2008 Buick LaCrosse: Almost a year in review

It's been 11 months since I bought this barge, here's what I learned.

2w ago

About a year ago, I made this post outlining what I was thinking about getting as my next car. I was debating between a Buick Regal TourX, Kia Stinger, Honda Civic Hatchback, or "Something big built by GM", and I had a budget of about $20,000 that I was going to have amassed after working my full-time job. Well, COVID hit and I was lucky enough to keep my job, so I kept putting money away, but I figured I would take out some sort of loan, or maybe go for broke and get in on one of those 0.0% APR, seven-year deals on a new car. I had a lot of time to think on this, and there were plenty of options, but I made an incredibly quick decision to pick up this 2008 Buick LaCrosse CX from a guy who lived up the street, and after a three-minute phone call, she was all mine.

I managed to go against my own wishes and get another ancient land-yacht because the air conditioning and instrument cluster went in my Century at the same time, and I was not too keen on dumping about $1,500 into a car that was only getting older and developing more problems. For the most part, it was a good trade. The LaCrosse rides on the next generation of GM's W-Body, which is one of the best platforms in my personal opinion. The LaCrosse also had access to GM's 3800 Series III V6, which is also revered as one of the best engines GM made. Of course, a working instrument cluster and working AC were an added bonus, but this particular LaCrosse was also optioned with a leather interior and a fabric hardtop. This is most definitely your grandmother's Buick, and I made sure of it by adding a set of Continental TrueContact Tours with a tasteful whitewall.

I believe that the whitewalls really bring out the grandma vibes that this car gives off, of course the column-mounted shifter and front bench seat do a good job of hammering that home too. Just because this 198.1-inch, 3,500-pound barge looks like it should only leave the driveway to go to church and the supermarket, the 3800 does a good job of embarrassing the average tri-state commuter. Sure it only makes 200 horsepower, but it also has 230 lb-ft of torque on tap, which is good for a 0-60 in 8.5 seconds, which is by no means fast, but once it gets into its higher gears this thing turns into a freight train with plenty of passing power. Of course, flooring this thing comes with a pretty hefty drop in fuel economy, but if you're easy on the throttle, you can get 30 miles to the gallon, though I average around 24 with my two lead feet.

The interior is actually pretty nice, although my biggest complaint is the chrome strip that runs the length of the dashboard, because the sun always manages to catch it at the right angle to blind me. Still, it's nice enough to serve its purpose at the moment, and that is to get me to work and back in relative comfort. With SiriusXM and an FM transmitter, I have plenty of audio options, and remote start helps on those cold mornings. Of course, I had to add more of those grandma touches like a fake wood inlay steering wheel cover and matching floor mats. I also got a set of Buick seatbelt cushions off of Wish several years ago, which are nearly pointless, but they look cool enough.

While things got off to a rocky start with COVID putting a stop in the processing of private sales of automobiles effectively preventing me from driving her until the DMV's opened back up, and the battery dying in the parking lot of the DMV after waiting in line for 6 hours to get plates for her, the overall experience has been amazing over the last 11 months and nearly 12,000 miles. The even better part was that I didn't spend anywhere near the $20,000 that I budgeted, which was able to turn into a pretty decent stock portfolio. Would I have liked to be behind the wheel of literally anything else? Of course, but I'm also to have a car with that is still relatively unique in the automotive landscape, and that's what matters the most to me as an enthusiast, is the ability to drive something unique. I can't recommend the W-Body enough, because when it comes to price, performance and amenities, there is no competition.

Can you find a better alternative for $4,000? Comment below and I will politely tell you why you are wrong.

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Comments (38)

  • We didn't get these down in Australia... but we did get the 3800 engine in its first and second iterations. Thankfully we got them in RWD format in our 90s Holden Commodores. You're right, they aren't objectively fast but the way torque is delivered makes them feel like monsters.

      13 days ago
    • The 3.8L prior to the 3800 (aka LN3) worked out pretty good in a RWD car, especially one in particular.

        12 days ago
    • That's got to be one of my favourite cars of all time. Never got them down here though :(

        11 days ago
  • I recently bought a Monte Carlo SS since my Chevy SS is going to be in the shop for a long while. It has the supercharged 3800, which I absolutely adore. I’m getting rid of it along with my SS when it gets out of the shop, and I’m thinking about getting a much nicer one as a replacement for both.

      13 days ago
    • My grandfather had a Dale Earnhardt SS that he loved to death. He got T-boned in it a few years ago, he's fine, but the car was totalled. I love those Monties.

        13 days ago
    • Get a GNX

        5 days ago
  • Okay, hear me out; I’m seeing thirteen inch Dayton’s, some cheap air bags, and a candy apple re-spray. You follow me?!

      12 days ago
  • Is Kyle’s beloved Land Yacht any good after a year if ownership? @tribe

      12 days ago
  • Great old school machine. Just lose the steering wheel cover, that's really alibaba stuff.

      10 days ago