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Car Review of the 2010 Buick LaCrosse CXS Mid-size Near-Luxury Sedan
By Derek Price
2010 Buick LaCrosse CXS Mid-sized Near-Luxury Sedan front exterior.
What was tested? 2010 Buick LaCrosse CXS ($33,015).
Price as tested: $33,015.
Pros: It's a great all-around car, from its classy interior to its traditional American comfort. It has a soft ride and good-looking body, and -- best of all -- it's as refined as anything from Europe or Japan.
Cons: Storage space in the cabin is limited.
For years now, automakers have been fighting for a foothold in China, which will soon become the world's biggest car market. All the major brands want a piece of the far-east pie because of how quickly it's growing.
And which brand do you think is the most popular in China so far? Toyota? Honda? Volkswagen?
Believe it or not, the answer is Buick.
2010 Buick LaCrosse CXS Mid-sized Near-Luxury Sedan rear exterior.
This mid-luxury General Motors brand has become almost an afterthought here in America, but in China it's the biggest and best brand of all. China's burgeoning business leaders are being chauffeured in big Buicks like they're royalty, apparently enjoying the soft American ride and tasteful Buick styling.
And once you've driven the 2010 Buick LaCrosse, you'll know exactly why.
The new LaCrosse -- which was a joint design effort by GM's engineers in the United States and China -- is a shining example of the brand's rebirth. It's not only the best product GM has made in years, but also one of the best products in its class.
And that includes Lexus.
The LaCrosse is a great car by any standard. Everything about it seems like the engineers really, truly cared, from the bold front-end styling to the feel of buttons and switches on the dash. You don't get the feeling that this was a car built to meet a certain price target or appeal to a narrow, sliced-and-diced demographic. It was designed to tell the world, "Here's what we can do. Enjoy."
Interestingly, the LaCrosse doesn't try to be a carbon copy of its Japanese and European competitors. Its ride is classic American, with a glassy smoothness that lets it waft down the highway in silence. It's not as boat-like as the old-school Buicks, but it also doesn't try for the rough, "sporty" feel of a Honda or Audi.
2010 Buick LaCrosse CXS Mid-sized Near-Luxury Sedan interior.
Likewise, its styling doesn't scream, "me too!" It has its own distinct look: a classy profile with gobs of chrome, wide doors, an aggressive hood and big wheels. It turns heads for all the right reasons.
Power comes from your choice of V6 engines: a 3.0-liter version that makes 255 horsepower, or a 3.6-liter that cranks out 280 hp. Both are tuned for a good combination of efficiency and grunt.
Perhaps where the LaCrosse shines most of all, though, is in the cabin, wher...