Back in 2015 when Buick introduced the Avenir concept lots of people got really excited about it. The idea of a flagship sedan from Buick in the luxury market seemed like a good one but in the back of our minds, we always knew there’s a significant possibility the Avenir would remain just a concept. Well, putting an end to our doubts once and for all was Buick with the announcement of the new-gen LaCrosse. Still, the LaCrosse features some styling cues inspired by the Avenir and is said to be the face of Buick for the entire range by 2018. If you’re not too fond of the design you better get used to it, every vehicle in the Buick range will have it in one way or another. It’s not a bad design, however, and we could hear from many people that they approve it.
The first and the most striking feature is the prominent grille stolen from the Avenir. It’s a much more elegant and sportier version of Buick’s current waterfall grille. It’s a complete makeover for the car’s appearance on closer inspection, although you can tell it’s not the same grille like the one on the Avenir but rather just similar. The logo has been changed a bit, and the tri-shield isn’t monochrome anymore. Rather, it’s colored in red, silver and blue similar to logs used in the 1960s.
The sedan version has a more sculpted hood and new headlights which are again, almost identical to the Avenir concept we saw. In fact, they’re thinner and more elongated giving the LaCrosse an even more aggressive appearance than the concept we first saw then on. The bumper has been revised with a new slimmer air intake improving air delivery and cooling.
A big change, perhaps the greatest, can be found in the rear where we find a completely redesigned back fascia. There’s a longer rear deck, and the entire rear section is now free from the thick glittery chrome used in the previous model with just made it look gimmicky. It’s now elegant and stylish thanks to the simple design. What has remained of the chrome has been incorporated nicely around the taillights.
The wheelbase of the LaCrosse is now longer by a noticeable 2.7 inches. Most of that has transitioned into more-forward located front wheels making the car appear longer and more aerodynamic. The fact that the roofline is 1.6 inches lower than the previous model no doubt contributes to that also. The headlights are HID, but the daytime lights, as well as taillights, feature LED technology. The standard wheels are 18-inch alloys although there are optional 20-inch wheels for anyone who’s ready to pay a bit more.
2017 Buick LaCrosse Interior
Getting inside the 2017 Buick LaCrosse again we find details from the Avenir. The dashboard still wraps around, but it’s now much more stylish. It employs horizontal as well as curvy lines to achieve a sleek and flowing design look. There’s a big piece of wood on the dash right in the front which is beautifully incorporated with the chrome trim. Perhaps the most amazing and dominant feature is the floating center console which is entirely covered with wood in combination with high-quality leather. It’s a big center console sloping up towards the dash forming a small waterfall effect.
Materials have been greatly improved upon since the last generation. Every surface is soft to the touch since it’s now sporting high-quality materials upgrading in all segments. As far as colors inside this mid-size luxury sedan go, the LaCrosse offers three: Jet Black, Dark Atmosphere and Shale, and Jet Black and Brandy. Everything has been upgraded with comfort and luxury in mind. So, for instance, there’s now better ambient lighting and a premium audio system courtesy of Bose.
The front seats are eight-way adjustable not to mention heated and ventilated. They’re attached to a smart massage feature too. They offer great support and are extremely comfortable and relaxing even for long-distance journeys. Roominess throughout the cabin is at an all-time high and in all segments, you can notice improvements. Legroom and headroom in the rear are massively better and so is the access to the rear seats thanks to wider-opening doors. Cargo space is seven percent bigger and will easily accommodate four golf bags or your vacation luggage.
The Infotainment system is a match for the best in the segment thanks to Buick’s IntelliLink. It’s controlled via the high-quality eight-inch touchscreen. Smartphone integration is standard for both Android and iOS and the relatively large screen will show all features you might need during driving. You are also getting a selection of apps from the big display you can control or call most of them with voice commands from buttons on the steering wheel.
The only engine choice is a 3.6 liter V6 as the 2.4-liter four-cylinder is no longer available. Still, when you have a V6 developing 305 hp and 268 lb-ft of torque you won’t exactly complain will you. It’s actually a new unit that we could see in the Cadillac XT5. Power may not have gone up substantially compared to the previous model, but it’s the way this new unit delivers that power that’s amazing.
Couple that, with 300 pounds lighter chassis and you have a recipe for a seriously fast sedan. There are no official figures on performance numbers or fuel economy just yet, but we expect both to be a significant improvement. If there’s one thing good about weight reduction, it’s that it pleases both sides. It makes for a much faster car which also happens to be more economical while another benefit is the better handling that we usually get from the lighter vehicle.
The engine will be mated to an eight-speed auto sending power to the front wheels. Don’t worry; it may be a front-wheel drive in its standard guise, but there is an all-wheel drive option available. The Continuous Damping Control manages to smooth out all the bumps while retaining rigidity and containing body roll to a minimum. The rear axle features a five-link setup on both the front and all-wheel drive model so you can be sure that it will give you pretty good handling to comfort ratio.
We really like the new LaCrosse. If it’s an indication for things to come from Buick, bring it on. Prices should start at around $33,500 for the base front-wheel-drive model but have in mind that this hasn’t been confirmed yet. Whether it will be able to compete with the class-leading Lincoln MKZ, it remains to be seen.
More information: http://www.buick.com/2017-lacrosse-full-size-luxury-sedan.html