Buick is back, and this IS a Buick. After years of marketing folks telling us what was not one of its models, Buick is alive and well in the large sedan – and sporting its new corporate face – in the form of the 2017 Buick LaCrosse.
The all-new LaCrosse is longer, lower, and wider than the model it replaces yet it is some 300 pounds lighter (thanks largely to press-hardened and high strength steels) and offers more power from a new V-6 under its hood that is mated to new eight-speed automatic transmission with several fuel-saving initiatives. Best of all, this car rides and drives like a Buick, and it accomplishes that all the while being quieter and more comfortable to boot.
The new LaCrosse starts out up front with a new grille design with a large opening set off with the Buick tri-color insignia accented by wing-shaped elements against darkened waterfall grille bars. The front wheels have been pulled forward a bit and the wheelbase is stretched 2.7 inches over the previous car. The wheels have all been pushed outward – 1.3 inches up front and 1.1 inches in the rear – and the roofline has been lowered 1.6 inches giving the car a sleeker look. The Buick’s signature sweepspear body-side design element has been reinterpreted in a more modern fashion for 2017 that enhances the car’s sculpture.
Inside is near luxury both in proportions and craftsmanship. I have not been able to really enjoy accommodation such as this inside a sedan in quite some time. The car will fit five adults in full comfort with amenities including heated and ventilated seats up front (with quicker warm-up on cold mornings) along with – wait for it – massage function. Yes, massage function. I got a massage driving home from work every day and there were times I stayed just a little longer inside the car even after reaching my destination. The new LaCrosse also features a power rear sunshade, heated steering wheel with power tilt/telescopic column, perforated leather seats, premium Bose audio system, wider-opening rear doors, and a trunk that can fit up to four golf bags.
The 2017 LaCrosse also highlights some new technologies including electronic precision shift via new center console shifter, configurable, high-definition driver information center, head-up display, available teen driver technology with built-in safety features and driving report card for parents, and wireless device charging. This is on top of technologies already offered such as adaptive full speed range cruise control, automatic parking assist, front automatic braking, front pedestrian detection, forward collision alert, rear cross traffic alert, lane change alert with side blind zone alert, rear vision camera, and 10 airbags.
Buick utilizes its QuietTuning process in the new LaCrosse to include new five-link rear suspension for improved isolation from road noise, active noise cancellation, acoustic wheelhouse liners, acoustic-laminated windshield and front side windows, triple-sealed doors, improved body noise-path sealing, and windshield wipers that park below the hood line to reduce wind noise.
Let’s talk about what is under the hood of the new LaCrosse. Buick has developed a new second-generation 3.6-liter V-6 engine with direct injection and dual overhead cams. It features active fuel management (cylinder deactivation) along with stop/start technology to deliver fuel economy of 21 mpg city and 31 mpg highway – all the while producing 305 hp and 268 lb. ft. of torque. The new eight-speed automatic gearbox offers near seamless gear shifting and the auto stop/start function on this vehicle is the smoothest application of this technology we have tested to date.
Driving the 2017 Buick LaCrosse has you feeling like you are behind the wheel of a large luxury sedan. The road is isolated just enough to provide that sort of floating sensation when rolling down the road but as soon as the course bends, LaCrosse’s continuous damping control kicks in and provides damping at each corner to tackle the twists and turns. And drivers can select from Touring and Sport modes should they wish to take more control themselves.
Pricing for the 2017 Buick LaCrosse begins at $32,990 – quite the bargain considered how well this big sedan competes against luxury models on the market today. Our Premium tester arrived with a final sticker of $48,495 fully loaded. We tested a front-wheel drive LaCrosse and Buick has plans to release an AWD model as well.
Buick is back in a bigger way with the 2017 LaCrosse sedan. It may feature the new face of the automaker – along with a host of new technologies – but this is the Buick so many had come to love and respect in the past and will undoubtedly continue to do so in the future.