2005 Buick Allure CXS
2005 Buick Allure CXS. Click image to enlarge

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First Drive: 2005 Buick Allure
Test Drive: 2005 Buick Allure CXS

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Review by Chris Chase; photos by Grant Yoxon

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For most of us, lacrosse is a fast-moving, sometimes vicious, team sport played by flinging a white ball from a basket on the end of a stick. In French Canada, however, the word is a less-than-savoury slang term. It’s for that reason that Buick’s 2005 replacement for the Regal and Century was called the Allure in Canada, instead of Lacrosse, as it was known in the U.S.

Initially, the Allure was offered with two engine choices. The lower-spec CX and CXL models got GM’s well-known 3.8-litre V6 (200 hp), while the top-end CXS used the newer 3.6-litre “high feature” V6 (240 hp).

In 2008, the 3.6-litre engine was dropped, while a 5.3-litre V8 (300 hp) was added and used in the new range-topping Super model. The Allure was also facelifted for 2008, the most noticeable change being a more distinctive grille.

2005 Buick Allure CXS
2005 Buick Allure CXS. Click image to enlarge

All Allures used a four-speed automatic, though the Super model got a heavier-duty version to deal with the V8’s added power.

Fuel consumption ratings in early models were 11.9/7.3 L/100 km (city/highway) with the 3.8-litre engine, and 12.4/8.0 with the 3.6-litre. In 2007, the 3.8 was rated at 12.2/7.4, while the 3.6’s numbers were 12.4/8.0L/100 km. The Super’s V8 is surprisingly efficient, with ratings in 2008 of 12.9/8.1 L/100 km.

The Allure used the Series III version of GM’s mechanically-bulletproof 3.8-litre V6; while older examples of this engine have been susceptible to the intake manifold gasket issues that plague other GM V6’s, the use of a new, aluminum intake manifold (replacing the old plastic design) is said to reduce the likelihood of gasket issues down the road. Consumer Reports notes cooling system issues in 2005 model year Allures, however, so I think time will tell if the redesigned manifold will do the trick.

Otherwise, look out for brake issues caused by the use of cheap OEM parts. Upgrading to higher-quality components is the simple solution here.

A clunking sound from the steering is most likely a bad intermediate shaft. A Technical Service Bulletin was issued for this part in the U.S., but it does not appear to be a safety issue, as no recall was issued here.

Interior squeaks and rattles are a common complaint, too.

2005 Buick Allure CXS
2005 Buick Allure CXS
2005 Buick Allure CXS. Click image to enlarge

Consumer Reports gives the Allure an average used vehicle rating for 2005 and 2006 models, and above average for 2007 and newer versions. Otherwise, CR notes no mechanical problems with the Allure’s (mostly) robust powertrains.

In crash tests, the Allure earned five stars each for driver and front passenger protection from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and three stars for side impact protection for both front and rear seat occupants. Interestingly, early 2007 models earned just one star for front seat occupant protection in side impacts. A redesign upgraded these ratings to three stars for front seat protection and four for the rear seat; these ratings apply to all subsequent model years.

From the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Allure earned a “good” rating in the organization’s frontal offset crash test, which speaks well for the car, as this is more rigorous than the NHTSA’s full-on frontal test. Again, however, side impact results were less reassuring, as the Allure earned only a “marginal” rating, due to a high risk of life-threatening injuries to the driver; the result is the same, with or without the Allure’s front-seat side airbags (these were optional in 2005, but were made standard in 2006).

In early cars, traction control was standard only in the CXS model, with stability control being an option on that version. Traction control became standard in 2009, but stability control remained optional.

2005 Buick Allure CXS
2005 Buick Allure CXS. Click image to enlarge

According to Canadian Black Book, used Allure values range from $9,375 for a 2005 CX model, to $30,200 for a 2009 Super. I like the modern 3.6-litre engine (for its lack of blatant design flaws, at least thus far), so a 2007 CXS model sounds like a decent deal for just under $20,000. That sounds high for a domestic, but this particular model sold for about $34,500 new; I’d negotiate for something even lower, too, if I were you.

The Allure is a comfortable car that would be great for long drives, and is, on the whole, one of General Motors’ better sedans (kudos to the folks in Oshawa who build it). Given its lack of mechanical problems thus far, I’d have little problem recommending one, with a couple of conditions: if you look at a car with the 3.8-litre engine, have it checked thoroughly by a mechanic to evidence of the aforementioned leaky gasket problem, look for a car with complete service records and bargain with the seller for a nice, low price so you don’t end up paying the cost of the Allure’s steep depreciation.


Black Book Pricing (avg. retail) August 2009:

Price today
Price new
Allure Super
Allure CXS
Allure CXS
Allure CXS
Allure CXS

Online resources
  • As you might expect for a brand that’s not exactly aimed at young, web-savvy drivers, Buick-centric websites are tough to find. The Allure/Lacrosse discussion section at BuickForums.com has just 110 topics total, while the Allure/Lacrosse area at BuickForum.com (note the lack of plural in the URL) has just 10 topics. You might also try W-Body.com, a site dedicated to GM vehicles built on the W-Body platform that the Allure shares.

  • Transport Canada Recall Number: 2007274; Units affected: 32,056

    2006: Certain vehicles equipped with remote start capability fail to comply with the requirements of CMVSS 208 – Occupant Restraint Systems. The safety belt reminder light for the driver’s seating position does not illuminate after the ignition key is inserted and turned to the ‘run’ position following a remote start. As well, the audible chime for the driver’s seating position will not sound if the driver and a front seat passenger enter the vehicle following a remote start, the passenger buckles his/her seatbelt within 25 to 33 seconds after the remote start, and the ignition key is then turned to the ‘run’ position. Note: This non-compliance condition has no affect on vehicle safety. Correction: Dealers will recalibrate the Sensing Diagnostic Module (SDM) to activate an enhanced seatbelt reminder feature, which repeats the chime and telltale cycles up to two times if the seatbelt is not buckled and if the vehicles speed is over eight km/h. This enhanced feature is already activated on 2007 vehicles.

    Transport Canada Recall Number: 2007070; Units affected: 286

    2007: In order to meet government NCAP crash testing standards, changes to the side impact protection system were recently introduced into production. These changes could cause the wiring harness that sends the signal to inflate the side impact airbag to become damaged. Under certain crash conditions, the side impact airbag may not deploy. Correction: Dealers will install a revised wiring harness that provides a more protected path for the wires.

    Transport Canada Recall Number: 200628; Units affected: 145

    2007: On certain vehicles, the fuel tank is missing an adhesive layer that bonds the barrier layer to the outer shell of the tank. With this condition, fuel and/or fuel vapours could seep out between the layers. A fuel leak in the presence of an ignition source may result in a fire. Correction: Dealers will inspect and, if required, replace the fuel tank.

    Transport Canada Recall Number: 2005111; Units affected: 7,442

    2005: On certain vehicles, the clip that secures the brake pushrod to the brake pedal arm pin could have been bent during assembly. A bent clip may come off, allowing the brake booster pushrod to separate from the brake pedal. If this happens, pushing on the pedal will not apply the brakes and a vehicle crash could occur without prior warning. Correction: Dealers will install a new brake pedal pushrod bushing and retaining clip and, if the clip was missing, a new brake pedal arm assembly.

    Crash test results
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
  • Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)

    Used vehicle prices vary depending on factors such as general condition, odometer reading, usage history and options fitted. Always have a used vehicle checked by an experienced auto technician before you buy.

    For information on recalls, see Transport Canada’s web-site, www.tc.gc.ca, or the U.S. National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTSA)web-site, www.nhtsa.dot.gov.

    For information on vehicle service bulletins issued by the manufacturer, visit www.nhtsa.dot.gov.

    For information on consumer complaints about specific models, see www.lemonaidcars.com.

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