2018 Dodge Charger vs. 2018 Buick LaCrosse

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Charger has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The LaCrosse doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Charger offers optional ParkSense which use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The LaCrosse doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

Both the Charger and the LaCrosse have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

There are over 15 percent more Dodge dealers than there are Buick dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Charger’s warranty.

Engine

The Charger has more powerful engines than the LaCrosse:

 

Horsepower

Torque

Charger 3.6 DOHC V6

292 HP

260 lbs.-ft.

Charger 3.6 DOHC V6

300 HP

264 lbs.-ft.

Charger R/T 5.7 V8

370 HP

395 lbs.-ft.

Charger R/T Scat Pack 6.4 V8

485 HP

475 lbs.-ft.

LaCrosse 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid

194 HP

187 lbs.-ft.

LaCrosse 3.6 DOHC V6

310 HP

268 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Motor Trend the Charger R/T Scat Pack 6.4 V8 is faster than the Buick LaCrosse V6:

 

Charger

LaCrosse

Zero to 60 MPH

4.2 sec

6.1 sec

Quarter Mile

12.6 sec

14.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

113.8 MPH

97.9 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

The Charger has 2.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the LaCrosse FWD’s standard fuel tank (18.5 vs. 15.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Charger has 2.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the LaCrosse AWD’s standard fuel tank (18.5 vs. 16.2 gallons).

Transmission

The Charger Rallye, R/T Road and Track, and Scat Pack’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The LaCrosse doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Charger’s brake rotors are larger than those on the LaCrosse:

 

Charger SXT

Charger Daytona

LaCrosse eAssist

LaCrosse V6

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

15.4 inches

11.8 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

12.6 inches

13.8 inches

11.3 inches

11.3 inches

The Charger GT/R/T’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the LaCrosse are solid, not vented.

The Charger stops much shorter than the LaCrosse:

 

Charger

LaCrosse

 

60 to 0 MPH

106 feet

123 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Charger Daytona’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the LaCrosse (275/40R20 vs. 245/40R20).

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Charger’s wheelbase is 5.8 inches longer than on the LaCrosse (120.2 inches vs. 114.4 inches).

The Charger R/T Scat Pack handles at .92 G’s, while the LaCrosse Premium pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Charger R/T Scat Pack executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.5 seconds quicker than the LaCrosse Premium (25.3 seconds @ .8 average G’s vs. 26.8 seconds @ .66 average G’s).

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the Charger is rated a Large car by the EPA, while the LaCrosse is rated a Mid-size.

The Charger has 2.7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the LaCrosse (104.7 vs. 102).

The Charger has .2 inches more front headroom, 1.4 inches more front hip room, 1.8 inches more front shoulder room, 2.1 inches more rear legroom, 1 inch more rear hip room and 1.3 inches more rear shoulder room than the LaCrosse.

Cargo Capacity

The Charger has a much larger trunk than the LaCrosse (16.5 vs. 15 cubic feet).

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the Charger’s trunk lid uses concealed beam hinges that don’t intrude into the trunk. The LaCrosse’s useful trunk space is reduced by its intrusive beam hinge.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the Charger. The LaCrosse doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the Charger is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the LaCrosse. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

The Charger’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge – which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The LaCrosse does not have an oil pressure gauge.

On a hot day the Charger’s driver can lower the front windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the LaCrosse can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

Keyless Enter-N-Go standard on the Charger allows you to unlock the driver’s door, trunk and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Buick LaCrosse’s Keyless Access doesn’t unlock the trunk.

The Charger has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The LaCrosse doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The Charger’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The LaCrosse’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted. The Charger SXT Plus/GT Plus/R/T/Daytona’s optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Charger to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The LaCrosse doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Charger SXT Plus/GT Plus/R/T/Daytona/Scat Pack detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The LaCrosse doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

Both the Charger and the LaCrosse offer available heated front seats. The Charger also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the LaCrosse.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Charger owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Charger with a number “1” insurance rate while the LaCrosse is rated higher at a number “8” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Charger is less expensive to operate than the LaCrosse because it costs $621 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Charger than the LaCrosse, including $173 less for a water pump, $42 less for front brake pads, $215 less for a starter, $213 less for fuel injection, $246 less for a fuel pump, $635 less for front struts, $575 less for a timing belt/chain and $428 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

The Charger is ranked first in its class and received the 2015 “Total Quality Award.” The LaCrosse is not ranked.

The Dodge Charger outsold the Buick LaCrosse by over three to one during the 2016 model year.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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