The Buick LaCrosse impresses at under $50k

The all-new 2017 Buick LaCrosse arrives this year as Buick’s design and technology flagship.

Let me just start off by saying I love the 2017 Buick LaCrosse. My third car was a Buick. I went from a 1970 Chevy Nova to a 1980 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme to a 1984 Buick Regal. Boy, did I love that Regal. It was my first “nice” car. That generation of the Regal’s body style ended after the 1987 model so it still actually looked somewhat current in the early to mid 90s.

Since then I’ve always had a little something for Buicks. I’m a rare breed, however, considering the rest of my friends are into BMW and Mercedes these days. But I grew up driving as a passenger in my Father’s Cadillac Eldorado – so I had my own idea of which characteristics defined luxury. And Buick was one step down on the luxury ladder at General Motors.

One of my favorite Buicks these days is the LaCrosse. The LaCrosse came about in 2004 as a midsize sedan replacing both the LeSabre and Century. Since then it’s grown into the full-size position basically replacing the Lucerne (more or less a Cadillac DTS) – which replaced the Park Avenue in 2005 as a 2006 model. The 2017 LaCrosse is a 310 horsepower 3.6 liter V6 and 282 lb ft of torque powered front wheel drive or all wheel drive sedan with a big trunk, a soft (but compliant) suspension and gets a combined 25 miles per gallon for fuel economy with it’s 8 speed automatic transmission.

For under $50,000 you’re getting everything you’d expect from a modern day luxury vehicle. You get heated and ventilated seats with a driver’s massage feature, lumbar support, eight way power positioning and firm but supple leather. Heads up display is something you never knew you needed. A heated steering wheel is a welcome feature in the winter up north. The back seat is a very pleasant place to be. Fit and finish is excellent and will probably surprise you. The eleven speaker Bose sound system is impressively clear even at full volume.

The exterior is, in my opinion, a big change from the previous generation. It’s more subdued. But more classy at the same time. It’s difficult to explain but it took a little time to grow on me. I really liked the previous second generation LaCrosse but this one just looks more expensive to me. Chrome ventiports remain on a somewhat curvaceous body.

If you’re into technology and “devices” you’ll feel right at home in the Buick LaCrosse with the technology package. IntelliLink combines OnStar with an interactive touchscreen interface with the ability to connect to 4G LTE wi-fi, navigation, Bluetooth, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. If you like listening to streaming audio, apps like Pandora are compatible.

If you like the floaty Buicks of old – you may be disappointed by the suspension in new LaCrosse. It’s firmer. Tighter. But it’s not harsh in any way at all. It’s like the perfect combination of capability and suppleness. Bumps and potholes are well handled. The car keeps its composure and doesn’t rattle everyone around inside. Firmness can be adjusted and the car actually handles quite well in sport mode.

The LaCrosse is tomb-silent inside. Bank vault silent. Buick is definitely competing with Lexus here. QuietTuning keeps the cabin peaceful and serene no matter what’s happening outside. Place the car in sport mode, grab the paddle shifters and put the pedal to the metal and you’ll barely hear anything but a muffled growl of the engine as you accelerate. The car hits 60 miles per hour in about 6 seconds flat.

What car does the Buick LaCrosse compare most closely with? In my opinion? The Lexus ES. It’s big, comfortable, quiet, refined, classy, plenty powerful and luxurious. My only complaint about the LaCrosse is the inability to turn off the engine auto stop/start feature. This feature helps with fuel economy and is barely noticeable. However, I know some people don’t like it. I think Buick needs to address this and get a few more conquest sales as a result.

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