When you think of a good, old-fashioned American summer, a couple of things must come to mind. Hot dogs, fireworks, swimming pools, road trips, and a Buick.
Well, okay, maybe Buick doesn’t immediately come to mind but it should. Buick is the oldest active brand name of cars in the United States (its founding beat Ford by only a month).
It’s been part of General Motors line-up for decades and has been positioned for a long time as a luxury brand. As a result, the cars have become a big part of the older generation of Americans. But younger generations are learning what other countries have already figured out (Buick currently holds 80% of the market share in China): it’s a car worth driving.
Introducing the 2017 Buick LaCrosse Premium AWD
Let me school you on what this car is all about.
When the car arrived in my driveway for my week long test run, I was a little surprised when I peaked outside. Admittedly, I haven’t kept up with Buicks as much as I should have so when I saw it, my first reaction was “That’s a Buick?”
Now I know why they’ve been using that same slogan for many of their successful ads. At first glance, it will surprise you.
You’ll still see the Buick badging and their trademark “ventiports” on the side. But to really see where Buick excels, you need to get behind the wheel. Which is exactly what I did.
I drove a record number of miles for this test drive – well over 400 miles when I cruised out to the New Jersey Motorsports Park and back in one day. But the ride didn’t get interesting until I got off the highway and took back roads through the small towns of New Jersey.
My favorite was the little town of Shiloh, New Jersey. And I do mean little (population 516). I stumbled across an an old “Public School” that I’m assuming was the Shiloh School that closed 10 years ago.
So I stopped to see what evidence of yesteryear I could find. The front door was completely boarded up and I couldn’t see in any of the lower windows. But I still loved the architecture reflecting early 20th century architecture.
So I drove on to the heart of the town, or what I imagine was once the heart of the town. Here I found old barns and garages.
I had to giggle when a tractor drove right through my shot, almost as if on cue.
It was the remnants of Richardson’s Store that drew me in though.
With it’s fading paint and broken Coca-Cola sign, it was clear that this was a store from days gone by and yet it still seemed as iconic as the Buick I was driving.
I walked right up to Richardson’s imagining the hub of town gossip and activity that it must have once been, imagining the old men that must have sat right outside shooting the breeze. And when I dared to peak in the window. I saw that the interior is somewhat frozen in time.
It didn’t make me feel sad for progress and the death of the little general store. It made me happy the me and my Buick happened upon this little slice of Americana and captured it while it still stands.
With plenty of pictures in my hand, I was happy to get back behind the wheel of the Buick LaCrosse for the 2 1/2 drive home.
Inside the Buick LaCrosse
Driving the Buick LaCrosse Premium made the trip fly by for reasons I can’t wait to share. Let’s start in the “cockpit.”
Let’s start with all of the driving options that impressed me: Automatic Parking Assist, Front Automatic Braking, Front Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keep Assist, Forward Collision Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Change Alert… you get the idea. Luckily, I didn’t need any of that but at the last minute, I decided I HAD to try the Automatic Parking Assist. It will blow your mind (see my video below!).
You’ll also see a button for “Sport” mode. I didn’t see a dramatic difference. I did notice the steering was a bit tighter though.
There’s also a Head-Up Display on the windshield. I have a love-hate relationship with these. I love having the information displayed quickly and easily in my line of sight BUT I hate that I’m so short and it often gets in the way of my line of sight. Buick has handled this nicely with a physical switch (labeled HUD) that lets you quickly move it up or move it down and completely out of your field of vision.
Something completely new to me (and probably to you) is the Electronic Precision Shifter. When I first got it, I was definitely confused but it took me all of about 15 minutes to adjust. To release from Park, you place your foot on the brake, press the button on the side, and shift up and to the left. To put it in Drive, simple pull the shifter down. And when you’re ready to park, place your foot on the brake and press the P button for park.
It’s definitely an adjustment but I just saw the same shifter on the new Chevy Bolt EV in New Jersey. I suspect we’ll be seeing more of these so get used to it.
Last thing about the “cockpit” is the little compartment below the shifter. It’s a discreet place for the 12V adapter I use to charge my iPhone and a great place to store things that you don’t want sitting out in the open. Bonus: It’s a nice place to place your phone out of the way, although there is a nice pocket on top of the console that’s perfect as well.
Plenty of room in the Buick LaCrosse (even cargo space!)
When you think of a sedan, you’re usually not asking about cargo space. You might want o make sure it has decent trunk space (which the Buick definitely does). But I was even more impressed with what you could so with the back seat.
There are two handles in the trunk that allow you to unlatch the 60/40 split rear seats. It’s then as simple as “helping” them fold flat.
And with them folded flat, you have room for plenty of luggage, antiques, or even longer pieces from Home Depot (I shop there a lot).
On a more practical side, we took the LaCrosse to our community pool and easy fit our giant pool floats in the back. Doesn’t seem like that big of a deal until I went to put the same floats in the back of my compact SUV and actually had to put the second row down to accommodate them!
Final Thoughts on the Buick LaCrosse
There’s no mistaking it. The Buick LaCrosse is a luxury sedan. And it definitely turned heads when I drove it and when I parked it. In fact, I was stopped by someone who asked me if that was the new Buick and how I liked it. He had gray hair but still…
It’s a soft, comfortable ride that doesn’t look like your father’s (or in my case, mother’s) old Buick. It’s got a sporty, sleek exterior style. It’s got pretty sweet 20″ wheels. And it’s got every safety feature imaginable.
All of that and fuel economy for the week of 26.2 mpg. I attribute some of that to the stop/start system that helps with fuel economy. Unlike other vehicles with this option, I found it completely tolerable and very responsive!
Sounds like a great car, right? It comes at a price. The standard vehicle price for the 2017 Buick LaCrosse Premium is $43,265. After adding the Drive Confidence Package #2, Sun and Shade Package, Sights and Sound Package, and Dynamic Drive Package, as well as the Quicksilver Metallic upcharge, the MSRP on this vehicle is $50,270.
Great article Fadra. As you know I’m not crazy about that gear selector but I’m also suspect of the stop/go feature that shuts down the engine while stopped at a light. Cars idling really use very little fuel. Its when accelerating that the most fuel is used so to me its a gimmick. Nonetheless overall its a great car that appparently can hold more than our CX-5’s ! I do though prefer the looks of the impala over the lacrosse but then again any car looks good with you behind the wheel!
Most true car people HATE the start//stop function on vehicles and I can see why. I absolutely hated it in the VW Atlas when I drove it. It made me feel less in control of the vehicle. That’s why so many manufacturers have an option that allow you to turn it off. I honestly didn’t check to see if Buick had the ability to turn it off because I liked it so much. It’s so seamless and subtle that I didn’t even realize that it was doing it until a few days in! Stay tuned… just had another compact SUV dropped off today that I’m taking on a long road trip!