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REVIEW
From Edmunds.com
2017 Buick  LaCrosse Picture
PROS
  • Comfortable and composed ride on rough roads
  • Interior genuinely luxurious and very quiet at highway speeds
  • Surprisingly adept at going around turns
  • Good fuel economy from a strong V6 engine
CONS
  • Low-mounted seats might create a compromised driving position up front and insufficient under-thigh support in back
  • Eyebrow-raising price jump from base trim level to Preferred

If you're shopping for a large sedan, the 2017 Buick LaCrosse is quite simply one of your best options. Completely redesigned and massively improved for 2017, the new LaCrosse should easily meet your desires if you're searching for a quieter, more comfortable and more refined car than what is offered in the midsize sedan segment (think Honda Accord and Ford Fusion).

However (and this is a big however), the 2017 LaCrosse isn't just another large sedan like the Chevrolet Impala, Kia Cadenza or Toyota Avalon. Though Buick has tried for several years to reestablish itself as a luxury automaker, this is the first model that legitimately makes the grade. In addition to its classy styling and high-quality, well-equipped cabin, the new LaCrosse offers the refinement, poise and sophistication you expect from the best luxury cars. It can be both comfortable on the highway and stable and secure on curvy back roads without bobbing about like the S.S. Minnow on a three-hour tour. It is especially composed when the LaCrosse is equipped with the 20-inch wheels that come bundled with a more advanced suspension design.

We were fond of the previous-generation Buick LaCrosse, but the new 2017 model is a dramatic step up. As a result, we think the LaCrosse is a great new alternative to more comfort-oriented luxury sedans such as the Lexus ES 350 and Lincoln MKZ. In fact, we think there's a very good chance you'll like the Buick more. It might not have the badge appeal of the Lexus or the overall value of the Lincoln, but the well-rounded LaCrosse matches or betters them in terms of comfort, quiet, performance, fuel economy, driving dynamics and overall ease of use. Consider it one of your best options in two segments.

WHAT'S NEW FOR 2017

The Buick LaCrosse is completely redesigned for 2017. Highlights include a higher-quality interior, a bigger trunk, new features, and significantly improved ride and handling.

2017 Buick  LaCrosse Picture

TRIMS & EQUIPMENT

The 2017 Buick LaCrosse is a large sedan available in Standard (1SV), Preferred, Essence and Premium trim levels. All come standard with front-wheel drive, but the Premium can be equipped with an advanced all-wheel-drive system.

Standard equipment includes 18-inch wheels, automatic xenon headlights, foglamps, heated mirrors, rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, keyless ignition and entry, remote engine start, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear air vents, simulated leather upholstery, eight-way power front seats (with two-way driver lumbar), a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, OnStar (with an onboard 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot), an eight-speaker sound system, active noise cancellation and the Buick Intellilink infotainment interface that includes an 8-inch touchscreen, two USB ports, Bluetooth connectivity, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone app integration.

The Preferred trim adds a power-adjustable steering wheel, a cargo net in the trunk and satellite radio.

Stepping up to the Essence trim gets you adaptive headlights, auto-dimming mirrors, driver memory functions, leather upholstery, heated front seats, passenger-seat two-way lumbar adjustment and wireless smartphone charging. Optional for this trim level is the Driver Confidence 1 package that adds blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning systems.

The Premium trim includes the Driver Confidence 1 items and adds forward collision warning, a head-up display, lane departure warning and intervention, the Safety Alert driver seat (buzzes to get your attention to various safety warning systems), a heated steering wheel, and ventilated front seats with massage and four-way lumbar adjustment. The Driver Confidence 2 package adds adaptive cruise control, forward automatic emergency braking (detects vehicles and pedestrians) and an automatic parking system.

The Essence and Premium can be bolstered with three option packages. The Sun and Shade package adds a panoramic sunroof and a power rear sunshade. The Sights and Sounds package adds a navigation system to IntelliLink and a premium Bose 11-speaker, surround-sound audio system. Finally, the Dynamic Drive package adds 20-inch wheels, adaptive suspension dampers and, for front-wheel-drive models, an upgraded front suspension design.

2017 Buick  LaCrosse Picture

INTERIOR & SAFETY

The last Buick LaCrosse was nicer than many realized, but the 2017 version represents a step forward in terms of design, materials and construction. Although there's a little less wood now, it's more tastefully and convincingly applied, and the surrounding surfaces consist of nicely textured plastics and simulated leather stitched together over padding. It's an upscale, genuinely luxurious atmosphere — and you don't have to get one of the pricier trims to get it.

The addition of Buick's latest 8-inch IntelliLink touchscreen interface reduces dash buttons to a minimum while presenting large virtual buttons and an easily deciphered menu structure. We think it's pretty easy to use, plus it includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The screen itself might be a bit of a reach, though, and it can wash out in sunlight. Below the screen is a new electronic shifter that could take some getting used to, but unlike other such shifters, it's better designed to make sure you don't accidentally select the wrong gear. It also frees up center storage space, though the console is quite high, the cupholders are still a bit shallow, and we've never exactly warmed to the type of hidden under-console bin that now resides in the LaCrosse. The dedicated smartphone holder is appreciated, though.

Storage space is much better in the trunk (15 cubic feet), which is bigger than before and better shaped to hold suitcases and golf clubs. Passenger space could be better, though. There's plenty of legroom, but the reduced roof height for 2017 creates low seating positions front and back that might limit comfort.

Every 2017 Buick LaCrosse comes standard with antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front and rear side and side curtain airbags, front knee airbags, a rearview camera and rear parking sensors. Also standard is OnStar (automatic crash notification, emergency call button, stolen vehicle assistance) and Teen Driver (mutes stereo volume when seat belts aren't in use, provides warnings when set speeds are exceeded and sends a “report card” to parents).

The Driver Confidence 1 package (optional on Essence, standard on Premium) includes blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane departure warning and intervention. On the Premium trim, forward collision warning also comes standard. Optional for the Premium trim is the Driver Confidence 2 package with forward collision mitigation with automatic emergency braking.

2017 Buick  LaCrosse Picture

PERFORMANCE & HANDLING

Every 2017 Buick LaCrosse is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 310 horsepower and 282 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic and front-wheel drive are standard, and all-wheel drive is optional on the top Premium trim level. Automatic stop-start and cylinder deactivation systems are also standard. The EPA's fuel economy rating is 25 mpg combined (21 city/31 mpg highway) with front-wheel drive or 23 mpg combined (20 city/29 highway) with all-wheel drive. These are above-average fuel economy estimates for the large sedan class.

Though we have yet to take the new LaCrosse to our test track, we expect that with more power and less weight for 2017, it is bound to be quicker than the old car's 0-60-mph sprint of 6.8 seconds.

The 2017 Buick LaCrosse glides down the road with impressive comfort and isolation, soaking up bumps and treating its occupants to a whisper-quiet interior courtesy of many sound-deadening measures. The steering is low in effort, and the engine responds sharply to your gas pedal inputs. In general, we found this big sedan to be easy and pleasant to drive.

And yet, it isn't a loafing land yacht, either. A sophisticated suspension, which Buick upgrades when you order the optional 20-inch wheels, does a great job of controlling the car's body motions over dips and keeping you planted through turns. Like some of the best luxury sedans, the 2017 LaCrosse has the ability to be both comfortable when cruising and surprisingly sharp around turns. Even that nice-and-easy steering is precise, natural in feel and consistent in its effort. We are legitimately surprised at how good the new LaCrosse is to drive.

Helping things further is a powerful V6 engine paired to a crisp-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission and a relatively imperceptible automatic stop-start system (so imperceptible, Buick controversially decided to not include an Off button). While most LaCrosses will feature front-wheel drive, the all-wheel-drive system available on the Premium trim is an advanced one that anticipates the traction needs based on a variety of vehicle sensors (versus just reacting to a loss of traction) and can direct power front and back and/or to the left and right wheels to best suit the situation. This system improves the LaCrosse's handling even further.

VERDICT

Whether you're shopping for a large sedan or a more comfort-oriented luxury car, the redesigned 2017 Buick LaCrosse will impress you. We like how it's smooth-riding and quiet, just as before, but this time it's also more enjoyable to drive. Read on to learn what else we like about this year's new LaCrosse.

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