Buick announced today that it would price the four-cylinder version of its 2012 Lacrosse large sedan at $29,960.

That sneaks the advertised price neatly under the $30,000 mark, although a mandatory $860 destination charge means buyers will see a sticker of at least $30,820 before they start adding tax, options, and the like.

Buick notes that the $29,960 base price is $4,685 cheaper than than this year's Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, and $5,640 less than the 2011 Lexus HS 250h hybrid. Both cars are somewhat smaller than the Buick.

FIRST DRIVE: 2012 Buick Lacrosse 37-MPG eAssist Prototype

The 2012 Lacrosse comes standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and Buick's eAssist mild-hybrid system. That doesn't allow the big Buick to run in all-electric mode, but restarts the engine from rest and supplements engine torque with electric power, meaning the Lacrosse with eAssist can stay in higher gears longer, saving fuel.

The projected EPA gas mileage ratings for the 2.4-liter 2012 Lacrosse are 25 mpg city, 37 mpg highway. Those numbers are boosts in fuel efficiency of about 30 and 25 percent, respectively, over the 2011 four-cylinder model, which is rated at 19 mpg city, 30 mpg highway.

2012 Buick Lacrosse with eAssist, front fascia with aero shutter

2012 Buick Lacrosse with eAssist, front fascia with aero shutter

The eAssist "light electrification" system (Buick is scrupulously avoiding use of the H-word) will be available as an option on the 2012 Buick Regal later this year.

The other engine option is a 303-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6. Both engines are paired with the GM corporate six-speed automatic transmission. An all-wheel-drive version of the Lacrosse is also available with the V-6 only.

For 2012, Buick has added several new standard features to the base Lacrosse. Those include dual-zone climate control, a color driver information screen, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, and 17-inch alloy wheels.

The base price of $29,960 for 2012 is 10 percent higher than the base price of $27,130 for the outgoing 2011 Lacrosse with the 2.4-liter engine.

The 2012 Buick Lacrosse will arrive at dealerships within several weeks.



Follow GreenCarReports on Facebook and Twitter.