2017 Buick LaCrosse Driving Impressions

The Buick LaCrosse takes its powertrain from the Cadillac XT5. With 310 horsepower, 282 pound-feet of torque, and 3600 pounds to move, it accelerates quite smartly. The 8-speed automatic transmission shifts slick, although the electronic gear lever can be awkward.

Less weight and more power makes the LaCrosse a better car to five. There’s also that stiffer structure to improve handling. There’s also a new five-link independent rear suspension that makes the ride smoother and cornering more confident, compared to the previous four-link. The LaCrosse is nimbler than it used to be, and it was nimble before, with light and accurate steering. It’s no sports sedan, but it’s more poised than might be expected from a big sedan. Ride quality is much better than that of the first-generation LaCrosse.

Base and Preferred models use a MacPherson strut front suspension and 18-inch wheels, while Essence and Premium models take GM’s HiPer strut front suspension, two-mode adaptive dampers, and 20-inch wheels. The HiPer strut suspension reduces torque steer and increases grip, while the larger wheels might stiffen the ride because the sidewalls are shorter, but that’s what the adaptive dampers are supposed to prevent. Since there’s very little torque steer anyhow, we still see the Base or Preferred model as a better value. Using sport mode for the adaptive dampers tightens the ride and steering a bit, but not enough to inhibit the way the LaCrosse can be hustled down a winding road.

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