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In this ongoing series, Boston.com talks with automotive authorities about why you should consider driving — or avoiding — a specific model.
2017 Buick LaCrosse
Fully redesigned for 2017, the Buick LaCrosse is no longer your grandfather’s sedan. Instead, the new LaCrosse offers elegance and dynamism for a fraction of the price tag on a new luxury car.
The five-passenger LaCrosse gets one of the most powerful engines in the large sedan segment: a 310-horsepower, 3.6-liter V6 engine mated to a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission. The interior is spacious, with plenty of head- and legroom for adults in the back row. It comes in four trims: LaCrosse, Preferred, Essence, and Premium. Wood trim, leatherette upholstery (higher trims come with real leather), and soft-touch plastics lend the cabin an upscale feel. Compared with competitors, the LaCrosse doesn’t skimp on technology. Power-adjustable front seats, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and an infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen come standard. Another advantage over rivals is that the LaCrosse’s navigation system allows a passenger to input a destination while the car is in motion
The 2017 Buick LaCrosse earned perfect scores in crash tests by both federal ratings agencies, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. A rearview camera and rear parking sensors come standard. If you want blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and lane departure warning, you’ll need to upgrade to the $445 driver convenience package, which is available only on the Essence trim. Another package, available for $1,690 with the LaCrosse’s top-of-the-line Premium trim, adds a host of advanced driver assistance functions such as pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, active park assist, and automatic emergency braking.
When equipped with front-wheel drive, the LaCrosse delivers an 21 miles to the gallon around town and 31 on the highway. Those numbers drop to 20/29 for all-wheel-drive models.
The 2017 Buick LaCrosse starts at $32,065. The Preferred trim begins at $36,065, and the Essence and Premium trims start at $38,665 and $41,065, respectively.
What the experts are saying
Impressive base model
“When it comes to the Buick Lacrosse, we would recommend most shoppers consider that value-rich base model. There’s really nothing about it that says ‘entry-level.’ However, if you’re looking to the LaCrosse as more of a luxury sedan, opting for the Essence trim level and its Dynamic Drive package is highly recommended. As for the Preferred trim, we really don’t see how it manages to be $4,000 more than the base model, so we’d skip that.” –Brian Moody, executive editor, Autotrader
“The LaCrosse is a thoroughly modern version of the traditional four-door Detroit has been building for decades, which means old-school full-size customers will be smitten with this roomy five-passenger sedan. While it arrives with a few quirky ergonomics, including a maddening transmission shifter, the V6 provides good power and the cabin is comfortable and quiet. When looking at the LaCrosse, be sure to inquire about GM’s HiPer Strut front suspension, which is offered on some trim levels – it’s a must-have mechanical upgrade that indisputably improves the vehicle’s driving dynamics.” –Michael Harley, automotive analyst at Kelley Blue Book
“The 2017 Buick LaCrosse is one of our top-rated large cars, qualifying as a Top Safety Pick. In order to earn that designation, a vehicle has to have good ratings in all five of our crashworthiness tests and have an available front crash prevention system with automatic braking that gets a superior or advanced rating in track tests. The LaCrosse is an example of the big leap vehicles have made in safety in recent years. Not only are vehicles more protective in crashes than they used to be, but even mainstream cars like the LaCrosse are available with advanced safety technology that can help drivers avoid crashes altogether. –Russ Rader, senior vice president of communications at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety