The Buick Lucerne was the last sedan of what we'd call traditional Buick design. Without a doubt, this front-wheel-drive, full-size car put passenger comfort as its top priority. Seating was spacious and luxurious front and rear, and Buick's "Quiet Tuning" measures, which covered everything from the thickness of the carpet padding to the design of the windshield wipers, made the Lucerne one of the quieter cars on the market. Soft suspension tuning provided a plush, absorbent ride.
Although this Buick's coddling nature was a strong attribute, consumers looking at used full-size sedans should be aware that the Lucerne has numerous faults, the main ones being a lack of desirable luxury features, sloppy handling, unimpressive V6 acceleration, subpar brakes and a dated four-speed automatic transmission. Traditional Buick buyers may be willing to overlook these faults, but otherwise we think used luxury sedan shoppers can do better with other, more highly regarded choices such as the Hyundai Genesis or Toyota Avalon.
Most Recent Buick Lucerne
The Buick Lucerne full-size sedan was produced from 2006 through 2011. Trim levels initially consisted of the CX, CXL and CXS. Powering the CX and CXL was an underwhelming 3.8-liter V6 good for just 197 horsepower. The more desirable CXS came with a 275-hp, 4.6-liter V8 that was optional for the CXL. The 4.6 could move the big sedan to 60 mph in a respectable 7.7 seconds.
The base CX was well equipped with alloy wheels, full power accessories (including driver seat), a CD player and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls among its standard features. The CXL added larger wheels, rain-sensing wipers, leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control and an MP3-capable stereo with an auxiliary audio jack. The CXS featured driver-seat memory, a Harman Kardon audio system, satellite radio, 18-inch wheels and a Magnetic Ride Control suspension.
The Lucerne was essentially unchanged its sophomore year, while '08 saw the debut of the Super (which replaced the CXS and offered a more powerful 292-hp V8) as well as the adoption of modern technologies such as lane departure and blind-spot warning systems.
For 2009, the 3.8-liter V6 was finally retired as the Lucerne got a new 227-hp (219 hp in California-emissions states) 3.9-liter V6. That year also saw the addition of Bluetooth connectivity. The following two years brought minor styling and equipment updates, though the final year saw stability control become standard across the board.
Mostly unchanged throughout the years, the Lucerne's cabin has a clean design with solid materials and simple, well-organized controls. Unfortunately, there are some cheaper plastics thrown into the mix, and build quality can be inconsistent.
Though the CXS and Super boast adaptive "Magnetic Ride Control" shock absorbers (that automatically firm up the suspension when the car is pushed on a curvy road), the Lucerne still won't appeal to demanding drivers. However, its comfortable cruising demeanor was hard not to like on long road trips. Braking was not one of the Lucerne's strong points, as testing revealed stopping distances that were the longest in the full-size sedan class.