The Extra Mile: 2017 Buick LaCrosse
Entry Price: $32,065
Price as Tested: $48,395
This week, we’re driving the all new 2017 Buick LaCrosse, developed to deliver both the Buick heritage while wrapped in a modern high tech motif sure to please consumers of all ages. Arriving in 2009 as the top Buick model, more than 900,000 LaCrosse models have been sold as Buick now prepares for its “One Millionth” LaCrosse sale this year.
Specifically, Buick’s ability to attract sales from a diverse multi-demographic has been its secret to success, especially the last 10 years. Add the fact that Buick builds some of the best cars General Motors has to offer, and you have a recipe for continued sales success.
For 2017, the longer, lower and wider LaCrosse could well have been today’s modern day Park Avenue, Roadmaster or Electra 225 had Buick not strayed from its earlier flagship calling cards. As Buick Regal is the lone recognizable tie to the nameplate’s past, one can be assured of Buick quality throughout, regardless of choice or modern name.
As for heritage, many car buffs may not know that of all the General Motors cars, Buick was its first. No, it wasn’t Chevrolet, Cadillac, Oldsmobile or Pontiac. It was Buick back in 1908 that set the stage for this worldwide popular GM brand.
Today, Buick continues to build many of the most satisfying cars, be it for U.S. consumers or for customers in China. Check any of the consumer magazines and companies that give awards or recommendations like Consumer Reports magazine or JD Power, and you’ll find that the Buick brand has quite a successful legacy of consumer satisfaction.
The 2017 LaCrosse has been completely redesigned to offer those who still desire full size automobiles a smart choice, especially for the money spent. Granted, our LaCrosse Premium tester’s final price of $48,395 is by no means cheap, we remind Buick enthusiasts that the entry Buick LaCrosse starts at $32,065 and rides on pretty much the exact same mechanicals as the upper class LaCrosse Preferred, LaCrosse Essence and LaCrosse Premium.
Notable is our LaCrosse Premium, which starts at $41,065, came with a $1,625 optional sporty suspension system and 20-inch tires on aluminum wheels that really spruced up this Buick big time, both in looks and handling. Keep in mind that this option also adds adaptive dampers in addition to the suspension enhancement, called Buick’s “HiPer Strut” front suspension. The package helps stop front drive torque steer under full acceleration and when in selectable Sport mode turns the LaCrosse cruiser into a great country road handler.
Additionally, LaCrosse Premium offers most of today’s modern safety enhancements as standard fare including teen driver monitoring, forward collision alert, rear cross traffic, lane keep assist, lane change alert with side blind zone and head up display. At this point, and for $1,690 more, I highly recommend the Driver Confidence Package that adds adaptive cruise with full speed range, automatic park assist, front automatic braking, and front pedestrian detection. A LaCrosse drawback is that the high tech safety items are not available on the entry model, although the backup safety camera and park assist is standard across the line.
Although featuring a wheelbase that is 2.7 inches longer than 2016, the new LaCrosse is some 300-pounds lighter than before. Buick accomplished this by utilizing a stronger yet lighter build thanks to press-hardened high energy steel. Buick engineers also worked on making this new LaCrosse the most sound absorbing of them all as the interior is quiet while driving and most inviting thanks to more amenities than ever.
Under the hood sits a powerful 3.6-liter V-6 engine that puts out 310 horses and 282 pound-foot of torque. It’s hooked to an 8-speed automatic transmission and will go from zero to 60 mph in just 5.9 seconds. As for fuel economy, the engine stop/start technology when sitting at a red light or stop sign coupled with cylinder deactivation to four cylinder power when cruising helps this big Buick deliver outstanding fuel mileage, with 21 city and 31 highway the EPA estimates.
The cabin is luxurious, as leather seating, wood trim and sculptured center console invite driver and passengers. An eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and 4G LTE are all standard, as are amenities like heated seats, heated steering wheel, and so much more. Overall, the LaCrosse Premium interior is beautiful and just a notch under top class Cadillac in comfort and presentation. (This is the way General Motors wants it.)
Other options on our test car included $1,550 for a panoramic sunroof with second row skylight and a rear power sunshade and $1145 for navigation and a Bose 11 speaker surround sound stereo system. The choice is yours when you visit your Buick dealer.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 114.4 inches, 3,598 curb weight, 15 cu. ft. of cargo space, 15.8 gal. fuel tank and a 38 ft. turn radius. An AWD LaCrosse is available for about $2,200 more.
I really like the looks and mechanicals of the new full size Buick LaCrosse, especially the water flow front grille, three faux vent badge on the front fenders and legendary Buick insignia. The Buick designers have a winner with this all-new LaCrosse, as they have successfully merged the past with the future in a model that is sure to spark sales in 2017.
Personally, I’m hoping for a 2018 LaCrosse Park Avenue edition because I think it sounds great and could easily be done with a luxury enhancement here and a badge there.
Likes: New design, more interior room, powerful V6, Buick birthright.
Dislikes: Many top safety features not available in entry model, gear shifter awkward.
(Greg Zyla is a syndicated auto columnist.)