Though it's not actually using the h-word, Buick has pulled back the curtain on its first foray into the hybrid market.
The 2012 Buick LaCrosse will come standard with a system the company is calling e-Assist. It’s basically a host of fuel-saving systems designed to cut the car’s consumption by up to 25%. The system includes automatic engine shut-off when the car is stopped, a lithium-ion battery that aids in the LaCrosse’s acceleration, and regenerative braking, which puts power back into the lithium-ion battery.
The result is fuel economy of 25 city, 37 highway. The powertrain on this LaCrosse is a 2.4-liter four cylinder paired to a six-speed automatic transmission. Horsepower is rated at 180.
What’s interesting about this take on fuel efficiency is that this will be the standard powertrain for the 2012 LaCrosse. It goes on sale next year and pricing is expected to be around the $30,000 range. Buyers will still have the option of choosing the V6, offered at the same starting price.
Buick was quick to point out that the $30,000 expected base price undercuts the Lincoln MKZ hybrid (which our own Susan Carpenter recently reviewed) by several thousand dollars. While this is true, it’s only fair to point out that the Lincoln wallops the LaCrosse in fuel efficiency with an EPA rated 36 mpg city, 41 mpg highway.
-- David Undercoffler
Photo credit: Steve Fecht / EPA