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2006 Buick Lucerne

2006 Buick Lucerne New Car Test Drive
by Jessica Howell

There's a new Buick on the road and if its sleek lines and sporty performance haven't caught your attention already, you may want to take a closer look. The all new 2006 Lucerne is spotlighting as Buick's most premium, luxurious model - taking over, but not re-placing, the LeSabre and Park Avenue that have been phased out to make room for something smoother, fresher and faster.

2006 Buick Lucerne

On Virginia's back roads, steep and winding, we tested the Lucerne at our own pace. It smoothly clung to corners and cradled curves, gliding up and careening down those Blue Ridge Mountain hills with a spirit rarely seen in a full-size sedan. Three hours and many miles later, our opinion was cemented. The Lucerne had won us over with its spacious cabin, luxury detailing, top-notch safety features… and muscle. That's right, the Lucerne brings the V8 back to a Buick sedan for the first time in a decade with a Northstar powerplant that delivers 275 horsepower.

In fact, the Lucerne brings quite a few new features to Buick. Developed from a pricing perspective, this latest addition to GM's Total Value Promise, gives you the most for your money when it comes to buying entry-level luxury. It flaunts a taut, sculpted body and from the jeweled, chrome headlamps and trademark "waterfall" grille that adorn the front end to floating lens taillights and chrome exhaust tips, the car blends into its luxury category seamlessly. The Lucerne even warrants the return of traditional Buick portholes which flank the vehicle's side fenders and hint to what lies under the hood - 3 portholes for a V6 and 4 for a V8.

Available in three trims, the aggressively priced CX, elegant CXL and performance-based CXS, Lucerne is well equipped all around. A V6 engine is standard on CX while the V8 comes standard on CXS and is offered as an option on mid-ground CXL.

When it came to designing the five or six seat interior refinement was the keyword. French stitching, hand-sewn armrests, heated/cooled seats and a nine-speaker Harman Kardon audio system make cruising more comfortable and add an element of quality that you might not recognize immediately, but will definitely appreciate on a long drive.

Another selling point that must be noted is the QuietTuning package, standard on all models. On the expressway we witnessed first hand the ability to hear someone speak from the backseat (with music on!) without the typically required head twist and lip-reading skills we've acquired from years of noisy cabins. Laminated side glass windows, rearview mirrors that allow a softer wind flow and steel dash panel all aid in keeping outside sounds outside.

The Lucerne also offers the first heated wiper fluid application in its class that reaches 176 degrees Fahrenheit to melt away ice and snow. Why didn't we think of that sooner? Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist, factory installed remote start and RainSense wipers name a few more optional perks.

With Magnetic Ride Control (MRC), StabiliTrak and Brake Assist (BA), the car offered exceptional handling. This system, standard on the CXS, uses magnetically charged particles suspended in synthetic fluid to continuously adjust for changing road surfaces. The Brake Assist alone made our jaunt much more smooth and enjoyable.

A Front-wheel drive vehicle (FWD), the Lucerne comes with a four-year/50,000 mile warranty. It also boasts safety features aplenty including six standard airbags, one of which is the industry-first dual-depth passenger bag. Co-patented by GM, this air bag deploys from behind the instrument panel in two different shapes and pressures depending on the passenger seat position, crash impact and safety belt. The other five are comprised of a dual-stage driver front air bag, side-impact thorax air bags and roof-rail curtain air bags.

2006 Buick Lucerne Interior

Safety upgrades continue with the engine mounted fully to an energy-absorbing cradle, now taking a split-load path in front-end collisions. The vehicle structure has also been reinforced with foam and nylon elements, providing maximum protection to passengers. Another safety feature standard on all Buicks is GM's OnStar.

Expect to see a lot of the Lucerne in the near future as Buick will most likely dump a hefty amount of change into its advertising and promotion, luring both Buick loyalists and younger consumers alike. According to Steve Shannon, Buick General Manager, this is the car that will get America out of imports. Specifically, noted Shannon, the Lexus ES330, competitive rival of Lucerne.

Available in 12 paint colors, including the stare-inducing Ming Blue Metallic and Sharkskin, and four leather trims, the Lucerne MSRPs range from $26,990 to $35,990.

2006 Buick Lucerne
Full-size entry-level luxury sedan
Model options:


115.6 inches
Overall length:
203.2 inches
Engine size:

3.8L 3800 V6
4.6L DOHC V8 Northstar

4-speed automatic, Enhanced Electronic



4-wheel antilock, 4-wheel disc ABS/BA

Air bags:
2 (front) 2 (side thorax) 2 (roof rail)
Fuel mileage city/hwy:

V6 FWD: 19/28 mpg
V8 FWD: 17/25 mpg


CX: $ 26,990
CXL: $ 28,990
CXS: $ 35,990

For more information visit the Buick website here.