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Buick’s 2017 LaCrosse is inspired by concept cars old and new

No model represents Buick’s image problem as much as the current LaCrosse. It’s a portly sedan with styling as wishy-washy as its softly sprung suspension, and it seems to have been designed by a focus group comprised entirely of retirees.

With the 2017 LaCrosse, Buick is trying to inject a little more excitement into its lineup. Debuting at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show, the LaCrosse sheds some pounds, and gets a new suit and new toys, but will that be enough to get consumers to pay attention?

The LaCrosse is the first Buick production model to feature styling influenced by the well-received Avenir concept that debuted earlier this year at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, although those cues are subtle. Designers also pushed the wheels closer to the corners of the body, lowered the roofline, and widened the track, all tried-and-true tricks for making a car look good. Despite being bigger in every dimension, Buick says the 2017 LaCrosse is 300 pounds lighter than the outgoing model.

In addition, the LaCrosse wears the “new face of Buick,” in the form of a more prominent grille and a Buick badge that goes back to the tricolor design. The rest of the grille trim, including some spears attached to the badge, references the 1954 Wildcat II concept, Buick says. The Wildcat II was one of many dramatically-styled concepts created during the era of GM’s “Motorama” traveling technology showcase.

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The 2017 LaCrosse will launch with just one engine option, a 3.6-liter direct-injected V6. The thoroughly-reworked engine produces 305 horsepower and 268 pound-feet of torque, and features both cylinder deactivation and a start-stop system to save fuel. An eight-speed automatic transmission is mandatory, with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Continuous Damping Control adaptive suspension is also available.

The interior is thoroughly reworked as well, with highlights including a center console that arches up to bring the new electronic shifter closer to the driver, and wing-like air vents and trim that frame the central display screen. The LaCrosse also gets Buick’s QuieTuning treatment, which includes active noise cancellation and extra sound-deadening measures in key areas to hush noise, vibration, and harshness.

On the tech front, the LaCrosse will be offered with the Intellilink infotainment system and 8.0-inch touchscreen. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility will be offered as well, and both should be available by the time the LaCrosse reaches showrooms. Wireless charging for those phones will also be available, along with a head-up display and Bose audio system.

The 2017 Buick LaCrosse goes on sale next summer. Pricing will be announced closer to that time.