2006 Buick Lacrosse 160k mile review

Joined
Oct 30, 2015
Messages
818
Location
Wisconsin
So my Buick is at about 160,000 miles (I've but about 20,000 miles on it) and I thought I'd do a review of it for you all. It's the mid-trim CXL, and is pretty well-equipped (automatic dual zone climate control, driver information center, leather wrapped steering wheel, heated leather, power drivers seat, alloy wheels, upgraded sound system, in addition to the standard power features like mirrors, locks, windows). For perspective, this was a $25,000 car brand new. Here are some pics, apoligies for them being sideways. The Good -Comfort- this is where the car really excels. Seats are comfortable and suitable for long trips. Leather is of pretty good quality and uses "gathered stitching" which looks expensive. -Highway MPG- driven normally on the Interstate (75 mph with the A/C on), it will consistently get 30 mpg; driven carefully, around 60 mph, it gets 32+ mpg. I like the car a lot; it truly is at home on the highway. It can eat up miles like nobody's business! It takes 75 mph to even reach 2000 rpm-it's loafing along at highway speeds. -Ride quality- while it's less floaty than old Buicks, it still rides very soft. However, handling is better than expected. Roadfeel is decent and it feels very confident at speed. For long-distance driving, this is a good thing. -3800- my favorite part of the car is the 3800 Series 3. Its 200 HP seems modest today but it has a solid 230 ft-lbs of torque. It has plenty of power for merging and acceleration is reasonable (8.5 sec or so 0-60). This isn't a car you rev for the fun of it, but it has fairly good power. And, as I mentioned, mileage is excellent. -Quiet- it is exceptionally quiet (one of the quietest cars I've driven, if not the quietist), and has few creaks or rattles. One of GM's main points when selling the new Lacrosse was its "Quiet-Tuning", strategic sound deadening and reduction measures. It worked well. -A/C and climate control- the A/C is superb. Its automatic functions work well (can set "AUTO 70 degrees" and never need to touch it, even for defrost) and I measured 36 degrees vent output on a 90 degree day. The fan is very quiet, even on high. -Audio system- it has the midrange system offered, with six speakers. Bass is phenomenal; it's truly a great stock system. -Design touches- there are a number of cool design touches: for example, the trunk release is built into both door lock buttons on the front doors- to pop the trunk, hold the top of the button (unlock) for a second or so. It's on the passenger side as well. And the cupholder can be folded into the center console to give more storage. And I really like the automatic headlights. -Interior quality- it looks more expensive than it is; the interior has lots of fake wood and chrome trim. Most materials are soft-touch. The headliner is a very nice woven fabric. There is a classy "BUICK" sill plate for each front door. However, some commonly-used radio/climate buttons wore through, as is common for its era. -Driver information center- I like having this info- distance to empty, average/instant MPG, timer, oil life, battery voltage and trip odometers, along with temperature and compass. The whole car (DIC, climate control, speedo, etc.) can be changed between English and Metric, and there are three languages to choose from. The Average -City MPG- driven in a typical suburban cycle, I'd expect low-mid twenties, worse for shorter trips. Here the Lacrosse's 3500 pound weight shows. -Transmission- it's just a 4-speed auto, which is really all that's needed but another gear wouldn't hurt. It does shift very smoothly, though. -Rear-seat legroom/headroom- not too much room back there, but it is adequate (comparable to Camry/Accord). -Trunk space- decently large and very deep. The rear seats fold down for more room. -Cost to own- it's been reliable, though I did need to replace a timing cover gasket and a few tie rod ends. A wheel speed sensor wiring harness got cut by a piece of road debris and needed replacement. And a friend got a hard plastic water bottle jammed into the airbag sensor under the passenger seat, which then required replacement. Otherwise, it's just been fluid changes/filters and a lightbulb. I changed the battery this winter, too. The Bad -"Driving engagement"- it's no sports car, and doesn't pretend to be one. This doesn't bother me, though. It is definitely designed for someone older than me. -Rust- this is par for the course in MN, it's started to rust in certain spots. -Glove box space- quite small and awkwardly shaped. It doesn't matter too much, though, because there is a generously sized center console. -No steering wheel audio controls (these were optional). All in all, it's been a great car and a pleasure to drive, especially on long trips. Hope this helps/interests someone.
 
Joined
Mar 30, 2014
Messages
6,784
Location
NJ
Sounds like a Buick! How is it holding up? The driver seat looks great! So many leather driver seats I see on older cars are all chewed up.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 17, 2016
Messages
1,216
Location
Alberta
Great review! My Park Ave's would have much the same review from me.... Great cars for my family, reliable and inexpensive to maintain as well.
 

TmanP

Thread starter
Joined
Oct 30, 2015
Messages
818
Location
Wisconsin
Originally Posted By: Leo99
Sounds like a Buick! How is it holding up? The driver seat looks great! So many leather driver seats I see on older cars are all chewed up.
It's holding up very well, much less wear than you'd expect. I get compliments on the car's interior from people that ride with me, they can't believe it's as old as it is or has as many miles as it does.
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2016
Messages
1,255
Location
Campbellsville, KY
I've driven and worked on numerous '95-'05 GM's with the 3800 and they all have a good presence on the road and get better mileage than some 4 cyl. cars. The 3800 truly doesn't really have to try to pull these large cars along.
 
Joined
May 19, 2016
Messages
725
Location
Canada
I like these GMs too. But watch out for the 4T65E transmission, it should get a fluid and filter change, filter being the bottleneck. 1) Don't ever get a transmission "flush". 2) 2006 was about the year GM was using cheap square magnets in the oil pan for which they have a TSB out. Get a ceramic ring magnet 3" diameter to put inside the pan right under the diff gears (right side of oil pan. 3) Never tow anything with the car. 4) after Tranny fluid change, drive car 5-10 miles in stop and go traffic and check fluid level in Park, level will typically drop, add more ATF until at max on the dipstick. 5) Get a pal with a good scanner that can pull up Tranny OBD codes, note them and clear, tranny codes don't set the dash light, P1811 among other codes, force the tranny into hi oil pressure condition that can jam the torque converter lock-up making the car undriveable. Torque converter then has to be replaced. 6) with 2006 you dodged a GM bullet, earlier 4T65E trannies had 4th gear shafts with splines that weren't heat treated, so they ripped off leaving cars stranded! 7) Am I dissing GM? Not really, if they spend $2 more on these trannies and the newer 6 speeds, they'd be way more reliable, we deserve it, we're customers!
 
Joined
Feb 16, 2009
Messages
2,670
Location
wv
I was curious and looked up the prices on craigs.. less miles than yours same year for $4500- $5500.. sounds like a great car for the money.
 

TmanP

Thread starter
Joined
Oct 30, 2015
Messages
818
Location
Wisconsin
I try and detail the engine once a year or so to keep it looking good. Just a hose, some tinfoil to cover the alternator, fuse box, etc and some Simple Green or something. It's pretty easy. Yeah, they are really quite affordable and are a good value for the money. I'd recommend to anyone in the market.
 
Joined
Oct 28, 2014
Messages
1,035
Location
On the road Midwest
Originally Posted By: Lubener
Surprised the tranny hasn't given up yet. Biggest piece of junk on the road.
Let me offer an opposing viewpoint; it has a 4t65e transmission, the same as in my Lesabres, my Impala, and my previous Lesabres which I've driven since late 90's. Change the fluid & filter every 30-40K. I've driven these cars over 700K trouble free miles without any transmission issues. The 4t65e transmission can be beefed up and withstand 600+ HP. World record 8.65 quarter mile with a twin turbo'd 3800 and a 4t65e transmission: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1IBLusB3VM BTW, nice looking car!!!
 
Joined
Jan 22, 2011
Messages
7,577
Originally Posted By: Ihatetochangeoil
Originally Posted By: Lubener
Surprised the tranny hasn't given up yet. Biggest piece of junk on the road.
Let me offer an opposing viewpoint; it has a 4t65e transmission, the same as in my Lesabres, my Impala, and my previous Lesabres which I've driven since late 90's. Change the fluid & filter every 30-40K. I've driven these cars over 700K trouble free miles without any transmission issues. The 4t65e transmission can be beefed up and withstand 600+ HP. World record 8.65 quarter mile with a twin turbo'd 3800 and a 4t65e transmission: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1IBLusB3VM
I am talking stock. Many units can be beefed up to handle that HP..The stock 4T65E is barely able to handle the torque of a 3800. Tow a trailor and the units cannot handle the stress. Why do you think there are so many "mods" available to improve these weak units.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Apr 8, 2009
Messages
509
Location
VA
Thanks for the review. I have always thought those were some perfect cars for a long trip!
 
Joined
Oct 28, 2014
Messages
1,035
Location
On the road Midwest
Originally Posted By: Lubener
Originally Posted By: Ihatetochangeoil
Originally Posted By: Lubener
Surprised the tranny hasn't given up yet. Biggest piece of junk on the road.
Let me offer an opposing viewpoint; it has a 4t65e transmission, the same as in my Lesabres, my Impala, and my previous Lesabres which I've driven since late 90's. Change the fluid & filter every 30-40K. I've driven these cars over 700K trouble free miles without any transmission issues. The 4t65e transmission can be beefed up and withstand 600+ HP. World record 8.65 quarter mile with a twin turbo'd 3800 and a 4t65e transmission: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1IBLusB3VM
I am talking stock. Many units can be beefed up to handle that HP..The stock 4T65E is barely able to handle the torque of a 3800. Tow a trailor and the units cannot handle the stress. Why do you think there are so many "mods" available to improve these weak units.
I think there are so many "mods" to improve these "weak units" because the 3800 is capable of being built to withstand 600+ HP; and this is the transmission that goes behind it. All the "record holders" racing the 3800 use stock cranks. Read thru the questions: https://zzperformance.com/3800/engine/3800-crankshaft.html I also think ZZPerformance has done dynomometer testing; has a flow bench, builds performance, does turbocharger and supercharger installations, etc., and knows more of the 3800 and 4t65e capabilities than you do. They say that the 4t65e in stock form will withstand 250-300 HP depending upon driving habits. I notice you didn't specify how much that apartment weighs you were towing.
 
Top