Buick’s 2017 LaCrosse unveiled in LA – Detroit Free Press
Buick unveils its redesigned 2017 LaCrosse today at the Los Angeles Auto Show, but no one on the show floor was as excited as workers from the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly who will build the midsize sedan beginning next year.
The new LaCrosse, which weighs about 300 pounds less than the model it replaces, joins the Cadillac CT6, ELR, the new Chevrolet Volt and Impala as General Motors adds a second shift and about 1,200 workers at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant.
“The new LaCrosse signals the next phase of Buick’s international momentum,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Buick sales and marketing. “Its quietness, comfort and connectivity were developed to set new standards in the segment, supported by technologies not offered on competitors such as the Lexus ES.”
The new LaCrosse betrays several cues from the Avenir concept sedan that Buick displayed at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. But Aldred said the exterior also reflected certain aspects of the Wildcat II concept convertible shown in 1954.
The weight reduction was achieved through a combination of hardened-press steel and other lighter-weight structure materials (150 pounds), new lighter sound-absorbing materials (68 pounds), chassis (45 pounds) and seats (25 pounds).
As a result the new 3.6-liter V6 engine, mated with an eight-speed automatic transmission, generates a peak of 305 horsepower, up slightly from 304 in the outgoing model, and 263 pound-feet of torque. While Buick doesn’t yet have government-certified fuel economy numbers, Aldred said he is confident it will beat the current car’s 36 m.p.g. highway and 25 m.p.g. in city traffic.
The current generation LaCrosse’s design was regarded as forward-looking when it was introduced in the 2010 model year and it has aged well. But exterior design director Holt Ware was not going to settle for an incremental update.
Following a vision he called “sweep sphere,” Ware and his team pulled the front forward, lengthening the wheelbase by 2.7 in. to 114.4 inches. The track, at 62.9 inches, is 0.9 inch wider than its predecessor’s.
The defining Buick waterfall grille is pulled back just a tad.
The balance of the efficiency equation comes from a technologically advanced, second-generation 3.6L V6 paired with a new eight-speed automatic transmission. Standard Stop-Start technology improves efficiency in stop-and-go driving.
Liz Wetzel, Buick’s director of interior design, said the goal was to maximize the use of premium leather and other materials with gauges and controls arranged in a simple, intuitive manner.
The car features electronic precision shifting with paddle shifters that drivers can manipulate from the steering wheel.
Chief engineer Jeff Yanssens said the weight reduction was a collective effort that included designers, power train and manufacturing engineers.
The LaCrosse power train also includes GM’s Active Fuel Management that deactivates two cylinders at lower speeds, and what Yanssens called a “seamless” stop-start capability that will contribute improved fuel economy.
Standard safety features include 10 air bags, anti-lock brakes with traction control, tire pressure monitor, daytime running lights, lane departure warning, forward collision alert, front pedestrian braking, automatic park assist and advanced adaptive cruise control.
There will also be the teen driver feature that debuted on the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu. This technology mutes the stereo system until all occupants’ seat belts are fastened. Using a PIN code, parents can set a maximum stereo volume and activate an over-speed warning alert anywhere from 40 to 75 m.p.h. If the driver exceeds that speed, the system pings an alarm and registers the infraction.
All-wheel drive is optional.
Aldred said the car will go on sale in early summer 2016. Pricing will be released closer to that time.
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