Old-school Buick luxury isn’t evident in every vehicle bearing the tri-shield badge, but, for better or worse, the LaCrosse has it in abundance. Its plush ride, heavily cushioned seats, and spacious interior provide plenty of comfort, but its run-of-the-mill driving dynamics play to its role as the near-luxury sedan of choice for the uninvolved driver. Technology offerings are comprehensive, and active-safety gear makes a strong showing here, too. The LaCrosse is a handsomely styled large sedan with a capacious cabin and a long list of features, but it’s that old-school Buick softness that may keep it off some shopping lists.
What’s New for 2018?
Changes to the LaCrosse for 2018 create new bookends to the lineup. A mild-hybrid powertrain—consisting of a 2.5-liter inline-four paired with an electric motor—joins the roster as the base engine option and boosts fuel efficiency. On the other end of the spectrum, the new range-topping Avenir trim adds visual flourishes to the LaCrosse’s interior and exterior. A new nine-speed automatic transmission replaces the eight-speed unit from last year but is exclusive to V-6–powered models; all-wheel drive is still available and now can be ordered on the midrange Essence model in addition to the Premium and Avenir. Three new colors—Satin Steel Metallic, Dark Slate Metallic, and Red Quartz Tintcoat—join the party.
What Was New for 2017?
Buick’s flagship sedan was all new for 2017 and benefited from a modernized chassis, a more comprehensive list of standard and optional luxury features, and the latest infotainment offerings while maintaining its classically handsome styling and all-American image.
Trims and Options We’d Choose
Our pick of the range is still the mid-level Essence trim, which sees a $2295 price drop to $37,295 for 2018 due to the introduction of a new entry-level mild-hybrid powertrain. The Essence trim adds some desirable luxury features to the LaCrosse’s spec sheet, including leather seats with memory function for the driver, adaptive headlamps, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and heated front seats. After driving a LaCrosse without the optional Dynamic Drive package, we’d be sure to include that here, as it provides a more agile driving experience; it includes:
• 20-inch wheels
• Adaptive suspension
• Sport mode
This package requires $1625 and the addition of the 3.6-liter V-6 and new nine-speed automatic transmission for another $2500. Our front-wheel-drive LaCrosse Essence wears an MSRP of $41,420.
The availability of two different powertrains allows buyers to choose either powerful V-6 gusto or fuel-sipping hybrid economy. The LaCrosse’s electronic gearshift lever is among the least intuitive we’ve ever tested, although we expect that most owners would become accustomed to it over time.