I am on vacation this week and decided to rent a car for the week. I wanted something different to drive, something I might not ordinarily drive. Something I might even enjoy. I am not here to do a Top Gear style review, sliding the car on a skid pad or drag racing, just give an honest car lover, drivers impression of what I drove like a normal person… on the highways and roadways.
I called a couple rental places and settled on one near me. I opted for their luxury car. They said it could be a Cadillac (oh boy!!!!), Lincoln, or Buick.
I ended up with a silver 2011 Buick Lucerne. In fact, it looked just like this one:
Not my first choice, or even my second choice, but I thought let’s give it a go. To call this a luxury car is a big stretch. If this is GM’s vision of modern entry into luxury it is no wonder they floundered and crashed. I have driven BMWs, Cadillacs, Lexus, Lincolns, and Jaguars, and those are luxury cars. Yes, I know Cadillac is GM, but that brand proves they know how to do it, they just failed miserably with this Buick Lucerne.
The outside is sleek enough but the interior looks to be brought over from 2 generations earlier of this car… maybe 3 generations. Not that it was, just that the imagination and design implementation simply wasn’t there unless you are 70 years old. Harsh I know, but to back up this statement I drove it 220 miles to my parents, whose average age is about 71 or so, to give me their impression. They absolutely loved the looks of it. They did not drive it just looked at it and sat in it. Generational preferences. However it proves that it is not a car for my generation.
That has been Buick’s problem and they are trying to change the old driver image. This car version was supposed to be the start of that change. What the hell happened? First the seats absolutely suck. Covered in leather yes, they provide all the support of a bass boat seat… covered in leather. My ass and back would have been more comfortable on a see-saw seat. The seats have so many adjustments and buttons I spent 15 minutes trying to find the nirvana of seating comfort.
Next the dash materials are some of the worst I have ever seen in any modern $30k vehicle. Hard light gray plastic that looks dirty and fake plastic wood grain in the dash, really? This is befitting $12k car and even then it’s a slap in the face to those buyers. I think we need a petition against cheesey fake wood grain in any car!
Let’s have a word about the cup-holders. There are two of them. Right on the front seat console. They are so close together that anything larger than two small drinks from McD’s cannot be placed side by side in the only two holders. You can use cans, or 20 oz bottles but no drink cups from any drive through. They simply cannot sit nicely side by side.
The acceleration was weak with at least a 1 second delay from depressing the gas pedal to actually feeling momentum. This was complicated by the weak gas pedal feel and spongy feeling brake pedal. Once rolling on the highway acceleration was completely normal and adequate. Perhaps this was to simulate the large barge cars of old.
Gas mileage was horrendous. It was about the same I got with my 1996 Pontiac Firebird Formula and I don’t take it easy in that car to get better mileage. Honestly, this Buick sucked ass so badly that I returned it first thing Monday morning and checked out another vehicle. Those impressions after I take it to Memphis and back.
What did I like? Well the auto dimming rear view mirror is slick. The side marker lights come on brighter on the side you are turning toward to illuminate the side of the road better, nifty. The side mirrors tilt down when backing up so you can see the parking lines etc.. Which is good, except if you are used to using the side mirrors to backup like a truck driver does…I was a truck driver once and was trained to use them.
Do your back and ass a favor and don’t buy this generation Buick Luscerne.