At the LA Auto Show, the new top-of-the range 2017 Buick LaCrosse was unveiled, signaling the next generation of GM’s full sized sedan architecture and Buick’s unfolding global design renaissance.
That was a mouthful, but this new Buick is indeed all-new. It brings with it a lot of steps forward for the brand who’s explosive growth in China has finally started fostering an improved level of attention to detail, design, and even desirability here at home.
The new Buick LaCrosse is larger. The wheelbase stretches nearly 3-inches to 114. It’s longer, lower and wider with most of that space going to the rear seat area which is now downright limousine like. And all of this comes to a car that is some 300 pounds lighter than before.
It’s design is influenced by the Buick Avenir Concept from the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year, and the theme translates well to the front-wheel drive architecture of the LaCrosse. It sports the new face of Buick, which has a dark waterfall grill and wings. And there also the return of the red, white and blue Buick crest.
The rear thee-quarter view gets strong character lines that define its hips in a more sleek and planted way than Buicks of the past have been know for. And its LED tail lamps slips handsomely I dare say into the rear deck-lid which kicks up nicely.
The interior of the LaCrosse is where Buick really shows its intent to raise the bar from rental grade to upgrade. Genuine materials and a sense of craftsmanship are evident at first sight. Flowing lines of the dash and a high center console eschew the old lines of before.
Rear seat passengers will enjoy leg stretching space too, and likely wont miss that extra 1.5-inches of headroom that went away with the new design. And keeping the cabin individualized will be a wide selection of rich interior leather and trim color themes.
Noted areas of new tech here are a wireless phone charger, a handsome frame-less touchscreen audio infotainment center and a new toggle gear selector called Electronic Precision Shift. The latter mimics those found in a number of modern luxury brands.
There’s even a new teen driver system that reels them in a bit. It will mute the audio if seat-belts aren’t worn, and can sound alarms if a pre-determined speed is exceeded. Best of all, it can send a driving report card to the grandparents or whomever owns the car. Fun.
Driving the new LaCrosse is the latest generation of GM’s 3.6 liter V6 engine that offers up 305 horsepower and drives the front-wheels through a new 8-speed automatic transmission. It has multi displacement capability and auto-start-stop system to make if fuel efficient too.
You can also now order your LaCrosse with a high-feature dual-clutch all-wheel drive system for those who want better grip in cold weather climates. And all the latest driver-assistance and crash avoidance technologies will be here too.
Buick says the new LaCrosse will be the quietest ever with a wide array of new sound deadening materials throughout its lightweight body structure, in addition to electronic noise cancellation technology.
Pricing and final specifications won’t be announced until the 2017 Buick LaCrosse goes on sale late in 2016 around the world. I have to admit this is in my opinion one of the best looking Buicks I’ve seen in the last decade or two, and I’m still 20-30 years downstream of Buick’s average customer age bracket.