CAR REVIEWS

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Improved 2017 Buick Lacrosse aims to boost brand’s American audience, reputation Featured

Apr 12, 2017 Hit: 455 Written by 
The 2017 Buick LaCrosse has undergone a major overhaul for the 2017 model year.
The 2017 Buick LaCrosse has undergone a major overhaul for the 2017 model year. Photo courtesy of Buick

The Buick name means different things in various places around the world. In China, it’s seen as a foreign status symbol by many and sales reflect that, with the brand selling a record 1.18 million vehicles in China in 2016.


But in the U.S. it has more of an uphill battle to climb, with its reputation as GM’s luxury-lite brand (behind the truly luxurious Cadillac), and the brand having to convince potential buyers that a Buick is not just your grandpa’s car anymore.

 

The Buick brand represents a small portion of GM’s U.S. sales (roughly 230,000 sales out of 3 million total for GM in 2016); and among those Buick sales the majority were for SUVs.

 

Still, every sale counts, and the Buick brand’s sedans persist in America, and they plan to stick it out for the long run.
I recently tested out their flagship sedan, the largest and best one Buick offers -- the 2017 Buick Lacrosse, which got a major overhaul for the 2017 model year -- and I’m back with a full report.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle:: 2017 Buick LaCrosse
  • Price as tested:: $43,200 (starts at $32,065)
  • Best feature:: Sharp looks in and out, roominess, strong on technology
  • Rating:: 4 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?:: Folks looking for a capable entry-level luxury vehicle with strong tech features


LOOKS

The sharp new design on the LaCrosse for 2017 is both wider and longer than the previous model. It’s also built lower, and weighs about 300 pounds less, which helps fuel economy.

The inside of the LaCrosse is attractive and feels high-end overall. Standard setup is leatherette upholstery, and you can upgrade to full leather seats, heated and ventilated front seats, and even massaging front seats. But keep in mind that those features will come at a premium price.

 

I felt comfortable and enjoyed the ride in the LaCrosse. To some people, though, it might not be quite luxurious enough to merit the price and compete with the traditional luxury brands.

 

One thing everyone can agree on is that the LaCrosse is quite spacious in its rear seat, and in fact there is excellent leg and headroom all around the vehicle. Only downside to that is the impact it has in limiting cargo space.

 

HOW’S THE RIDE?
The LaCrosse isn't just a pretty vehicle; it’s also pretty fast.

 

You have one engine option -- a 3.6-liter, V6 paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission -- that offers 310 horsepower and 268 lb.-ft. of torque  

It also features a stop-start system for fuel savings, which could take some getting used to.

I have no major complaints about the power plant, which more than adequately got me where I needed to go and felt strong when doing so. Even with the power, the LaCrosse offers a very smooth ride, among best in its class.

It’s a quiet machine too, thanks to improved sound-absorbing materials used on the 2017 LaCrosse. FWD is standard, but the top trim level also offers an AWD option.

 

One warning: The unique design and operation of the shifter in the LaCrosse takes a bit of time to get used to.

TECHNOLOGY, SAFETY

A big part of the redesign of the 2017 LaCrosse is a renewed focus on technology, keeping in line with GM’s generally forward-thinking attitude in this realm.

-- The Teen Driver feature is standard on all LaCrosse vehicles. This allows parents to set controls on the vehicle and observe how their teens are driving.
-- For clarity when night driving, you get High-Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps, and LED taillights. There are ten standard airbags, and a standard rear camera.

-- One Driver Confidence package offers rear-cross traffic alert, lane change alert, and blind zone alert. It’s an option on the Essence trim level, standard on Premium

-- Another Driver Confidence package, offered for Premium trim level only, features: Automatic Park Assist, Front Pedestrian Protection, Front Automatic Braking and Full Speed Range Adaptive Cruise Control. These are all great features, so it seems odd to me that they are only offered on top trim level.

-- A Sights and Sounds package  will get you: Navigation, and a Bose 11-speaker audio system.

-- And federal safety ratings for the LaCrosse are at the top of the charts.
-- The standard infotainment system includes OnStar (Basic Plan is included for five years -- including RemoteLink services (remote start/unlock/horn honk)), an 8-inch touchscreen, and also Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality to integrate your phone into the vehicle.

-- Like many GM vehicles, the LaCrosse offers a 4G LTE connection -- and includes a three month/3 GB trial. After that, you can purchase data if you want to continue to use it.

-- In my experience driving the LaCrosse, the Intellilink infotainment system worked well both by touch and voice, and the design of the center console is impressive.

MPG
One can rarely boast of fuel economy when you reach the large sedan segment, but Buick has done a great job here and is an exception to that rule.

Official numbers on the 2017 LaCrosse are 21 city/31 highway/25 combined. Compared to competitors like the Chevy Impala, Toyota Avalon, and Ford Taurus, this is tops in class.

 

PRICE
My test vehicle (a 2017 Buick Lacrosse Essence) was just over $43,000 with options.

 

Trim levels and base price for each are as follows: LaCrosse ($32,065), Preferred ($36,065), Essence ($38,665), Premium (FWD) ($41,065), Premium (AWD) ($43,265).
Herein lies Buick’s dilemma. While this is a great vehicle, at that price range you’re into territory where there’s some pretty stiff competition from luxury brands both foreign and domestic.

One selling point that should go over well with many in the U.S. … It’s made right here in Detroit, at the Hamtramck plan.

BOTTOM LINE

As Buick continues its search for improved fortunes in America, to complement its foreign successes, the upgraded 2017 LaCrosse is a strong step in these efforts to stay competitive on home soil. The refreshed 2017 model is already starting to draw its share of fans to the Buick brand, and should continue to do so in the coming months.

As long as they keep their expectations realistic, GM should end up viewing the launch of this 2017 LaCrosse as a successful one that keeps their sedans fresh in the mind of the U.S. car buyer.


AutoTechReviews.com can be found
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Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.

 
 
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Matt Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

Website: www.autotechreviews.com Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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