2017 Buick LaCrosse Unveiled
The 2017 Buick LaCrosse unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show showcases a combination of refined style, a dramatically upscale interior, and a host of new technologies that blur the line between "premium" and "luxury." This third-generation full-size sedan is lighter than its predecessor by 300 pounds -- basically a refrigerator -- offers a new V6 engine connected to a new 8-speed automatic transmission, available all-wheel drive, and new driver assist technologies like active lane keeping. Buick also promises a quieter, more dynamic, and more luxurious experience thanks not just to the pretty styling and interior, but to things like interior sound levels AND quality.
The exterior styling stands out, but without engaging in over-the-top drama. Instead, its proportions are spot on, it uses surface detailing effectively, and it emphasizes width instead of height. The combination makes it one of the best looking Buick sedans in years. The new grille treatment is smaller than the old LaCrosse grille, and adds a crossbar high atop the traditional "waterfall" motif. It's the centerpiece to a surprisingly nuanced design. For example, the accent lines sweeping across the hood from the grille subtly imply Aston Martin without outright copying that British marque's design. The surface details on the car's sides, such as the crease on the rear quarter above the rear door handles, catch your eye without assaulting your aesthetic sensibilities.
Casually Elegant Interior
The interior design is equally elegant. The seat upholstery, for example, appears to drape over the seats, giving the interior an air of casual elegance. Soft touch surfaces are everywhere, and buyers have a choice of four color combinations, including a dark reddish-brown that was particularly eye-catching. The new touch-screen infotainment display uses a much faster processor, with responsiveness that's nearly as good as a smartphone. This is important because the touchscreen is responsible for more functions in this generation LaCrosse than before. Other cool touches include new "Moon White" interior lighting, an available head-up display, and a new electronic gear selector that one-ups BMW's similar looking system and makes a center console pass-through possible.
Only one engine will be available when the 2017 Buick LaCrosse debuts: a new 3.6-liter V6 with 305 horsepower, connected to a similarly new 8-speed automatic transmission driving the front wheels. All-wheel drive returns as well, with a new twin-clutch system that helps fuel economy, and splits torque between the rear wheels. Start-stop will also be standard on the new LaCrosse, and Buick notes that the car has been designed with the system in mind from the outset. The system's operation is virtually unnoticeable and results in a 6.6 percent gain in fuel economy. The electrically assisted power steering not only allows lane-keeping assist, it also includes something called Lead-Pull Compensation, which keeps the LaCrosse cruising straight on roads with a prominent crown or truck ruts. On the road, Buick's Quiet Tuning helps keep the outside from intruding, from the five-link rear suspension, to the triple sealed doors, even to things like the way the windshield wipers go through their cycle.
The 2017 Buick LaCrosse will go on sale next summer. Prices, fuel economy numbers, and more information will be released closer to the on-sale date.