The 2017 Buick LaCrosse is making great strides towards making Buick Millennial-friendly. But is it really the best choice for young and old drivers alike? We discuss.

Forwarding email chains. WWII books. Talking to you while your headphones are in. And last but not least, Buicks. These are things old people love.

The average age of a Buick driver is now 60. This is the second-highest in the industry, behind only Lincoln. So who’s going to drive Buicks when the golden oldies give up their keys? Buick’s banking on us Millennials.

The LaCrosse, their full-sized flagship sedan, offers an enticing value proposition for a Millennial, combining unbelievable comfort with surprisingly-high tech features. But in the hyper-competitive sub-$50k sedan market, will it be enough? Let’s take a look.

The basics

The LaCrosse is Buick’s full-size and fanciest sedan, starting at $32,990. For the base price, you get a generous amount of standard toys, from push-button keyless start, LED headlamps, power seats, an 8” infotainment screen with Android Auto and CarPlay, and more.

On the performance side of things, all LaCrosses come equipped with a surprisingly spry 310-horsepower V-6, capable of launching this hefty car from 0-60 in just 5.8 seconds. LaCrosses come standard with FWD; AWD is optional, though its reserved for the $41,990 Premium trim.

Normally we get nervous in FWD cars with over 300 horsepower since the threat of understeer lurks around every corner, but the LaCrosse plants its power well. The all-season tires do an admirable job of helping the car stay adequately grippy, and power delivery from the eight-speed transmission comes quietly and silky smooth.

A Dynamic Driving Package is available, which adds adaptive dampers for a firmer suspension, a Sport Mode, and 20” wheels. But unless you want your car to earn the nickname Geriatric Track Machine, please skip this package, because there’s an entirely different reason you buy a LaCrosse.

What we like

In a jarring juxtaposition, we tested the LaCrosse shortly after road-testing a $300,000 Aston Martin Vanquish. In addition to turning gasoline into dopamine, the rigid British supercar served to highlight the LaCrosse’s finest quality: its a ridiculously comfortable ride.

We’re unsure we’ve ever tested a more smoothly-riding car for under $50,000. You get the sense in the Buick that somewhere between your bottom and the wheels, there’s a Tempur-Pedic mattress absorbing all of your city’s asphalt acne.

2017 Buick Lacrosse Interior

The interior impressed us as well. Traditionally, Buick cabins have awkwardly straddled the line between GM and Mercedes, and you get the sense that if Buick sat at a lunch table with Audi, Lexus, and BMW, the latter three would go quiet and stare.

But the 2017 LaCrosse interior doesn’t cry “try-hard” anymore. The leatherette and faux wood paneling in the base model gracefully complement each other, and the true leather in the $39,590 Essence trim look even better.

From a usability standpoint, Buick have taken the inverse approach of many European carmakers and installed as few physical buttons as possible: A scant 20 on the center console, to be exact. Most functions are found in the sharp and speedy 8” infotainment screen, which comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

In perhaps their most Millennial-friendly move, Buick has included, as standard, an OnStar 4G Hotspot. Data plans aren’t unreasonably priced; you can get 20GB for $150 or pay $20/mo for unlimited, so if you find yourself constantly parking to dash into Starbucks for a connection, a LaCrosse offers to make your life much easier.

What needs work

After seven days and 400+ miles, we never got used to what Buick calls their “Precision Shifter.” Shaped like an upturned golf club, the design was clearly borrowed from BMW, but implemented with less grace. Pushing up and to the left for reverse feels unnatural, and upon release, the shifter clunks back into place with a cheap-sounding thunk, like a giant Nintendo 64 joystick. The fussy shifter simply didn’t match the elegance of the rest of the interior, so we hope it sees an update for the next generation.

Additionally, Buick loses Brownie Points by hiding their best features behind a $40,000 paywall. Massage seats, lane keep assist, forward collision warning, the HUD, and even the moonroof aren’t available on any trim level below the $39,590 Essence trim.

Given you can get most of those gadgets on a $24,195 Mazda3 Grand Touring, it’s feels like Buick has shot themselves in the foot by preventing young buyers from pimping their LaCrosses piecemeal.

How we’d option it

While those high-tech bits of the $41,990 Premium trim are tempting, we’re going to put on our sensible suspenders and keep the cost of our LaCrosse within the ~$350/mo. lease range.

We’d start with the base, $32,990 trim, skip the $395 premium paints (we like it in white). We’d add an engine heater; Buick offers it for just $100, and it helps keep your engine healthy and efficient, so why not?

That’s all we’d do! And while “base” may sound spartan, remember that the list of standard features on the LaCrosse includes: 4G, 18” alloys, 310-horsepower, CarPlay and Android Auto, a solid audio system, LED headlamps, a rapid and responsive infotainment screen, handsome leatherette and faux-wood trim, 8-way power seats, and that blissful, buttery-smooth suspension.


So, is the 2017 Buick LaCrosse good enough for an 85-year-old and a 25-year-old?

Well, if you wrote a wishlist of new car features, and the top five featured luxury, tech, and comfort, and sportiness fell much lower, the LaCrosse would be an excellent option for you. Aside from the clunky shifter and a lack of athleticism, there’s little for a Millennial not to like about the LaCrosse.

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Chris helps people under 30 prosper - both financially and emotionally. In addition to publishing personal finance advice, Chris speaks on the topics of positive psychology and leadership. For speaking inquiries, check out his CAMPUSPEAK page, connect with him on Instagram, or watch his TEDx talk.