2017 Buick LaCrosse Overview
Pros & Cons
- Elegant and roomy cabin
- Excellent fuel efficiency
- Comfortable, quiet ride
- Reasonably agile for this class
- Some desirable features only available in pricey upper trims
Notable for 2017
- Completely redesigned
Buick LaCrosse Rankings and Research
The 2017 Buick LaCrosse ranking is based on its score within the Large Cars category. Currently the Buick LaCrosse has a score of 8.7 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 23 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.
- #2 in Large Cars
2017 Buick LaCrosse Pictures
2017 Buick LaCrosse Review
The fully redesigned 2017 Buick LaCrosse might offer the best balance between performance and comfort in the large cars segment. It has a potent and fuel-efficient engine, comfortable yet fairly lithe handling, and an upscale, spacious cabin.
Is the Buick LaCrosse a Good Car?
The 2017 Buick LaCrosse offers a good combination of power, technology, and comfort in the competitive large car class. The LaCrosse’s 310-horsepower V6 engine, the only one you can get with this car, is among the most powerful base engines in the segment. It also delivers competitive fuel economy thanks to its engine-management equipment that controls the number of pistons firing while driving and shuts off the engine at stoplights.
The LaCrosse’s base infotainment system is upscale. It includes a large 8-inch touch screen, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, among other features. Additionally, the passenger can control the navigation system while the LaCrosse is in motion: an uncommon feature because most cars will lock the system out.
There are a few flaws. The wood trim isn’t particularly attractive. More worrisome is the shifter, which you may find counterintuitive. You shift it forward to reverse and back to drive. Finally, the trunk space is adequate but smaller than you’ll find in some competitors.
Still, this is a good large car, and it deserves close consideration.
Should I Buy the Buick LaCrosse?
The 2017 Buick LaCrosse starts at $32,065, about average for the large cars segment. You get a lot for your money: a potent engine, excellent legroom for rear-seat passengers, and a good number of standard infotainment and comfort features like power-adjustable front seats. However, you have options in this class.
The Chevrolet Impala has a less-potent base engine (a four-cylinder that makes 110 less horsepower than the Buick) but lots of cargo space, and it starts about $4,700 less than the LaCrosse. There’s also a lot to like inside – from materials quality to fit and finish. If you like a sporty driving experience, there’s the Nissan Maxima. It’s about $500 more than the LaCrosse and has similar horsepower. Its handling, however, is superb. The Maxima hugs corners better than most cars in its class. Plus, its interior is sumptuous.
You won’t go wrong with the LaCrosse, but there are other good values to be had in this class, so it pays to cross-shop.
We Did the Research for You: 22 Pieces of Data Analyzed
Our team analyzed 22 pieces of data – including predicted reliability and crash test scores, critics’ reviews, and fuel economy data – to give you the buying information you need on the LaCrosse. We did all the legwork so you don’t have to.
The Buick LaCrosse is completely redesigned for 2017.
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Our automotive team of writers, analysts, and researchers has 75 years of industry experience. For almost a decade, we have ranked vehicles to help you through the car-buying process. This is done without accepting expensive gifts or trips paid for by car manufacturers, and a third party handles all advertising on our site.
How Much Does the Buick LaCrosse Cost?
In the large cars segment, the 2017 Buick LaCrosse has a competitive base price of $32,065. It’s nicely outfitted with a potent engine and lots of tech features. The Preferred trim ($36,065) doesn’t add much value – just satellite radio and a power tilting-and-telescoping steering wheel. Moving up to the $38,665 Essence model gets you leather upholstery, heated front seats, and wireless smartphone charging. The top-of-the-line Premium trim starts at $41,065 and adds some good safety equipment, including a forward collision warning, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and Buick's Safety Alert seat, which vibrates to alert the driver to potential dangers. Upscale touches include massaging, ventilated front seats and a heated steering wheel.
Buick LaCrosse Versus the Competition
Which Is Better: Buick LaCrosse or Chevrolet Impala?
The LaCrosse has the upper hand over the Chevy Impala in engine power and infotainment, but it’s considerably more expensive than the Impala, so you pay a lot for the LaCrosse’s perks.
A 310-horsepower V6 engine is standard with the Buick – that’s 110 horsepower more than the Chevy’s base four-cylinder engine. The LaCrosse also offers much better handling. You might expect the Impala’s smaller engine to deliver better fuel economy, but you’d be wrong. The two cars’ gas mileage numbers are similar.
The LaCrosse’s base infotainment system offers much more than the Impala's. The LaCrosse features a large touch-screen infotainment system and an eight-speaker stereo. The Impala has a small 4.2-inch screen that lacks touch functionality, so you’ll have to use physical buttons to manipulate the menu items.
The less-expensive Impala (starting at $27,300) has more room up front for driver and passenger. The Impala and LaCrosse have about the same rear-seat legroom. The Impala wins the cargo war, however, with 18.8 cubic feet of space. That’s nearly 4 more cubic feet in the trunk than you’ll find in the Buick – room for about three additional grocery bags.
The Impala is the better choice in the base trim. It’s around $4,700 less than the LaCrosse, and it offers considerably more space up front and in the trunk. Granted, it has the smaller four-cylinder engine, but you’ll find it adequate for most driving situations. The LaCrosse’s technology, while impressive, doesn’t justify the higher cost.
Which Is Better: Buick LaCrosse or Nissan Maxima?
The Buick LaCrosse ($32,065) and Nissan Maxima ($32,610) share more than a similar price-point. Both have V6 engines: The Buick’s is slightly more potent (310 horsepower vs. 300 for the Maxima), but you won’t notice much difference between the two. Both large cars are also fun to drive. The Maxima is the sportier of the two, feeling more like a sports sedan than a family cruiser. Impressively, it does this without sacrificing ride comfort. The LaCrosse is also fairly fun to drive on twisty roads. While it's no sports car, it should prove capable enough for most drivers.
Inside, you’ll find more front legroom in the Maxima. In back, the LaCrosse offers considerably more space. The LaCrosse definitely makes the better Uber vehicle, and it’s great if you regularly ferry taller adults. When it comes to trunk space, both cars are below the class average. Still, you’ll get marginally more room with the LaCrosse.
The LaCrosse and Maxima both have 8-inch touch screens, but only the LaCrosse offers Android Auto and a Wi-Fi hot spot.
It’s mostly a toss-up between the LaCrosse and the Maxima. The edge goes to the LaCrosse because of its slightly better technology and lower base price.
How Many People Does the LaCrosse Seat?
Up to five people can fit in the 2017 LaCrosse, which comes standard with leatherette upholstery and eight-way power-adjustable front seats. Optional seating features in the LaCrosse include heated front leather seats, massaging front seats, ventilated front seats, and a power tilting-and-telescoping steering wheel.
The front seats are nicely cushioned, with ample head- and legroom. The back seat is spacious too, with legroom to spare even if the driver or front passenger sits with their seat pushed far back. Headroom in the rear seat is a bit tight for tall passengers, but it shouldn't be a problem for most people.
Thigh support can be an issue for taller drivers in the LaCrosse, especially on long drives. Good thigh support is provided when a seat supports up to where your knee bends while driving, so look for that when you go for your test drive.
LaCrosse and Car Seats
There are LATCH car-seat connectors in all rear-seat positions in the Buick LaCrosse. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not rated the LaCrosse’s LATCH system.
LaCrosse Interior Quality
The 2017 Buick LaCrosse has a comfortable cabin with a refined style. The interior feels upmarket, even in base models. Most materials are high quality, and even when there are plastics, they are soft to the touch and have sculpted textures. You have to spend quite a bit of money moving up trim levels to add features like leather upholstery and heated front seats.
LaCrosse Cargo Space
The LaCrosse has 15 cubic feet of trunk room, which is below the class average of 16.3 cubic feet. The trunk has a wide cargo floor so you can carry a couple golf bags. The standard split-folding rear seatback lets you open up more space for long objects, and it can be folded without sliding the front seats forward. The seatback is several inches above the floor of the trunk, however, so it's not easy to slide items in.
For comparison, the Chevrolet Impala has nearly 19 cubic feet of truck space, while the Nissan Maxima's trunk is smaller than most in the class, at only 14.3 cubic feet. The Impala’s trunk holds about three more grocery bags than the LaCrosse's.
LaCrosse Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation
The 2017 Buick LaCrosse's standard infotainment features include OnStar with turn-by-turn navigation, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, dual USB ports, an 8-inch touch-screen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a Teen Driver system, and a Wi-Fi hot spot.
The touch screen has a logical menu structure, and on-screen buttons are large and easy to tap. The screen is placed high on the center stack, making it easy to see but also susceptible to sun glare. Its placement also makes it hard to reach for some drivers. On the plus side, unlike the systems in many rivals, the LaCrosse's infotainment system does not lock out certain functions while the vehicle is in motion. This makes it possible for the front passenger to input a destination into the navigation system, for example, while you're on the go, which isn't possible with many competitors' systems.
Rather than incorporating frequently used controls for the radio into the infotainment system, Buick left physical controls on the dash so you can easily turn up the volume or change stations without much effort.
The Chevy Impala can’t match the LaCrosse for technology. It has a smaller, six-speaker stereo, a single USB port, and an infotainment system with a 4.2-inch display. The Nissan Maxima is reasonably well-equipped. It differs from the LaCrosse by making HD Radio, navigation, and voice and gesture commands standard. The Maxima does not have Android Auto.
LaCrosse Engine: A Powerful V6
You'll accelerate quickly thanks to the LaCrosse's 3.6-liter V6 engine. It generates 310 horsepower, making it one of the most powerful engines in the class. It's paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission that is smooth and inconspicuous.
Take note of the gear selector’s position on the left side of the center console. It could be a concern for some drivers because it could brush against your right leg. You may also find the shifter to be a bit confusing. Following the style that BMW uses, the Buick’s shifter has to be pushed forward to engage reverse and pulled back to drive forward.
A 300-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine powers the Nissan Maxima, and it's paired to a continuously variable (automatic) transmission. The Chevrolet Impala comes with a 197-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, while a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 305 horsepower is available.
The LaCrosse has the best base engine. It produces more horsepower than its competitors without sacrificing fuel economy.
LaCrosse Gas Mileage: Powerful Fuel Sipper
Despite having such a powerful engine, the LaCrosse is one of the most fuel-efficient cars in the class. It gets up to 21 mpg around town and 31 mpg on the highway. The all-wheel-drive LaCrosse has an EPA rating of 20 mpg around town and 29 on the highway.
The LaCrosse earns its high fuel economy estimates with the help of two systems: active fuel management and a stop-start system. Active fuel management will disable some of the engine's cylinders when they aren't needed, while the stop-start system shuts down the engine when the car comes to stop.
The Chevy Impala earns essentially the same fuel economy estimates (22/30 mpg city/highway), as the LaCrosse but has a significantly less powerful base four-cylinder engine. The Nissan Maxima, with a 3.5-liter V6, has an EPA rating of 21/30 mpg city/highway, but it runs on more expensive premium fuel.
That premium fuel bumps the Maxima’s annual fuel costs to $1,700: $300 more than the LaCrosse and the Impala, which both run on regular gas. The all-wheel-drive LaCrosse has an annual fuel cost of $1,500.
LaCrosse Ride and Handling: Comfort With Some Thrills
Most large-sedan shoppers want one thing: comfort. The LaCrosse delivers, providing a smooth ride over rough roads while still giving you some thrills in the corners. It's no sports sedan, but the LaCrosse stays composed without too much body lean if you take it through turns with some speed. It’s also comfortable for long-distance traveling.
If you buy the optional adaptive suspension ($1,625), you'll be able to choose from two modes: Normal and Sport. Most people will probably stick with Normal, which gives you a comfortable yet stable ride. Sport mode tightens up the suspension and steering for more fun in the corners. The ride is less comfortable with the adaptive suspension, however, because it comes with larger wheels that let you feel more bumps in the road. Ultimately, you should skip the pricey adaptive suspension, available in the Essence trims and above, unless you seriously value performance.
Nissan markets the Maxima as a “four-door sports car.” While it may not live up to this nickname entirely, it delivers on handling. Body lean is minimal, and it hugs corners better than most in the large cars class and even many midsize cars. At low speeds, you may notice some sluggishness in steering response. Still, the Maxima has responsive handling in other situations.
The Chevy Impala provides a comfortable ride for its occupants and can easily absorb bumps on the road. While it doesn’t boast sports car-like handling, the Impala’s electric steering gives the driver confidence going through turns and twisting roads.
Is the Buick LaCrosse Reliable?
The 2017 Buick LaCrosse earns a score of four out of five for predicted reliability from J.D. Power and Associates. This means the LaCrosse is expected to be more dependable than most other vehicles on the road. Along with the Chevrolet Impala, this is the best rating in the large car class.
Buick LaCrosse Warranty
The 2017 Buick LaCrosse is backed by a four-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a six-year/70,000-mile limited powertrain warranty. The Chevrolet Impala and Nissan Maxima both have a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. The Kia Cadenza and Hyundai Azera share the best coverage with a five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
LaCrosse Crash Test Results
The 2017 Buick LaCrosse earns a perfect five-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with five stars in all crash tests the agency conducts. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the LaCrosse Good ratings, its highest, in the moderate overlap front and side crash tests.
The Chevy Impala also receives a five-star overall rating from the NHTSA. In individual tests, the Impala earns five stars in every category except rollover, where it gets four stars. Like the LaCrosse, the Impala earns Good ratings in the IIHS moderate overlap front and side crash tests.
The Nissan Maxima receives a five-star overall rating from the NHTSA as well, and earns a Top Safety Pick+ label from the IIHS. This is an elite honor, as there were only 38 Top Safety Pick+ cars announced by IIHS this year.
LaCrosse Safety Features
Standard safety features in the Buick LaCrosse include a rearview camera and parking sensors to help when you're backing up – useful features given the LaCrosse's limited visibility to the rear corners.
Also, all LaCrosse models come with the Teen Driver feature. It lets parents set controls and review their teen’s driving habits.
There are many available safety features but most are only offered in the top Premium trim. They include forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, which detects if a frontal crash is likely and applies the brakes autonomously; blind spot monitoring, which lets you know if there's a vehicle in the lane next to you; and lane departure warning, which alerts you if you start to drift out of your lane. A safety alert seat is also available. This is a unique feature for the affordable large cars class; it will vibrate to notify you of any possible danger.
Which Buick LaCrosse Model Is Right for Me?
The 2017 Buick LaCrosse comes in four trims: Base, Preferred, Essence, and Premium. A 3.6-liter V6 engine, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive are standard, while all-wheel drive is optional.
The best choice is the Buick Lacrosse Essence trim at $38,665, but only when you add the available $445 Driver Confidence Package #1, which includes rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, and lane departure warning. Then you have a comfortable interior with added leather upholstery, heated front seats, and wireless smartphone charging combined with important safety features.
The LaCrosse's $32,065 base price is in line with the rest of the class. The base trim comes with a V6 engine, an automatic transmission, leatherette upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, dual USB ports, an 8-inch touch-screen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a Teen Driver system, a Wi-Fi hot spot, a rearview camera, and rear parking sensors.
The Preferred trim is priced at $36,065, and it adds satellite radio, a power tilting-and-telescoping steering wheel, and an emergency road kit.
Moving up to the $38,665 Essence model gets you leather upholstery, heated front seats, and wireless smartphone charging. The Essence trim can be equipped with the Driver Confidence Package #1, which includes rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, and lane departure warning for $445. The Sun and Shade Package is available for $1,550, and it comes with a panoramic moonroof and a power rear sunshade. You can also add adaptive suspension for $1,625.
The top-of-the-line Premium trim starts at $41,065 and is equipped with massaging and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a head-up display, forward collision warning, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and Buick's Safety Alert seat, which vibrates to alert the driver to potential dangers. The Driver Confidence Package #2 is optional with the Premium trim for $1,690, and it comes with adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and active park assist. You can add navigation and an 11-speaker Bose premium audio system for $1,145. All-wheel drive is available exclusively with the Premium trim for $2,200.
Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Buick dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Buick deals page.
The Final Call
The 2017 Buick LaCrosse is the complete package in the large cars segment. It has a powerful V6 engine, good infotainment offerings, and a competitive price. Its interior is roomy with nice soft-touch materials.
Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.
- "The LaCrosse is no longer just another entry in a full-size sedan segment hemorrhaging sales, but rather an honest-to-goodness luxury sedan that backs up Buick's premium intentions better than anything else in its lineup." -- Autoblog
- "Though Buick has tried for several years to reestablish itself as a luxury automaker, this is the first model that legitimately makes the grade. In addition to its classy styling and high-quality, well-equipped cabin, the new LaCrosse offers the refinement, poise and sophistication you expect from the best luxury cars." -- Edmunds
- "The last LaCrosse was a roomy family sedan with upscale trim and luxury features, but the new one takes all that up a notch while adding the option of a sportier feel." -- Consumer Guide
Research Prices: 2017 Buick LaCrosse
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