick LaCrosse has ushered in a new era for Buick, one that emphasizes modernity and efficiency. This midsize sedan's handsome styling perfectly balances traditional Buick cues like the vertical bars of the grille and the swooping character line of the body with thoroughly contemporary detailing. And the car's elegant appearance is accompanied by surprisingly adept driving dynamics. It's enough to make you forget all about the nautical-size luxo-barges in that big book of Buick history on your coffee table. The 2011 Buick LaCrosse has pared down its engine choices this year, as the 255-horsepower 3.0-liter V6 has been discontinued while the 182-hp 2.4-liter inline-4 and the 280-hp 3.6-liter V6 go forward. Models with the four-cylinder get a new, electric-assist power steering system to prepare for a future hybrid powertrain. Few cars from GM look as right for the future as this one, yet there are consequences, as the four-cylinder engine is overtaxed by the package's 3,800 pounds, while the thick roof pillars restrict rearward visibility (the optional rear parking assist is a must for this car). Overall, we're impressed by the 2011 Buick LaCrosse. Of course there are other good choices in this segment, such as the 2011 Acura TL, 2011 Ford Taurus, 2011 Hyundai Genesis and 2011 Lexus ES 350, and it could come down to what style or driving characteristics suits you best. But with its combination of classy looks, quality construction and solid driving dynamics, the LaCrosse is writing a new, more memorable chapter in that coffee-table book of Buick history.
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