When Buick introduced the Avenir concept during the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, showcasing it as the future design direction for the brand, many people speculated that the sheet-pull actually revealed a production-ready replacement for the company’s full-size sedan, the LaCrosse. A blink of an eye later (by automotive industry standards) the all-new 2017 LaCrosse took center runway during the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show modeling a leaner, longer and lower profile.
Taking bold steps in unlikely directions, Buick’s focus and audience remains affluent but increasingly younger. Witness the new Envision compact crossover, which is quickly proving itself an international bestseller. Consider the new Cascada convertible, already winning awards and bringing some fresh air into the lineup. And when the flagship LaCrosse goes on sale later this month, starting at $32,065 (not including the $925 destination charge), expectations are nothing short of segment leading.
With a roofline 1.6 inches lower than the current LaCrosse, the 2017 model sits on a 2.7 inches wheelbase that is stretched, yet the car’s overall length grows by an almost indecipherable 0.6 inches. The big Buick also gains just 0.4 inches in the waist, although its wheels have been pushed outward 1.3 inches in the front and 1.1 inches in the rear. This lower, sportier stance provides the LaCrosse with a confident but not cocky road presence.
All 2017 LaCrosse models are equipped with a direct-injected 3.6-liter V6 engine estimated to produce 310 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 282 pound-feet of torque at 5,200 rpm. The power is more than adequate to move the roughly 3,600-pound sedan. The fuel-saving engine start/stop system also performed so politely that I almost didn’t notice it. Often, such systems produce a sputter and a shakedown. In the Buick, everything was appropriately fluid. Whether the all-new LaCrosse is truly segment leading remains to be seen, but based on our brief encounter it’s certainly off to a pleasing start.