Following its complete redesign for 2017, Buick has announced that its flagship 4-door will receive several more significant enhancements for the coming model year. Arriving in showrooms this fall, the 2018 LaCrosse will come standard with a 2.5-liter Ecotec 4-cylinder engine matched with the automaker’s latest eAssist mild-hybrid system. This package will help maintain performance but offer better, although still unspecified, fuel economy as well as a reduced price of entry. While the existing 3.6-liter V6 becomes an option in some trims, it will swap the current 6-speed automatic transmission for GM’s new 9-speed. This gearbox is being rolled out into various products across the corporate lineup and will be found in five different Buick models by mid-2018.

Exercise in efficiency

Smaller but offering greater power than its predecessor, Buick says the more sophisticated eAssist setup in the 2018 LaCrosse boasts a nine-percent bump in overall torque compared to the 110 lb-ft total of the package used on the 2016 model. That extra output provided by the Motor Generator Unit, which replaces the conventional alternator, adds smoothness and spirit to vehicle launches and refines operation of the start/stop function. The MGU is energized by a new air-cooled 0.45-kWh lithium-ion battery pack that tucks away “discreetly” and allows the LaCrosse to retain its fold-down rear seat and ample trunk space. As before, the LaCrosse with eAssist will feature both energy-harvesting regenerative braking and upper/lower active grille shutters in the front fascia that further optimize aerodynamics.

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“Executing innovative technologies in an approachable and meaningful way is core to Buick,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president, Global Buick and GMC. “By adding the eAssist system to the LaCrosse, our technology flagship, we are making electrification accessible to our customers as we chart our course to the future of mobility."

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We expect to learn more details about the 2018 Buick LaCrosse in the months ahead. For now, the automaker has confirmed that three new exterior colors, Satin Steel Metallic, Dark Slate Metallic and Red Quartz Tintcoat, will be offered, as will Intelligent AWD, but only on the Essence trim level. Pricing for the 2018 LaCrosse eAssist will start at $30,490. While there’s no word yet on where the LaCrosse V6 will open, the 2017 model commences at $33,915.

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