2019 Buick LaCrosse vs. 2019 Audi A4

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the LaCrosse are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The A4 doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

Both the LaCrosse and the A4 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, front parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Buick LaCrosse is safer than the Audi A4:

 

LaCrosse

A4

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

21.2%

26%

Neck Stress

212 lbs.

232 lbs.

Neck Compression

21 lbs.

55 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

169/229 lbs.

431/395 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Compression

-.8 inches

1 inches

Neck Compression

44 lbs.

47 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Buick LaCrosse is safer than the Audi A4:

 

LaCrosse

A4

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

203

333

Spine Acceleration

30 G’s

47 G’s

Hip Force

653 lbs.

666 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

Buick’s powertrain warranty covers the LaCrosse 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Audi covers the A4. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the A4 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are almost 7 times as many Buick dealers as there are Audi dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the LaCrosse’s warranty.

Reliability

The LaCrosse has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The A4 doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the car’s engine.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Buick vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick 16th in initial quality. With 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 25th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Buick vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick third in reliability, above the industry average. With 25 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 13th.

Engine

The LaCrosse’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 6 more horsepower (194 vs. 188) than the A4 40 TFSI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The LaCrosse’s optional 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 62 more horsepower (310 vs. 248) than the A4 45 TFSI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Buick LaCrosse V6 is faster than the A4 40 TFSI:

 

LaCrosse

A4

Zero to 60 MPH

6.1 sec

7 sec

Quarter Mile

14.6 sec

15.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

97.9 MPH

91 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the LaCrosse V6’s fuel efficiency. The A4 doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

Regenerative brakes improve the LaCrosse eAssist’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The A4 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Buick LaCrosse uses regular unleaded gasoline. The A4 requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The LaCrosse AWD’s standard fuel tank has almost a gallon more fuel capacity than the A4 (16.2 vs. 15.3 gallons).

The LaCrosse has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The A4 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Buick LaCrosse higher (5 out of 10) than the Audi A4 (3 to 5). This means the LaCrosse produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the A4 every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Buick LaCrosse V6, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the A4.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the LaCrosse has larger standard tires than the A4 (235/50R18 vs. 225/50R17).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the LaCrosse has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the A4. The LaCrosse Essence/Premium/Avenir’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels optional on the A4.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the LaCrosse’s wheelbase is 4.4 inches longer than on the A4 (114.4 inches vs. 110 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the LaCrosse is 1 inch wider in the front and 1.9 inches wider in the rear than on the A4.

The LaCrosse Premium executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the A4 Premium (26.8 seconds @ .66 average G’s vs. 27.2 seconds @ .64 average G’s).

Chassis

The front grille of the LaCrosse uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The A4 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The LaCrosse uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The A4 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the LaCrosse Premium is quieter than the A4 Prestige Quattro (39 vs. 42 dB).

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the LaCrosse a Mid-size car, while the A4 is rated a Compact.

The LaCrosse has 10 cubic feet more passenger volume than the A4 (102 vs. 92).

The LaCrosse has .7 inches more front legroom, 1.8 inches more front shoulder room, 2.3 inches more rear legroom and 2.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the A4.

Cargo Capacity

The LaCrosse has a much larger trunk than the A4 (15 vs. 13 cubic feet).

Towing

The LaCrosse has a 1000 lbs. towing capacity. The A4 has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

The LaCrosse has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The A4 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The LaCrosse Sport Touring/Essence/Premium/Avenir’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The A4 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The A4’s cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The LaCrosse Sport Touring/Essence/Premium/Avenir’s standard adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.

A power rear sunshade is optional in the LaCrosse to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The A4 doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

When the LaCrosse Sport Touring/Essence/Premium/Avenir is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The A4’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The LaCrosse Premium/Avenir has a 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The A4 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

The LaCrosse Premium/Avenir’s optional Automatic Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The A4 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the LaCrosse owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the LaCrosse will cost $580 less than the A4 over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the LaCrosse is less expensive to operate than the A4 because typical repairs cost much less on the LaCrosse than the A4, including $273 less for a water pump, $601 less for a muffler, $377 less for a starter, $159 less for fuel injection, $106 less for a fuel pump and $47 less for front struts.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Buick LaCrosse will be $4155 to $5071 less than for the Audi A4.

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

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