Buick, at least in the U.S., is a brand that has traditionally skewed a bit older. I’m not sure there’s a recent Buick that makes that vague bit of demographic data come to life more than the 2005-2011 Buick Lucerne, a car that is essentially the very concept of responsible, suburban aging turned into metal.
It’s namesake is a Swiss town that nobody really gives a shit about, but is undoubtedly clean and well-run. That fits the Lucerne very well. The car was decent enough technically, with a choice of a decently powered V6 (at first a smaller 197 horsepower one, then a 227 hp one) or a Northstar V8, making up to 292 hp. That’s fine.
All the specs were exactly what you’d expect of the era: FWD, four-speed auto, full-size, four-door sedan, in the middle of the full-size category, for size and fullness, generally streamlined shape that was decided by the same math and aero research as just about anything else, no risks taken whatsoever.
The build quality was decent, the options and amenities put it in a near-luxury class—hell, this car was Buick’s flagship model from 2006-2011! That has to mean something, right?
You’d think so, wouldn’t you? The truth is, by putting the Lucerne at the top of their range, what Buick managed to create was something like that unfinished pyramid on the back of the dollar bill—a structure with no top.
Sure, the unfinished pyramid gets that mystical, all-seeing eye filling the gap, but the Lucerne just topped the Buick range by being one of the most anonymous, character-free cars ever to blandly plow America’s roads.
The Lucerne, again, wasn’t a piece of shit; it was a quality product that no human bearing a detectable pulse could possibly give a shit about. It was like getting an absolute finest, prize-winning free range, artisinally-raised superchicken, and then cooking it by running it through an atomic-powered deflavorizer for a week.
Buick tried, half-assedly, to give the Lucerne a distinct look with a chromier and chromier grilles and Buick’s trademark speed hole thingies, but these bits of detail and brightwork just served to emphasize how mind-scorchingly boring the rest of the car was.
Even the commercials—at least the ones without Tiger Woods pretending to give a shit—could really only tout the vague idea of ‘quality,’ because what else was there to point to? Other than the speed holes?
Have you ever heard the words “I really want a Buick Lucerne?” Until now, no, I’m about certain you haven’t. In fact, my computer’s grammar checker algorithms just freaked out because it was unable to process the use of the verb “want” with the proper direct object “Buick Lucerne.” It’s simply never been written before.
The Lucerne is like some kind of healthy millet porridge that a doctor may suggest to someone in their late ‘70s as a rational meal. It’s certainly not going to hurt, and it’s probably even pretty good for you, but it’s so joyless and sexless and free of novelty or interest and aggressively benign that eating food you actually want becomes a fair trade for a few extra years of geriatric life.
That’s the Lucerne. Nobody ever wanted one. Nobody cares about it. Someday, they will all be gone, and we will have forgotten to even notice.
Man, what a boring-ass car.