Buick’s flagship LaCrosse sedan enters 2017 a completely new model from the tires up – and ready to compete with Lincoln’s heavily revised MKZ and Hyundai’s new Genesis luxury brand.
While the outgoing LaCrosse was daring departure from the stodgy Allure it replaced back in 2010, the new model is destined to turn heads. It shows off Buick’s new design language, and features a heritage-inspired take on the waterfall grille, complete with chromed wings, and a full-colour Buick logo. The grille, which receives active shutters, is flanked on both sides by new LED-accented headlamps. Overall, the LaCrosse looks sleeker thanks to a 40-mm reduction in height, but the vehicle remains roughly the same length and width as before. An increase of 33 mm between the wheels creates a slightly roomier cabin, too.
Underneath the sheetmetal is a new platform that’s loosely based on the Chevrolet Malibu. As with many of GM’s new products, the LaCrosse has gone on a serious diet – it weighs some 136 kg (300 lbs) less than the vehicle it replaces. This should help both performance and fuel economy. Though lighter, the new LaCrosse should be more relaxing and silent on the move thanks to active noise cancellation, triple-sealed doors, laminated front glass, and other sound deadening efforts.
For now, the only engine offered is GM’s freshly revamped 3.6-litre V6. Though power outputs are similar to the outgoing model at 305 hp and 268 lb-ft of torque, it features cylinder deactivation and engine idle-stop for reduced fuel consumption. A new eight-speed automatic, complete with BMW-style electric shifter is featured. GM’s HiPer Strut suspension setup is available on front-wheel drive to quell torque steer, while all-wheel drive is an option on the range-topping Premium trim. Optional adaptive dampers adjust every two milliseconds to smooth out road imperfections, but don’t confuse them with the magnetic dampers featured in many Cadillacs.
Where the old LaCrosse was spacious if a little claustrophobic feeling on the inside, the new model feels bigger and airier thanks to larger windows, and a more open cabin design. A flowing centre console houses an 8.0-inch TFT display with conventional knobs and buttons, while the IntelliLink system features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. Wireless device charging is available. Stretch-out rear legroom is joined by improved materials, French stitching, and available luxuries like massaging front seats, heated and ventilated front seats, a power tilt and telescoping steering column, head-up display, an 8.0-inch reconfigurable instrument cluster, and head-up display. Buick claims trunk space to be larger by seven per cent, which is still on the small side for the class, but large enough to accommodate four sets of golf clubs.
Also brought up to speed are the LaCrosse’s active safety features. Radar cruise control is enhanced to offer front pedestrian braking in addition to emergency autonomous braking. Front and rear parking sensors also allow the LaCrosse to automatically park itself, while lane-keeping assist will keep the LaCrosse from straying off the road. The LaCrosse is also available with GM’s vibrating safety seat, and receives 10 standard airbags.
The Buick LaCrosse goes on sale during the summer and is available in base, Preferred, Essence, and Premium trims.