Car Comparison

2006-2011 Buick Lucerne vs. 2005-2012 Toyota Avalon: Which Is Better?

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2011 Buick Lucerne CXL
Used 2011 Buick Lucerne
$9,734
RELATED READING
See all Buick Lucerne articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Doug DeMuro September 2016

If you're looking for a reliable, comfortable, roomy full-size sedan, we suspect the 2006-2011 Buick Lucerne and the 2005-2012 Toyota Avalon are on your shopping list. If not, they should be, as both tout excellent dependability, smooth rides and roomy interiors complete with large trunks.

Which one is better, though, and which one should you buy? To help you find out, we've created a close comparison of both models. First, we'll go through the basics of the Avalon and the Lucerne, so you can better understand the two sedans.

2011 Buick Lucerne

2006-2011 Buick Lucerne

The Lucerne replaced the long-running LeSabre for the 2006 model year. Like the LeSabre, the Lucerne was a front-wheel-drive, full-size sedan with a standard V6 engine and seating for up to six, but the Lucerne offered a far more modern design than the LeSabre it replaced. Also, unlike the LeSabre, the Lucerne offered a V8 engine borrowed from Cadillac. The Lucerne lasted until the 2011 model year, when it was supplanted by the second-generation LaCrosse, which straddled the gap between a midsize and a full-size sedan.

2012 Toyota Avalon

2005-2012 Toyota Avalon

The third-generation Toyota Avalon made its debut for the 2005 model year. Like previous Avalon models, the 2005-2012 version was offered only with V6 power and front-wheel drive, though it touted a roomier interior and more cargo space than before. It also offered a more comfortable ride than previous Avalon models and, in top-end trip levels, truly luxurious appointments befitting Toyota's upscale Lexus brand. The sole drawback? With the release of the 2005 Avalon, the full-size sedan was without a front bench seat option for the first time, since its original debut in 1995.

2011 Buick Lucerne2012 Toyota Avalon

Reliability

If reliability is important to you, both the Toyota Avalon and the Buick Lucerne are among the most dependable full-size sedans on the used market. In fact, both models earned excellent scores from reliability experts at J.D. Power, with the Buick earning a best-in-class score, compared to the Avalon's strong above-average rating.

Although this may suggest the Buick will offer better reliability than the Toyota, we think reliability for these vehicles depends more on the specific vehicle you choose rather than the model's overall rating. In either case, shoppers will likely be happy with the reliability offered by either the Lucerne or the Avalon.

2011 Buick Lucerne2012 Toyota Avalon

Fuel Economy

All 2005-2012 Avalon models offered one engine, a 270-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy was 19 miles per gallon in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

The Lucerne offered a few engine choices. Choose a 2006-2008 model with a V6, and you'll receive a 197-hp 3.8-liter unit, which was mated to a mediocre 4-speed automatic for 19 mpg city/28 mpg hwy. These are strong numbers, but they have a 75-hp disadvantage when compared to the Avalon. From 2009 to 2011, V6 models used a more potent 227-hp 3.9-liter V6, though it retained the dull 4-speed automatic, and returned 17 mpg city/26 mpg hwy.

Drivers looking for more power could step up to the Lucerne Super, which boasted a muscular 292-hp 4.6-liter V8. However, since it also used a 4-speed automatic, gas mileage was limited to just 15 mpg city/22 mpg hwy.

The result? Choose a 2006-2008 Lucerne V6, and you'll equal the Avalon's gas mileage numbers, but you'll do so with a huge horsepower deficit. For drivers who want both fuel economy and performance, we recommend the Avalon over the Lucerne.

2011 Buick Lucerne2012 Toyota Avalon

Safety

In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash testing, the Lucerne earned a mere 3-star overall rating, including a dismal two stars in the firm's side-impact crash test and an average three stars in the frontal crash test.

Although the Avalon was never rated under the NHTSA's newest system, released in 2010, the sedan earned excellent scores in the previous rating system, including perfect 5-star scores in frontal and side-impact crash testing.

As for safety features, the Avalon and the Lucerne were about even. Both sedans touted side-curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes, stability control and traction control. Advantages were slim. The Lucerne offered a blind spot monitor and a lane-departure warning system beginning in 2009, while the Avalon's biggest benefit over the Lucerne was an available backup camera, offered only in 2011 and 2012 models, with a small display screen in the rearview mirror.

Our verdict? In terms of safety features, neither the Lucerne nor the Avalon offer any real benefits over the other. But, when it comes to crashworthiness, the Toyota's ratings dramatically outshine the Buick's, and for us, that gives it the win in this category.

2011 Buick Lucerne2012 Toyota Avalon

Technology

Although we only recently began associating modern technology with the Buick brand name, the Lucerne offers an impressive litany of high-tech features and options, exceeding even the Avalon's gadgets.

We've already covered the Lucerne's available blind spot monitor and lane-departure warning system, but the Buick's tech advantages went well beyond those features. Other benefits over the Avalon included an available heated steering wheel, impressive adaptive magnetic ride control suspension, rear parking sensors and a remote starter, none of which were offered by the Toyota.

While the Avalon touted a few unique features, including a power rear sunshade, gadget lovers will likely find a well-equipped Lucerne offers an advantage over a top-end Avalon.

2011 Buick Lucerne2012 Toyota Avalon

Value

There are currently just under 2,000 different 2006-2011 Lucerne models listed nationwide on Autotrader, with an average asking price of just over $10,000. Meanwhile, there are currently around 1,600 different Avalon models from the same time period listed on Autotrader, with an average asking price of just under $13,000.

Although the Avalon offers better safety scores and a more modern powertrain, it's hard for those items to make up a $3,000 value difference, and so, to us, the Lucerne offers the better value.

Autotrader's Advice

Despite on-paper similarities, the Avalon and Lucerne offer some big differences. The biggest is the overall approach undertaken by each automaker. While the Lucerne is an old-school, full-size sedan with an available front bench seat, a 4-speed automatic transmission and an optional V8 engine, the Avalon is more modern in just about every way, except for available technology. The result is the Avalon offers better resale value, better performance and stronger crash-test scores but not as much interior room or ride comfort. The one you'll prefer depends on your personality, but we'd find it hard to choose the Toyota, given the Buick's similar dependability and huge price advantage.

Find a Buick Lucerne for sale

Find a Toyota Avalon for sale

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2011 Buick Lucerne CXL
Used 2011 Buick Lucerne
$9,734
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2006-2011 Buick Lucerne vs. 2005-2012 Toyota Avalon: Which Is Better? - Autotrader