My second energy efficient vehicle test drive was with the 2012 Buick LaCrosse with eAssist. The first thing that you notice when driving the LaCrosse is the room inside the vehicle. When you think of Hybrids or Fuel Efficient vehicles, your mind quickly diverts to tiny soap box type vehicles with room for maybe 2 adults. The LaCrosse is a full size sedan, and the flagship of the Buick line. The vehicle that I test drove had cloth, and the Intellilink radio. I enjoyed the XM radio, the Driver Information center, and other extras like Remote Start, Cruise Control, Onstar and the 17″ Alloy wheels.
So how does a full size sedan with all these extras give you 33 MPG? The LaCrosse has a separate electric engine which is housed in the rear of the vehicle (trunk). When you come to a stop, the engine turns off and the electric engine starts up. Once the brake is released the gasoline engine automatically starts back up. GM has doe studies on the system and found that there was a 32% Improvement in City MPG and 24% Improvement in Highway driving. With the substantial MPG increase, the LaCrosse wins the panic factor over the iMIEV. You can save fuel, but not have to worry about the thought of not finding a charging station for miles. The only draw back for the LaCrosse is the fact that there is no spare in order to compensate for the electrical engine. But even with the reduced space you still have enough room to store things.
All in all the LaCrosse is a GREAT vehicle. It gives you the best of both worlds, the fuel efficiency of an Hybrid with the piece of mind of being able to pull into a gas station when you’re close to empty. The iMIEV is a vehicle that demands a lifestyle change if it is going to be your main vehicle. You don’t have to make as drastic of a change to own the LaCrosse. It also dispels the myth of the tiny fuel efficient vehicle. If it’s big enough for Shaq, I’m sure it’s big enough for you!