2017 Buick LaCrosse shows off new style in LA

Buick introduced the lower, wider and better-looking 2017 LaCrosse at the Los Angeles Auto Show. It features a new version of the company’s three-color, tri-shield insignia, flanked by chrome wings on a dark waterfall background. It goes on sale early next summer.

The design is the big change for the new year. The LaCrosse goes from a jelly bean-shaped sedan for the geriatric to something a little more modern, with a lot more style, showing off lines that follow those of the new Impala. The LaCrosse also dropped 300 pounds, 150 of that in the body structure, by using high-strength steel and other lightweight materials; 45 pounds came off the chassis, 25 off the seats, 36 off the closures and a whopping 32 pounds was saved by using lightweight acoustic materials.

“It’s a sleeker design that looks confident and purposeful,” said Holt Ware, exterior design director. “Stretching the wheelbase, lowering the roofline and making it slightly wider creates a dramatic effect that is enhanced by the design’s supporting elements such as the swept headlamps.”

Photo: 2017 Buick Lacrosse in LA Photo 2

The wheels have been pulled forward almost 3 inches, though overall vehicle length is only increased by 0.6 inch. The roofline is 1.6 inches lower, adding a sportier look, while the car’s width has grown a tad. Buick said the new design was inspired by the Avenir concept introduced at last year’s Detroit auto show.

A new version of GM’s 3.6-liter V6 will sit underhood, making 305 hp and 268 lb-ft of torque. Power goes to either the front or all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic. In all-wheel-drive versions, the LaCrosse gets a new twin-clutch AWD system that is quieter than other systems, according to Buick, and can split power to the rear wheels depending on the situation. A stop/start system adds a mile per gallon or two, says Buick, but EPA numbers haven’t been released.

A five-link setup holds things down in back while the front gets a MacPherson setup in luxury-oriented trims, or the HiPer Strut, which reduces torque steer and improves grip, in the sportier models. Electronically controlled continuous damping is also optional; it adjusts every two milliseconds, and changes with the different drive modes.

Like the rest of the lineup, the LaCrosse benefits from Buick’s QuietTuning process. It includes active noise cancellation, acoustic wheelhouse liners, an acoustic laminated windshield, triple-sealed doors and improved body sealing. Buick says it uses lightweight dissipative materials to keep weight down.

Elsewhere inside the LaCrosse gets a new “single-cockpit” design with woodgrain and stitched leather all around. An 8-inch driver information display sits in the gauge cluster while another touchscreen dominates the central dash. A head-up display shows the relevant info on the windshield.