Overview: Buick’s flagship sedan, the LaCrosse, prioritizes comfort and ease of use, making it popular both for Americans planning long interstate excursions and Chinese executives aiming to relax behind their chauffeurs. It has been a strong seller since it was last completely redesigned for 2010 and offers either front- or all-wheel drive with the standard 3.6-liter V-6; it’s also available as a front-drive-only, fuel-miser edition with a mild-hybrid setup built around a 2.4-liter Ecotec four-cylinder. We anticipated a replacement for 2016, but it appears that the new model won’t come until 2017. The Chevrolet Impala is the segment favorite (140,000 sales last year), followed by the Dodge Charger and the Toyota Avalon. The LaCrosse vies with the Ford Taurus, the Chrysler 300 and the Nissan Maxima in the next tier of popularity. The LaCrosse is not among the group’s more interesting driver’s cars, nor is it meant to be. For this review, we drove a V-6 front-wheel-drive LaCrosse in the top, Premium II trim level. It came with premium paint ($495) in a color Buick calls Midnight Amethyst—we’d call it eggplant or, if Buick’s entry-luxury pretensions must be honored, aubergine.
What’s New: A 2014 freshening updated the looks; the VentiPorts have moved to the sides of the domed hood instead of pointing skyward, the waterfall grille has swollen to flood-stage dimensions, and the headlights employ LED accents. More significantly, interior revisions expanded the infotainment functions even while a much-needed simplification of the control layout was made, with fewer hard buttons and an updated touch-screen interface. Safety technology has also been brought up to date with a pair of option packages, Driver Confidence 1 and 2. The first includes a head-up display, swiveling HID headlamps, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic detection, lane-departure warning, and more. The second level adds adaptive cruise control, collision-mitigation braking, and GM’s vibrating safety-alert seat. Premium II front-drive models like this one also get 20-inch wheels in 2015, but they’re an option on all-wheel-drive cars for 2016. In 2015, GM added a base, 1SV trim level that allows you to get the V-6 at a starting price closer to where it was five years ago.
What We Like: Quiet and smooth-riding, the LaCrosse provides a relaxing motoring environment without old-school wallowing and float. It’s easy to keep this Buick centered at highway speeds, and yet it’s handy in parking maneuvers. The rear seat has plenty of legroom for tall adults, and the revised infotainment system is easier to use than in early models, although it still takes some acclimation to find everything. The V-6 is strong enough for stress-free merging onto the freeway, and the six-speed automatic transmission shifts nearly imperceptibly, unless you’re really pushing it hard. “Buy American” types no doubt appreciate assembly in Fairfax, Kansas.
What We Don’t Like: The 20-inch wheels thump over harsh pavement, and the huge A-pillars obscure outward visibility. The LaCrosse rides on the same wheelbase as the Impala but is four inches shorter overall, so the spacious rear seat means a small trunk—it gets downright tiny if you opt for the eAssist four-cylinder, the battery pack for which eats precious cubic feet. While competent, the chassis offers few driver rewards, unlike Buick’s Regal and Verano sedans. Many alternatives in this price range are more interesting.
Verdict: Modern enough for a new generation of grandparents who remember the sweep-spears and VentiPorts on their own grandparents’ Buicks.
Date: 24.03.18 Views: 222