Buick plans to make available of the four-cylinder LaCrosse sedan with the eAssist hybrid technology as standard this summer. The 2012 Buick LaCrosse eAssist utilizes a number of improvements to provide an estimated gas mileage rating of 25 miles per gallon in the city and 37 miles per gallon on the highway.
The 2012 Buick LaCrosse eAssist uses a 2.4-liter Ecotec four-cylinder engine producing 182 horsepower, and it is coupled to a 15kW (15 horsepower) electric motor that runs on a 115V lithium-ion battery. The electric motor replaces the conventional alternator found on most engines, and it provides an extra boost during acceleration. The eAssist system also harnesses the regenerative braking energy to power the electrical systems of the car. Power is transferred to the wheels by a standard six-speed automatic transmission.
The additional 15 horsepower from the electric motor doesn’t seem much, but it certain does help a bit to lower the LaCrosse’s gear ratio without sacrificing reserve acceleration and performance. For example, when climbing the grade of an overpass, a normal vehicle will downshift and lose some fuel efficiency, but LaCrosse with eAssist maintains gear for improved performance and increased efficiency. One more feature of the eAssist system is the engine shut-off mode, which helps improve gas mileage by reducing the fuel supply in certain deceleration conditions.
To further improve fuel economy, the new Buick LaCrosse with eAssist comes with a variety of aerodynamic parts: revised underbody to improve airflow, low-resistance tires, and the lower grille that is programmed to close at higher speeds to push more air over the car. In addition, it also features an Eco gauge that shows how to achieve maximum efficiency during driving.
In addition to having eAssist added to its four-cylinder powertrain, the 2012 Buick LaCrosse will be dropping the CX, CXL and CXS trim levels. Instead, it will be offered with one large package that encompasses all of the available amenities. And while the 280-horsepower direct-injected 3.6-liter V6 will still be made available, it is offered as a no-cost option, and an all-wheel drive option will be available as well.
While the eAssist technology on the 2012 Buick LaCrosse comes as standard equipment sounds good, but will the new 2012 Buick LaCrosse eAssist cost more? We expect it to be so; when it comes to hybrid technology on cars, there is no free lunch. Buick hasn’t released official pricing information yet but it states that the entry level LaCrosse will start around $30,000, which is about $3,000 more than the current Buick LaCrosse ($26,995). Check out the video below of what the eAssist is all about.