2018 Buick LaCrosse gets eAssist mild-hybrid powertrain

When the 2017 Buick LaCrosse made its debut at the 2015 Los Angeles auto show, the eAssist mild-hybrid powertrain offered in the previous-generation model was noticeably absent.

Buick has rectified the issue for the 2018 model year by announcing that its 2018 LaCrosse will come standard with a mild-hybrid powertrain. Above this remains a 3.6-liter V-6 option.

Once again, the mild-hybrid powertrain on the LaCrosse consists of a small electric motor-generator that replaces the standard starter motor of the internal combustion engine, in this case a 2.5-liter inline-4. (The previous LaCrosse used a 2.4-liter mill for its mild-hybrid powertrain.)

The electric motor is powered by a 0.45-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery. This setup isn’t powerful enough to drive the car on its own.

Instead, it aids the engine under high-load situations and recovers energy under braking. It also provides smoother engine starts than a conventional starter motor, making the fuel-saving engine stop-start feature much more refined.

Also helping to save fuel are active aero shutters in the front bumper designed to close under certain driving conditions to help enhance aerodynamics.

Buick hasn’t released gas mileage numbers but says the 2018 LaCrosse with a mild-hybrid powertrain should be 19 percent more efficient in city driving compared to the V-6 option.

The 2018 Buick LaCrosse will be on sale this fall priced from $30,490.

Note, Buick also sells a LaCrosse Hybrid in China. This model pairs a 1.8-liter inline-4 with a more powerful electric motor and bigger battery. Right now it’s strictly a China-only proposition.

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