$20,479 - $28,056

2017 Buick LaCrosse Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Buick LaCrosse was new.

Scorecard

Performance: 8.5

The 2017 Buick LaCrosse isn't as intoxicating as a V8-powered Dodge Charger or Chevrolet SS, but it is reasonably fun to drive, with fairly nimble handling and a potent V6 engine. More than anything, it's a comfortable cruiser that soaks up bumps and is easy to drive, with little stress or road noise. On top of that, it's incredibly fuel-efficient for a large car, earning excellent EPA estimates for a V6-powered large sedan.

  • "No, this isn't a sport sedan, and it isn't trying to be. But the mere fact that it doesn't roll over and play dead through the twisty bits is a development that Buick worked hard to achieve with the new LaCrosse, a way to lure potential customers looking for a smidge more dynamic appeal from an otherwise comfy, quiet sedan." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The 2017 Buick LaCrosse glides down the road with impressive comfort and isolation, soaking up bumps and treating its occupants to a whisper-quiet interior courtesy of many sound-deadening measures. The steering is low in effort, and the engine responds sharply to your gas pedal inputs. In general, we found this big sedan to be easy and pleasant to drive." -- Edmunds
  • "No matter how you spec it, the 2017 Buick LaCrosse takes a very specific approach to driving dynamics. This isn't a car you grab by the scruff and toss around. If you want a GM sedan for that, buy a Chevrolet SS. Speed sneaks up on you in the LaCrosse. It's the look-down-and-you're-doing-80 kind of speed, not the ‘hey, watch this!’ kind." -- Left Lane News

Acceleration and Power

The 2017 LaCrosse comes with a 3.6-liter V6 making 310 horsepower paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The LaCrosse can get up to 21 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. That's above average for a large car, which is especially remarkable because the LaCrosse's engine is one of the most powerful in the class. The Toyota Avalon and Chevrolet Impala earn similar fuel economy estimates, but their engines only deliver 268 and 196 horsepower, respectively. The secret to this fuel efficiency is a start-stop system working in tandem with an active fuel management system that allows the vehicle to operate as a four-cylinder engine when the other two cylinders are not needed. Other systems have gotten negative remarks from reviewers for failing to start the engine quickly from a stop. The LaCrosse’s system works seamlessly, so the driver will likely not even notice it. However, unlike other GM stop-start systems, this one cannot be turned off by the driver. The V6 has ample power and delivers brisk acceleration from a stop. It can easily propel you up to speed for merging on the highway or overtaking other drivers. The eight-speed automatic is refined and delivers shifts right when you need them. You can even put it in manual mode to change gears with paddle shifters if you want to be more involved.

  • "Helping things further is a powerful V6 engine paired to a crisp-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission and a relatively imperceptible automatic stop-start system (so imperceptible, Buick controversially decided to not include an Off button)." -- Edmunds
  • "Given its elderly buyer demographic, you might expect the LaCrosse to lurch off the line with all the rapidity of the Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi that I'm typing this story on, but it actually gets out of its own way in something of a hurry. I'd estimate 0 to 60 mph in a little over 6 seconds, and power is administered without fuss. The new eight-speed transmission is well behaved, even on more technical roads, and there are now paddle shifters for moments when you want to be a bit more involved, or invoke additional engine braking on steep hills." -- CNET
  • "Active aero shutters are hidden behind the grille, while a cylinder deactivation system is so imperceptible there's not even a gauge light indicating you're running in V4 mode. The automatic stop/start system isn't quite as unobtrusive, but it's still one of the best systems we've experienced." -- Autoblog

Handling and Braking

Front-wheel drive is standard on all models, while all-wheel drive is optional with the top Premium trim. With front-wheel drive, you can add an adaptive suspension in the upper trims. The ride in models without the adaptive suspension is cushioned and comfortable, yet it doesn't wobble around turns. The LaCrosse is also fairly fun to drive on twisty roads, and while it's no sports car, it should prove capable enough for most drivers.

You get larger wheels when you buy the optional adaptive suspension, and ride quality suffers a bit as it feels more rigid over bumps. The adaptive suspension lets you choose from two modes: Normal and Sport. Normal is best for everyday driving and is more comfortable, while Sport mode sharpens up the ride and makes it tighter through turns. If you're not a true performance fan, you're better off skipping this pricey extra.

  • "Like some of the best luxury sedans, the 2017 LaCrosse has the ability to be both comfortable when cruising and surprisingly sharp around turns. Even that nice-and-easy steering is precise, natural in feel and consistent in its effort. We are legitimately surprised at how good the new LaCrosse is to drive." -- Edmunds
  • As is often the case, we found the base suspension to be a fine compromise. The adjustable suspension has 'Normal' and 'Sport' modes, but the 20-inch low-profile tires made Normal feel a bit stiffer over small bumps than the standard set-up. In the twisties, the Sport mode acquitted itself quite well, providing sportier steering along with a more-controlled ride with less body lean, but we doubt most buyers would find the optional suspension's $1625 price tag worth the complication and slight sacrifice to overall ride quality." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Comfort and capability are traits evident on any LaCrosse trim level. In standard tune, some steering precision disappears but the vehicle remains light on its toes and provides ample driving enjoyment despite its smaller shoes." -- New York Daily News

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