By now, it’s well known that Buick has been looking to expand its market appeal to a younger demographic. With sporty offerings like the Regal GS and Verano Turbo, the American luxury automaker is boosting its appeal to sport sedan enthusiasts for the first time in over a decade. Even the Encore and Enclave drew rave reviews for their upscale styling and innovation in the ever-expanding SUV landscape.
Though most automakers will never admit it, there is a black sheep hiding in every family. In a lineup filled with exciting new models that have helped restore the brand’s appeal of affordable luxury, there is one particular car that still resembles the Buick of old. Though the LaCrosse may carry the label of the company’s flagship model, its bloated proportions and unattractive styling have held Buick back from achieving its goal.
But once the tarp came off the 2017 Buick LaCrosse at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show, everyone in attendance knew that was about to change. If looks could tell the story, the LaCrosse appears to be a knockout choice with its Avenir-inspired styling evident from every angle.
If you haven’t heard of the Buick Avenir concept yet, it came out of nowhere to steal the spotlight in January at the North American International Auto Show. With so many similarities between the two, it’s easy to see why Buick has been making headlines.
Coming into the redesign, Buick engineers made it a point to reduce the excessive amount of overhang that extends beyond the front wheels. This made the LaCrosse look disproportional and accentuated the fact that it was built on a front-wheel drive chassis.
A signature sweep-spear flowing from the rear doors into the quarter panels is carried over from the previous generation LaCrosse and reflects historic Buick styling cues that date back to the 1950s. The roofline has also been shaved by nearly 2 inches, giving the LaCrosse a much sleeker profile.
The smoothed front and rear fascias no longer come to a point, eliminating the snow plow shape of the front clip. Narrowed HID headlights and aggressive character lines on the hood emulate the shape of low profile cowl. Of course, no redesign would be complete without a new grille; Buick’s signature waterfall is now far less prevalent, hidden behind a large horizontal chrome strip and the return of Buick’s historic red, silver, and blue tri-shield logo.
While the LaCrosse’s striking new sheetmetal garners the most attention, its transition to the lighter Elipson II platform is equally as noteworthy. This change has allowed Buick engineers to not only shed 300 pounds from its porpoise frame, but also increase torsional rigidity by 15%. This will inevitably result in a much faster and better handling LaCrosse. Its 305-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 will no longer feel as lumbered and its returning HiPer Strut front suspension will certainly be more engaging on the open road.
The interior improvements are highlighted by the LaCrosse’s new ventilated massaging front seats and Buick’s QuietTuning process to provide the superior ride quality that’s expected of an upscale luxury sedan. Contemporary moon-white ambient lighting, a heads-up display, and a premium Bose audio system further increase cabin appeal. The latest technology appointments have also been added, with wireless charging and smartphone integration made possible through IntelliLink’s new Apple CarPlay and Android Auto software.
While it’s not the Grand National we’ve been calling for, the 2017 LaCrosse is definitely a step in the right direction for a company looking to attract younger buyers. After years of trying to put lipstick on a pig, Buick is finally taking its flagship sedan seriously. Though it won’t go on sale until summer 2016, the redesigned LaCrosse looks like it will be a major player in the full size luxury sedan segment for many years to come.