Tuesday, June 27, 2017

2017 Buick LaCrosse Premium: The Brand’s Flagship Car

Highlight: The LaCrosse shares a platform with its sibling, the slightly larger Chevy Impala.

Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $48,395 (Base Model: $32,990)

Seating Capacity: 5

Standard Safety Features: air bags; rear camera; tire pressure monitoring system; a teen driver mode alert monitor system; Daytime running lights; spare tire; electric parking brakes; and GM’s OnStar

Base Standard Features: 18-inch wheels; an 8-speed automatic transmission; a remote vehicle starter system; a keyless ignition starter system; leather-like seats; power front seats; lumbar support driver’s seat; tilt/telescopic steering wheel; a leather steering wheel; Onstar system; in-car WiFi availability; automatic headlights; heated power mirrors; and fuel saving front lower grille shutters

Premium Standard Features: a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel; a cargo net; memory driver’s seats; leather front seats; wireless device charging system; heated/ventilated/massaging front seats; a rear traffic cross alert system with the rearview camera; an electronic blindspot lane changing system; a lane change alert system; a forward collision alert system; a head-up display system; a safety alert driver’s seat; a heated steering wheel; an emergency road tool kit; and articulating headlights which turn with the steering wheel

Optional Features: 20-inch wheels; an automatic parking assist feature; a front pedestrian protection system; front automatic braking system; a radar activated cruise control system; an oversized sunroof; a navigation system; a Bose surround system; and a power rear sunshade

Standard Audio System: an 8-speaker AM/FM/Satellite audio system

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

USB Charging Port: Yes

USB Connectivity: Yes
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles

Engine/Horsepower: 3.6-liter, 6-cylinder/ 310-horsepower

Powertrain Warranty: 6 years or 70,000 miles

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage: 23-city/34-hwy (source: Fueleconomy.gov)

What’s New: Buick’s flagship car is all-new for the 2017 model year. It’s larger and more luxurious than the model it replaced.

Why: Buick has revived the magic that has been lacking in the brand’s car portfolio for quite some time. Once again the brand finally has a vehicle they can refer to as their flagship car, with the longer and sleeker third-generation LaCrosse.

The LaCrosse, which is based off the same platform as the current generation Chevy Impala, now rides on a solid large car frame. Thus, this equates to better ride and handling capabilities, more interior room and the ability for GM’s design team to make this vehicle as sexy as possible, while keeping the brand’s iconic exterior vents.

This big body Buick is available in a front wheel drive or an all-wheel drive configuration in a variety of trims.

The vehicle we reviewed happened to be outfitted with Buick’s higher end Premium trim. Our  high-tech vehicle (or luxurious mobile office) was equipped with everything from an in-car charger to an in-vehicle Wi-Fi system to a touchscreen infotainment system compatible with both iPhones and Androids to massaging front seats. And we can’t forget to highlight the thoughtfully laid out, premium class hand-stitched interior. It’s quite evident Buick paid a lot of attention to detail with this vehicle.

Also the big body Buick, which rode on optional 20-inch wheels, had a new gear shifter that seemed like it was taken right out of a playbook from BMW. Moreover, the HiPer strut suspension aided in the vehicle finding the perfect balance, as it relates to the ride and handling capabilities. While it was not as well-tuned as many of the imports, the LaCrosse didn’t have the rolling float which haunted America’s luxury cars of yesteryear.

More importantly, Buick’s almost self-driving vehicle was outfitted with such safety driving aids as a radar-activated cruise control system to a forward collision braking system to an automatic parallel/perpendicular parking driving system. We welcomed all of these features with the out of state road trip we made in the brand’s flagship car.

But: An AWD configuration is only available in the higher end, Premium trim. And ironically, the luxurious appointed LaCrosse lacked rear heated seats, power folding rear mirrors and a power pull down trunk.

Lastly, in a vehicle that is known for its quiet-tuning and added installation, on the highway we experienced excessively high road noise in our LaCrosse, which was equipped with 20-inch wheels. We’re not sure if this was due to the highway roads that needed repair or the larger size tires. Go figure.

Verdict: We love the breath taking styling of the larger and more sophisticated LaCrosse. It definitely harkens back to the days of the Park Avenue and the Roadmaster, when Buicks made a statement. The 2017 LaCrosse definitely makes a statement! The vehicle straddles the line between being a large car and a near luxury vehicle. From its optional massaging front seats to its high-tech infotainment system to its sumptuous curves, the new LaCrosse is worthy of being Buick’s flagship car.

Competition: Chevy Impala, Ford Taurus, Hyundai Azera, Kia Cadenza, Nissan Maxima and Lexus ES


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