Saturday, November 12, 2016

2017 Buicks Rolling In Near Luxury Lane: The LaCrosse, The Envision And The Encore

Buick Highlights: The Buick brand, which is slotted between the Cadillac and Chevy brands, has delivered over 1-million vehicles globally during the first three quarters of the year, up 23 percent from this same time period in 2015. Just in the U. S. alone, sales are up 11 percent.

Ironically, during GM’s turbulent bankruptcy years, Pontiac, Saturn and Hummer were all axed. However, based upon the near luxury brand sales success in China, where they rank as the second largest passenger car brand, it is quite obvious why Buick circumvented the chopping block.  So, with a slew of new products arriving for 2017, Buick sales should continue to rise.

Buick’s warranty also mirrors that of other luxury brands, offering a 4-year/50,000 mile warranty.

And the brand will follow the steps of GMC's exclusive SUV/truck line by adding the Avenir trim, which will mirror the Denali trim. More details will be available at a later date.

What’s New: For the 2017 model year, Buick introduces the third-generation LaCrosse, which has become the brand’s new near luxury flagship. They’ve refreshed their entry level crossover, the Encore, which made waves when it broke ground introducing the premium compact luxury crossover segment. And this model year, the brand is taking advantage of the U. S. craze for crossovers, adding the midsize Envision, a Chinese-built   luxury five seater crossover.

Buick LaCrosse

The Jefferson’s theme song “Movin’ On Up” is so apropos for the sleeker, longer and more luxurious LaCrosse. The new LaCrosse rides on an all-new platform. The next generation is expected to ride on the Chevy Impala.

With its BMW-like electronic gear shifter, the LaCrosse drops from five trims to
three trim levels for the 2017 model year. With the exception of the higher end premium trim, which is available in an all-wheel drive or an all-wheel drive configuration, all the trims are driven by a front-wheel drive system.  Unlike the previous LaCrosse, this big Buick, which is 300 pounds lighter this year, is only outfitted with a 3.6-liter, 6-cylinder engine. This 6-cylinder engine, which features a fuel saving start and stop idling shut-off system, pumps out a whopping 310-horsepower.

The third generation LaCrosse not only wears a fresh design, its outfitted with such features as an in-vehicle wireless charging system, an in-vehicle Wi-Fi system, and an audio system compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Moreover, depending on the trim, the interior of the new LaCrosse is covered by pseudo leather for the base model, real leather for higher level trims, a panoramic rood, a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel, a power rear sunshade, and a push button keyless ignition starter.

The brand’s curvaceous flagship is also available with the industry’s latest high-tech safety driving features, too. Some of those features include an automatic park assist system (designed for parallel or perpendicular parking), a front pedestrian detection system, a front automatic braking system, a vibrating safety alert seat and an all-speed radar-activated cruise control system. Yes, this big Buick almost ready for the autonomous driving revolution.

Moreover, the brand’s flagship can ride on either standard 18-inch wheels or the optional 20-inch wheels, which changes both the appearance and the ride-and-handling capabilities.

With a new body style and loads of features, pricing for the 2017 Lacrosse rises slightly by approximately $1,000, with a starting price of $32,000. And when fully optioned out, with a decked-out all-wheel drive model, pricing is just a hare’s throw away from tip the $50,000 mark. Yes, the new LaCrosse bumps up against the Lexus ES.

Buick Envision

With consumer tastes shifting from cars to crossovers, the five-passenger Envision joined Buick’s line up for a short run during the 2016 model year. As we kick-off 2017, the Envision is ready for a full model year run. It’s the third vehicle to join the Buick line, which is slotted right between the luxurious Enclave and the compact Encore. Just like the LaCrosse, the all-new Envision crossover is available in three trims. And just like the LaCrosse, the top of the line trim is the only model available in either an all-wheel drive or a front wheel drive configuration. The other trims are available in front wheel drive only.  

The new five passenger luxury crossover goes head-to-head with such vehicles as the Acura RDX and the Lincoln MKC. For 2017, the Envision carries over the 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder turbo, with a start-stop gas saving idling system that pumps out 252 horses. A new 4-cylinder, 197-horsepower engine has been added to accommodate the entry and midlevel trims.

Furthermore, depending on the trim, the Envision can be outfitted with a radar activated cruise control system, a surround vision camera system, a tri-zone automatic ventilation system, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a lane keep assist system with lane departure, a panoramic moonroof, a programmable power liftgate, a parallel and perpendicular parking system, a wireless charging system and 19-inch wheels.  So, not only is the vehicle roomy, but it offers all of the luxury touches one has come to expect from the Buick brand.

And with the addition of two additional trims and the smaller engine, pricing for the Envision drops several thousand dollars to $34,990. Conversely, with the larger engine and all of the bells and whistles, the price pivots over the $51,000 mark.

Buick Encore

For the 2017 model year, Buick’s compact crossover receives its first major update. The cozy luxury crossover features a new front end design, which mirrors its big sibling, the Enclave. There is now more brand cohesiveness with the Encore.

Inside the vehicle, occupants will notice a new instrument panel, which houses an 8-inch infotainment screen and a new gauge cluster for the driver. The audio systems are also compatible for both Apple and android smartphones. In-car Wi-Fi is available, too.

Buick powertrain group drops down from two to one with the base peppy 1.4-liter engine, which is powered by a 4-cylinder turbo. The baby Buick continues to be available with either a front wheel drive or an all-wheel drive system.

And, the Encore offers the latest safety driving advances, too, to keep its occupants safe. Some of those high-tech features include a rear traffic cross alert system, a blind spot alert system, a rear parking assist system, a forward collision alert system and a lane departure warning system.

Added to the new style, the vehicle can be optioned out with new 18-inch wheels.

Pricing for the base 2017 Encore drops from $24,990 to $23,915, which is approximately a thousand dollar price saving.

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