2017 Buick LaCrosse Review


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2017 Buick LaCrosse Overview

Drivers typically think of the Buick LaCrosse as a comfortable but relatively unflashy luxury sedan. In the past, the LaCrosse served as a low-frills alternative to the Chevrolet Impala or Nissan Maxima. The 2017 version, which will be Buick's third iteration of the LaCrosse, comes with major overhauls for maximized comfort and customizable driving controls in a repackaged body.

The 2017 Buick LaCrosse appears much sleeker than its predecessors, a new look that complements its revamped design. The old front grille, with its waterfall design, has been swapped out for a recessed grille framed by a chrome surround, which Buick says is based on the 1954 Buick Wildcat II concept car designed by the legendary Harley Earl. The revised Buick Trishield logo will premiere on the front of the 2017 LaCrosse to herald Buick's newest generation of updated models.

Like the previous versions, the 2017 Buick LaCrosse rides on the Epsilon II platform, with a few minor tweaks in its measurements. The 2017 variant extends an extra 0.1 inches in width and an extra 0.6 inches in length. The entire body sits 1.6 inches lower, with a wheelbase expanded by 3 inches. Overall, the tweaked measurements provide a little extra legroom for passengers, though drivers of the outgoing LaCrosse may not notice much difference from their seats. Drivers may, however, notice some savings in their gas budgets. The 2017 LaCrosse is expected to weigh about 300 pounds less than the 2016 model, as the frame combines hard-pressed steel with stronger, lighter materials.

Although the 2017 LaCrosse runs on a 3.6-liter V6 engine like its predecessors, the engine itself is new. The LGX powertrain runs at an estimated 305 hp, with maximum torque clocking in at about 268 lb-ft. Dual overhead cams house a direct injection system that's been tricked out for better fuel efficiency with two features: cylinder deactivation, which temporarily disables two of the engine's cylinders in lighter driving conditions, and start/stop, which switches the engine off and on whenever the vehicle is in a stop-and-go situation like rush-hour traffic.

Loyal LaCrosse owners may be surprised by the 2017 version's new Electronic Precision Shift, a nifty gadget that electronically controls the automatic 8-speed transmission. The electronic shift does away with the bulky lever that moves up and down, leaving added arm room and, more importantly, storage capacity for modern-day necessities like soft-drink cups and smartphones.

Speaking of storage, the 2017 LaCrosse's trunk is 7% wider than on previous models. The Buick marketing team insists this expansion means travelers can fit four fully equipped golf bags in the back, if golfing happens to be their cup of tea.

To accompany the LaCrosse's fresh redesign, Buick implemented a curvaceous single cockpit interior. The sloping dashboard lends an expansive feel more reminiscent of a spaceship than a luxury car. The 8-inch touchscreen LCD displays a crystal clear image that lacks a frame or awkward knob placements. If you're a more traditional driver who prefers buttons, however, there are audio and climate controls located just beneath the screen for easy access.

Interior options include a rear power sunshade, climate controls for two designated zones inside the vehicle, a Bose stereo system, a power-positioned heated steering wheel, leather seats, and quick-heating front seats with ventilation. In addition, for 2017, Buick LaCrosse owners who really want to spoil themselves can upgrade the front seats to give massages.

Sound reduction in the cabin is one of the more curious changes to the LaCrosse. Buick's QuietTuning Team engineered key interior elements of the new LaCrosse so the sounds they generate, when used or activated by the driver and passengers, are dampened. This includes everything from lowering and raising the power windows to shushing the windshield wiper blades as they swipe away rainwater. The designers also installed extra liners along the fenders, coated the glass with special noise-cancelling lamination, and triple-sealed the gaps along the edges of the doors. Whether it's a solo trip through the mountains or a family outing accompanied by a backseat singalong, the new LaCrosse should ride much quieter than older models.

For outings with or without the family, the LaCrosse comes equipped with everything necessary for a well-connected life. The IntelliLink will plug your Google Android or Apple iPhone directly into the vehicle's interface, allowing anyone inside to access their phone contacts, maps, or music playlists. Built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi capability grants high-speed Internet access anywhere on the road. For drivers and passengers who prefer a hands-free approach to their electronics, a number of the 2017 Buick LaCrosse's features can be managed with voice control.

Luxury sedans can and should be family-friendly, and the 2017 Buick LaCrosse is no exception here. Teen Driver technology allows parents to monitor and even influence their teens' driving habits without ever being in the passenger seat. Parents can silence the stereo if their teen refuses to wear a seat belt, or they can trigger audio warnings if their child has a knack for speeding beyond the posted limits. The Teen Driver feature can also draft regular report cards for the parents in case there's ever a parent-teen dispute about who's doing what and where.

In the event that either teen or parent experiences a collision, the 2017 Buick LaCrosse contains 10 airbags. With an active OnStar subscription, any collision that deploys these airbags will automatically dial 911 for a speedier rescue response. Other safety features include a vibrating driver's seat that warns the driver of a traffic threat, lane-keep assist, and blind-spot alert.

The 2017 Buick LaCrosse remains a front-wheel-drive vehicle, with an optional HiPer Strut suspension. In the rear, a 5-link suspension system keeps the back axle from sliding during turns. Taking sharp corners in the 2017 LaCrosse should be a smoother experience than it was in older models. A dual-clutch all-wheel-drive system is available as an option, too.

The Continuous Dampening Control may very well be one of the coolest additions. This feature coordinates with the LaCrosse's suspension for a customized ride over any type of road surface. The controls come in two modes: a Touring setting for everyday driving and a Sport setting for a tighter suspension and more responsive feel. All 2017 LaCrosses come with cruise control for feet-free highway adventures and parking assistance for those cramped parallel jobs.

Overall, the 2017 Buick LaCrosse, unlike previous LaCrosses, wants to be noticed, with its brand-new appearance and improved fuel efficiency and power throughput. It wants to be driven in a variety of conditions, both easy and tricky. It wants to be a luxury sedan, yet it also offers the options of a sportier car. It can be a powerhouse V6 when it needs the full push or switch down to 4 cylinders when power's not an issue. With a number of features that appeal to either a large family or a bachelor or bachelorette, the new LaCrosse serves as a veritable chameleon.

The 2017 Buick LaCrosse faces competition from the Toyota Avalon and the Lexus ES 350, two sedans with similar features and comparable price ranges. Buick expects the LaCrosse to begin arriving at dealers sometime in the summer of 2016.

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