2017 Buick Lacrosse – Review

The LaCrosse is Buick’s largest sedan. Sized between mid-size and full-size and positioned between mainstream and luxury, it competes against such cars as the Lexus ES, Toyota Avalon, Acura TLX, Nissan Maxima, Hyundai Azera, and Kia Cadenza.

For 2017, the LaCrosse is completely redesigned, now residing on an all-new platform for large, front-wheel drive cars. Previously, the LaCrosse had shared its underpinnings with the Chevrolet Impala.

The revamped design was inspired by the Avenir Concept car that made its debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. It is most distinguished by a blackened and setback version of theBuick waterfall grille that is bisected by a chrome bar with a three-color version of the Buick logo. The grille surround is also chrome. Buick says this grille represents the new face of the brand.

As for the rest of the styling, the high point of the cabin has been pushed back and lowered 1.6 inches. Thecar is also longer, lower and wider, giving it the sleeker shape of a rear-drive sedan. However, the short gap between the front wheels and doors still indicates this is a front-drive platform. The signature sweepspear body side element has been reimagined, now flowing lower to bisect the front door handles, and adding a second character line below the rise at the rear. Other details include LED daytime running lights and LED taillights.

The new car is just 0.6 inch longer and 0.4 inch wider, but the wheelbase is 2.7 inches longer and the track grows by 1.3 inches up front and 1.1 inches in the rear. Despite the larger dimensions, the 2017 LaCrosse is 300 pounds lighter than the last model thanks to greater use of press-hardened high-strength steels in the platform. Lower-mass sound deadening materials also contribute to the weight loss. Buick says these materials are more effective and that they team with acoustic wheelhouse liners, standard active noise cancellation, triple door seals, and an acoustic-laminated windshield and front side windows to create a new threshold for Buick QuietTuning.

The lighter weight and stiffer structure should also improve handling. In base trim, the car comes with a MacPherson strut front suspension and 18-inch wheels. Upper trims get GM’s HiPer strut front suspension and 20-inch wheels. The advantages of HiPer strut are reduced torque steer and increased negative camber during cornering, which maximizes grip. Adjustable dampers with Touring and Sport modes will also be offered. All models come with a five-link independent rear suspension instead of the current car’s four-link setup.

Under the hood, the get LaCrosse gets the next generation of GM’s 3.6-liter V-6. It is estimated to produce 305 horsepower and 268 pound-feet of torque (both up just slightly from 2016), and it is paired with a new eight-speed automatic transmission in place of a six-speed automatic. A new start/stop feature helps the car save fuel while idling. The eAssist mild-hybrid 2.4-liter four-cylinder does not return. Fuel economy numbers are not yet available.

For the first time, the LaCrosse adds an available all-wheel-drive system. Shared with the new Cadillac XT5 crossover, this system can apportion power front to rear and side to side, though it won’t overdrive the outside rear wheel for a torque vectoring effect.

Inside, the LaCrosse gets a completely new interior design. The lines of the sweeping, horizontal design theme flow from the dash into the doors. A large, “floating” center console allows room for storage underneath. Quality materials such as real aluminum and wood dominate the cabin, and a new frameless eight-inch touchscreen for Buick’s IntelliLink infotainment system sits front and center. The IntelliLink system has fewer buttons this year, and it offers Apple Car Play and Android Auto smartphone integration, along with 4GLTE connectivity through OnStar.

Buick hasn’t released details of the model lineup, pricing, or equipment information, but we do know some of the available features. These include eight-way power-adjustable heated and cooled front seats, perforated leather upholstery, a driver’s seat lumbar massaging feature, a heated and power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, a power rear sunshade, a premium Bose audio system, wireless phone charging, a head up display, and a configurable driver information center in the instrument panel.

The 2017 LaCrosse will also be offered with numerous high-tech safety features, including Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Front Pedestrian Braking, automatic parking, adaptive cruise control, forward collision alert with collision mitigation braking, front and rear parking sensors, and GM’s Safety Alert seat that vibrates to tell you the direction of the possible danger. The LaCrosse will also offer 10 airbags, including front knee airbags.

The 2017 Buick LaCrosse is set to go on sale next summer. It will be built at GM’s Hamtramck plant in Michigan.