By Jason Allan
Totally redesigned for 2017, Buick’s large sedan is now a significantly more appealing alternative to a variety of large sedans ranging from GM’s own Chevrolet Impala to the Toyota Avalon and Lexus ES cousins. Available in either front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD), highlights for the all-new LaCrosse include the sleek new look, tastefully designed and well-appointed cabin, and an impressive list of available infotainment, convenience and safety technologies. And while the new model is also easier to drive and lighter on its feet, it’s just as remarkably quiet, comfortable and roomy as we want a Buick to be.
The 2017 Buick LaCrosse is class-competitive on every level, but its hushed cabin and high tech -- built-in Wi-Fi, wireless phone charging, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto -- are particular strengths.
While the new LaCrosse promises to hold its value better than past models, it isn’t likely to prove as resilient as the Toyota Avalon. If you’re looking for bold style and/or the feel of rear-wheel drive, the Chrysler 300 is tough to beat.
The totally redesigned 2017 Buick LaCrosse is as all-new as it gets.
Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a big Buick sedan. Soft and quiet, right? The 2017 Buick LaCrosse is even quieter, but it’s not as marshmallow soft as you...
... might guess if you haven’t been in a Buick in the past 10 years. Instead of overstuffed seats and flaccid suspension tuning, the LaCrosse delivers Buick-level comfort with a strong body, sophisticated suspension, and sculpted, supportive front seats. In addition to the comfortable highway ride and responsive, confidence-inspiring handling -- thanks in part to a new 5-link rear suspension -- the LaCrosse delivers plenty of power via its new V6 engine and smooth-shifting new 8-speed automatic transmission. The new lineup includes a version with big 20-inch wheels and an active suspension with Touring and Sport modes, but most LaCrosse buyers would do well to stick with the 18-inch wheel setup for superior ride comfort and no practical compromise in driving satisfaction.
APPLE CARPLAY AND ANDROID AUTO
Choose a song, dictate a text message or navigate to a destination with the ease and familiarity of your smartphone.
HEATED/VENTILATED/MASSAGING FRONT SEATS
LaCrosse Premium models feature heated and ventilated front seats with 4-way power lumbar control and mild massage function.
A tidy collection of buttons and knobs, frameless center display, and European-evoking transmission selector are tasteful cues in a clean, modern interior replete with quality materials. Take the badge off the steering wheel and it wouldn’t be hard to convince people they were sitting in a Volvo. While the rear seat and trunk are as overly accommodating as expected, we’d prefer more easy-access storage space up front for phones and such.
Longer, lower and wider than the vehicle it replaces, the 2017 Buick Lacrosse also ushers in a new face for the brand. The familiar waterfall grille has been replaced by a lower-profile aperture in which a 3-color grille and a stylish “wing” element are set against a dark backdrop. Venturing beyond the grille you’ll find a boldly contoured hood, familiar portholes, a characteristic haunch toward the rear, and a totally new rear end to which we warmed up in our first day with the car. HID headlights and LED taillights are standard across the line with the biggest visual differentiator being the 18- and 20-inch wheels.
At its starting sticker price of $32,990, 2017 Buick LaCrosse highlights include keyless entry and push-button start, rearview camera and sensors, auto on/off HID headlights, dual-zone auto climate control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi, OnStar, and leatherette seat trim.
Some of the appealing extras on the new LaCrosse options sheet include heated/ventilated/massaging front seats, wireless phone charging, and a head-up display. Also on offer are a long list of driver-assistance and safety technologies, like blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, automatic park assist, front pedestrian detection, and automatic braking.
The new LaCrosse is powered by a sophisticated new V6 engine with direct injection, cylinder deactivation, and auto stop/start technologies. Combined with a new 8-speed automatic transmission and a 300-pound weight reduction, the 2017 Buick LaCrosse is more responsive and more efficient than its predecessor.
310 horsepower @ 6,800 rpm
282 lb-ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/31 mpg (FWD), 20/29 mpg (AWD)
Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.
The 2017 Buick LaCrosse starts at $32,990 (MSRP, including destination) and tops out around $50,000. The bottom half of that wide range is in line with Toyota Avalon pricing, while the top half puts it in Lexus ES territory. The LaCrosse can be an appealing alternative to either of those vehicles, but shoppers should keep in mind that both the Toyota and the Lexus have a resale-value advantage over the Buick.