The LaCrosse started the revitalization of the Buick brand back in 2009, so it seems only fitting that the newest iteration of the car marks another evolution. The evolution was sparked here at the LA Auto Show, where the 2017 LaCrosse made its world debut with a total redesign of the car with a new design direction for the brand. A new engine and new features round out what appears to be a compelling addition to the Buick sedan lineup.
LaCrosse’s new look is at least somewhat familiar since it’s largely based on the Avenir concept that the brand revealed last January. The design theme is more modern with subtler character lines along the body and a major minimization of the brand’s iconic waterfall grille treatment. Both changes accomplish two things: give the LaCrosse a younger look and further merge the brand’s design language that of with Opel.
For the most part the design changes are successful. The more upright front fascia and cleaner lines make the LaCrosse look more premium than its predecessor, particularly in person. Although the design is attractive, there’s also no question of where the new LaCrosse originates from because it harkens to its GM brethren, the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu.
The age-old argument of whether or not GM sedans should share anything in common is almost a moot point by now, but to be diplomatic we’re mentioning the fact you can tell Malibu and LaCrosse are cousins. They both have an upright front fascia and big car proportions in relation to their actual size.
Malibu and this new LaCrosse do differ significantly when it comes to hardware. The new LaCrosse is powered by the latest version of GM’s 3.6-liter V-6 (known as “LGX”) which throws out an estimated 305 horsepower and 268 foot-pounds of torque. Having already experienced this engine in the 2016 Camaro, we can attest that it appears to be a gem, especially mated to GM’s new eight-speed automatic. The power figures are virtually unchanged from the current LaCrosse, however this car is nearly 300 pounds lighter, so less heft and a quicker shifting gearbox should make this LaCrosse a little quicker.
That sophisticated power is paired with an equally premium suspension setup. LaCrosse will feature a five-link rear setup that should improve handling characteristics by keeping the car more planted. Up front is a MacPherson strut similar to the current model, except for front-wheel drive models with 20-inch wheels, which will feature HiPer Struts. HiPer strut reduces torque steer and improves grip in almost all conditions.
Higher end models will include Continuous Damping Control, Buick’s version of active suspension. The system will read the road every two milliseconds and adjust accordingly based on the driver-selectable mode the car is in at the time. And as is the case with the current car, all-wheel drive will be optional. For 2017 LaCrosse is gaining a new dual-clutch all-wheel drive system which allows torque to be split between the rear wheels.
Another attribute that is found on the current LaCrosse is a really nice interior, and the 2017 version continues this trend. Sitting in the 2017 interior demonstrates a borderline stunning interior with a new design language and excellent material quality.
The new design is not entirely new. A flowing center console remains that is flanked by a more horizontal dash design that makes the LaCrosse interior look more modern than the current car. The awkward door panel design of the current car is also swapped out for an attractive, more functional version while switchgear is simple and accessible. One aspect of the switchgear is a new electronic gear selector, something even Cadillac’s new CT6 does not have.
Buick’s also fixed another major beef with the current LaCrosse: the awkward trunk. This infamous trait has been corrected with a trunk that will fit four golf bags according to Buick. Overall dimensions are not significantly different, however the current car’s main problem was the opening and the massive goose-neck hinges that intruded on the space.
On the surface, it appears trips to the golf course in the new LaCrosse will be quite enjoyable. This appears to be a noteworthy redesign of the car with enhancements across the board, most notably that stunning new interior. Next up will be Buick’s response to the 2017 Lincoln MKZ’s 400 horsepower twin-turbo V-6, which Buick itself names as one of this car’s competitors.