Buick – Automobile Magazine http://www.automobilemag.com No Boring Cars! | Reviews, Auto Shows, Lifestyle Wed, 18 Jan 2017 04:47:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.4 Opel Insignia Grand Sport Revealed, Previews Buick Regal http://www.automobilemag.com/news/opel-insignia-grand-sport-revealed-previews-buick-regal/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/opel-insignia-grand-sport-revealed-previews-buick-regal/#respond Thu, 08 Dec 2016 01:30:24 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1028811 Just days after an Insignia was spotted on some kind of a photo or video shoot, Opel has officially unveiled the new Insignia Grand Sport sedan. This is our best look yet on what to expect for the U.S.-market Buick Regal. Judging from these Insignia images, it appears that the Regal is going to receive...

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Just days after an Insignia was spotted on some kind of a photo or video shoot, Opel has officially unveiled the new Insignia Grand Sport sedan. This is our best look yet on what to expect for the U.S.-market Buick Regal.

Judging from these Insignia images, it appears that the Regal is going to receive a much more mature design. Opel pushed the wheels forward relative to the cabin and gave it an elongated appearance. The Insignia’s new look matches the look of new Buicks including the LaCrosse, especially up front. A horizontal wing connects the front emblem to the edges of the grille. The nose of the new model is much flatter, and the headlights are slim and more modern than those on the current Regal. Bold character lines caress the side of the doors, and a sloping roofline falls onto a short rear deck.

Opel Insignia Grand Sport rear three quarter in motion

The Opel Insignia Grand Sport is based on an entirely new vehicle architecture. Although it weighs around 385 pounds less than the old model, the Insignia’s wheelbase has increased by 3.6 inches. The front and rear overhangs have been shortened, and the roofline is 29 millimeters lower.

We’re eager to see if the Regal drives as nicely as it looks, but we know its European cousin is receiving some powertrain upgrades, too. An eight-speed transmission has been added to the lineup, as has a new all-wheel-drive system with torque vectoring. The Insignia also gets a new five-link rear suspension and FlexRide chassis, with different modes that adjust dampers, throttle response, and steering.

The new Opel is roomier than its predecessor, allowing for more headroom and knee room in the rear. Other key features include lane keep assist, a new head-up display, heated front and rear seats, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist with automated steering correction, and rear cross traffic alert.

The Opel Insignia is set to debut at the Geneva Motor Show next year. Until then, watch this video for more on the Insignia’s new design.

Opel Insignia Grand Sport wheels Opel Insignia Grand Sport to view Opel Insignia Grand Sport rear taillight Opel Insignia Grand Sport rear side Opel Insignia Grand Sport rear lights Opel Insignia Grand Sport interior Opel Insignia Grand Sport headlight Opel Insignia Grand Sport front three quarters Opel Insignia Grand Sport front three quarter Opel Insignia Grand Sport front three quarter in motion Opel Insignia Grand Sport front three quarter in motion 02 Opel Insignia Grand Sport front side in motion Opel Insignia Grand Sport front end

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http://www.automobilemag.com/news/opel-insignia-grand-sport-revealed-previews-buick-regal/feed/ 0 New Buick Regal Is Going to Be Drop-Dead Gorgeous | Automobile Magazine Just days after an Insignia was spotted on some kind of a photo or video shoot, Opel has officially unveiled the new Grand Sport sedan. This is our best look yet on what to expect for the U.S.-market Buick Regal. Judging from these Insignia images, it appears that the Regal is going to receive a muc buick regal Opel Insignia Grand Sport front end Opel Insignia Grand Sport rear three quarter in motion Opel Insignia Grand Sport front end Opel Insignia Grand Sport front end Opel Insignia Grand Sport front end Opel Insignia Grand Sport front end Opel Insignia Grand Sport front end Opel Insignia Grand Sport front end Opel Insignia Grand Sport front end Opel Insignia Grand Sport front end Opel Insignia Grand Sport front end Opel Insignia Grand Sport front end Opel Insignia Grand Sport front end Opel Insignia Grand Sport front end Opel Insignia Grand Sport front end
Opel Insignia Sedan, Wagon Caught Naked http://www.automobilemag.com/news/opel-insignia-sedan-wagon-caught-completely-uncovered/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/opel-insignia-sedan-wagon-caught-completely-uncovered/#respond Mon, 05 Dec 2016 22:17:59 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1028637 The next-gen Opel Insignia sedan and wagon have broken cover. Why should you care? Because the Insignia sedan will be our next Buick Regal, and the Insignia Sports Tourer could be our first-ever Regal wagon. But besides that, just look at them. Spied on the set of a commercial or photo shoot, the two cars...

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The next-gen Opel Insignia sedan and wagon have broken cover. Why should you care? Because the Insignia sedan will be our next Buick Regal, and the Insignia Sports Tourer could be our first-ever Regal wagon. But besides that, just look at them.

Spied on the set of a commercial or photo shoot, the two cars are completely uncovered. The sedan’s profile is slightly more raked, and the rear quarter window comes to more of a point compared to the current Insignia sedan and Buick Regal. This model is a higher-trim OPC Line variant, so it sports large wheels, a unique body kit, and Brembo brakes. The wagon also appears to be an OPC model, and gets the same treatment as the sedan but features that all-important D-pillar and rear liftgate. We’ll reserve judgment until we can see it in person, but looks-wise we think this car could give the Volvo V90 a run for its money.

Opel Insignia wagon front three quarter

The Opel Insignia rides on a variation of GM’s Epsilon II chassis called E2XX, shared with the Cadillac XT5 crossover. The platform supports front- and all-wheel drive and was designed with a focus on weight reduction. The Insignia wagon has been spotted testing in the U.S. before, so there’s a good chance GM is considering a Regal wagon for our market.

The Opel Insignia sedan and Sports Tourer should make their debut at the Geneva auto show next March. Until then, enjoy them in all their uncamouflaged glory in the gallery below.

 

Opel Insignia sedan rear three quarters 02 Opel Insignia sedan rear three quarter 03 Opel Insignia sedan rear three quarter 02 Opel Insignia sedan front three quarter Opel Insignia sedan rear side Opel Insignia sedan rear end Opel Insignia sedan rear side 02 Opel Insignia sedan rear end 02 Opel Insignia sedan front wheels Opel Insignia sedan front wheels 02 Opel Insignia sedan front three quarters Opel Insignia sedan front side Opel Insignia sedan front side 02 Opel Insignia sedan front grille Opel Insignia sedan front end Opel Insignia wagon side Opel Insignia wagon side 02 Opel Insignia wagon rear wheels Opel Insignia wagon rear three quarters Opel Insignia wagon rear three quarter Opel Insignia wagon rear tailgate lift Opel Insignia wagon rear side 03 Opel Insignia wagon rear side 02 Opel Insignia wagon rear end Opel Insignia wagon front wheels Opel Insignia wagon front wheels 02 Opel Insignia wagon front end

 

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http://www.automobilemag.com/news/opel-insignia-sedan-wagon-caught-completely-uncovered/feed/ 0 Opel Insignia wagon front end Opel Insignia wagon front three quarter Opel Insignia wagon front end Opel Insignia wagon front end Opel Insignia wagon front end Opel Insignia wagon front end Opel Insignia wagon front end Opel Insignia wagon front end Opel Insignia wagon front end Opel Insignia wagon front end Opel Insignia wagon front end Opel Insignia wagon front end Opel Insignia wagon front end Opel Insignia wagon front end Opel Insignia wagon front end Opel Insignia wagon front end Opel Insignia wagon front end Opel Insignia wagon front end Opel Insignia wagon front end Opel Insignia wagon front end Opel Insignia wagon front end Opel Insignia wagon front end Opel Insignia wagon front end Opel Insignia wagon front end Opel Insignia wagon front end Opel Insignia wagon front end Opel Insignia wagon front end Opel Insignia wagon front end Opel Insignia wagon front end
Buick Avenir Sub-Brand Minivan Made for China http://www.automobilemag.com/news/buick-ushers-avenir-sub-brand-minivan-china/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/buick-ushers-avenir-sub-brand-minivan-china/#respond Wed, 02 Nov 2016 15:00:34 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1011435 Buick has announced the first model that will receive the Avenir treatment. The GL8 minivan for China will be the first vehicle to launch under Buick’s new Avenir sub-brand. About a month ago, Buick announced it would introduce a sub-brand for its higher-end offerings, much like GMC has done with Denali. The GL8 minivan was...

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Buick has announced the first model that will receive the Avenir treatment. The GL8 minivan for China will be the first vehicle to launch under Buick’s new Avenir sub-brand.

About a month ago, Buick announced it would introduce a sub-brand for its higher-end offerings, much like GMC has done with Denali. The GL8 minivan was already pretty luxurious, but the Avenir version brings upgraded features. It offers a few exclusive exterior details, including a daring Earl Purple paint as well as upgraded 18-inch multi-spoke aluminum alloy wheels. Inside, you’ll find decadent seats, plush carpeting, a suede ceiling, and 18 lighting options. Subtle Avenir badging is located throughout the cabin, including on the center console, door panels, and seats.

Buick GL8 Avenir seats

The Avenir sub-brand takes its name from a sleek, sporty sedan concept that Buick showed in 2015, so it’s a bit jarring to see the name arrive on a minivan. But it’s not surprising that China gets the first crack at the Avenir brand, as it is Buick’s largest market.

The GL8 is pretty popular in China, and a third-generation version is expected to launch this month. It features the new Buick global design language with a horizontal wing connecting the Buick insignia.

Buick-GL8-Avenir-grille-1 Buick-GL8-Avenir-cabin-1 Buick Avenir Sub-Brand

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http://www.automobilemag.com/news/buick-ushers-avenir-sub-brand-minivan-china/feed/ 0 Buick Avenir Sub-Brand Buick GL8 Avenir seats Buick Avenir Sub-Brand Buick Avenir Sub-Brand Buick Avenir Sub-Brand
Buick Gets Top Reliability Scores from Consumer Reports http://www.automobilemag.com/news/buick-gets-top-reliability-scores-consumer-reports/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/buick-gets-top-reliability-scores-consumer-reports/#respond Wed, 26 Oct 2016 17:59:31 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1009624 Good news for Buick fans is coming out of Yonkers, New York, the hometown of Consumer Reports. The brand receives kudos from the magazine, while other brands like Tesla and Honda plunge in their annual reliability rankings. The magazine announced recently in its “Annual Brand Reliability Survey” that Buick has become the first domestic brand...

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Good news for Buick fans is coming out of Yonkers, New York, the hometown of Consumer Reports. The brand receives kudos from the magazine, while other brands like Tesla and Honda plunge in their annual reliability rankings.

The magazine announced recently in its “Annual Brand Reliability Survey” that Buick has become the first domestic brand in more than three decades to be named one of the top three most reliable brands, joining long time favorites Lexus and Toyota.

“Buick’s achievement is commendable and sure to be a wake-up call to other manufacturers,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ testing director. “One reason why the brand has been able to leapfrog others in the General Motors’ stable has been its limited vehicle lineup – with none of the pickups and truck-based SUVs that have negatively impacted Cadillac and Chevrolet.”

According to the non-profit mag, Buick has been their top 10 reliability rankings for a number of recent years. But the competition is tough thanks to Lexus and Toyota; both badges have ruled the top spots for four years in a row.

Surprisingly, Honda did not fare as well and the Civic received a “much-worse-than-average” reliability flag for power equipment and infotainment system issues.

Another upset fell on Tesla, which also placed near the bottom the list and came in at number 25 for the Model X’s falcon-wing door problems. The crossover EV also lost ground for water leaks, infotainment, and climate-control system issues.

But on a positive note for Tesla, the Model S moved up a notch from below average reliability to average. It’s a little funny to say it, but it looks like Tesla has a long way to go to beat Buick.

The complete list of vehicles can be found in the December issue of the magazine and at www.ConsumerReports.org.

2017 Buick LaCrosse front end turn 2017 Buick LaCrosse side 2017 Buick LaCrosse rear three quarter 02 Buick LaCrosse

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Yes, That’s A Buick http://www.automobilemag.com/news/yes-thats-buick/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/yes-thats-buick/#respond Mon, 17 Oct 2016 12:00:04 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1002653 As I pull out of the hotel in downtown Portland headed north toward our midpoint in Astoria, Oregon, the jingle from Buick’s cheeky “That’s a Buick?” ad campaign starts playing on a loop in my head. Are the tatted-up hipsters and chic urban dwellers I’m passing doing a double take as I roll by in...

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As I pull out of the hotel in downtown Portland headed north toward our midpoint in Astoria, Oregon, the jingle from Buick’s cheeky “That’s a Buick?” ad campaign starts playing on a loop in my head.

Are the tatted-up hipsters and chic urban dwellers I’m passing doing a double take as I roll by in Buick’s all-new 2017 LaCrosse full-size sedan? I don’t notice any neck snapping nor head-scratching at the mere sight of it, but that’s clearly what Buick hopes for—that its commercials portraying people in disbelief over the company’s new look will play out in real life.

The Pacific Northwest isn’t exactly a part of the country where boatloads of Buicks roam, especially big sedans like the LaCrosse. But Buick is on the hunt for new buyers outside of its core demographic and traditional sales comfort zones. Whether it can acquire those customers is anybody’s guess, but everyone associated with the brand is upbeat at the prospect. They have recent successes to point to, specifically that some 50 percent of new Buick buyers are coming from outside the General Motors universe.

Acquiring customers in China, where the majority of Buicks are sold, isn’t as much of an issue. Buick’s extensive history in the country certainly didn’t hurt its cause when GM decided which brands to shutter after its bankruptcy. Jeff Yanssens, the LaCrosse chief engineer who has been to China dozens of times to work with Buick’s operations there, expects the new car to sell about the same as the outgoing one does, at about a 3-to-1 ratio between China and North America. The LaCrosse is Buick’s third-best seller internationally, trailing its two newest crossovers, the compact Encore and the midsize Envision, the latter of which caused a bit of a stir (at least within the UAW) when it was announced it would be built in China and exported here.

2017 Buick Encore front three quarter in motion 03 2017 Buick Encore side in motion 2017 Buick Encore rear three quarter 2017 Buick Encore interior

So the news out of China is good for Buick. All things considered, things aren’t bad on the home front either. Total sales through July 2016 are flat (best among GM brands), and that’s with the LaCrosse about to change over and the full-size Enclave crossover overdue for a makeover. Buick outsells Acura, Infiniti, and Lincoln in the U.S. As is the case in China, the Encore is Buick’s best-seller in America, with sales up 16 percent year on year. And there’s more new product on the way, with Buick saying it will debut seven all-new or significantly revised vehicles by 2018.

The latest vehicle in the Buick product assault is the new LaCrosse, aimed primarily at the Lexus ES. Yanssens made it clear at the outset of the drive that it isn’t a sport sedan and isn’t trying to be. But the key development everyone wearing a gray Buick shirt pointed to is the LaCrosse’s new five-link rear suspension, which is fitted to every flavor of the car, from the base, 18-inch wheel/front-drive package to the sportier, 20-inch wheel/all-wheel-drive model complete with continuous damping control.

The setup gave Buick’s engineering team some flexibility to dial in a modicum of handling prowess. “The benefits of the five-link are huge. It’s done a lot for this car. It helps the car turn-in, it helps on impacts, it helps rolling over bumps,” Yanssens says. Judging by my drive, the man speaks the truth.

2017 Buick LaCrosse front end in motion 02 2017 Buick LaCrosse rear three quarter 02 2017 Buick LaCrosse interior 2017 Buick LaCrosse rear interior seats

It’s a slightly more sporty approach than before, augmenting the LaCrosse’s “quiet tuning” and ride-comfort elements that were already in a good place and are even better with the new model. There is one powertrain, a version of GM’s new-generation 3.6-liter V-6 with 310 horsepower, mated to an eight-speed automatic. While GM will offer 2.0-liter and 1.5-liter turbo versions of the car in China, Yanssens said those engines don’t make sense here and one package allowed the team to focus on perfecting it for the car.

Then there’s the LaCrosse’s exterior style, featuring multiple elements of the Buick Avenir concept from 2015, a design our own Robert Cumberford called “a near-perfect expression of the traditional American car.” It’s a handsome, lower, wider look with signature elements, including the winged, harp-like grille with Buick’s prominent red, white, and blue logo (although I’m over the faux portholes). We’ll take it over the Predator-look grille of the Lexus ES.

While I was impressed with the LaCrosse, I’m not so sure most Portland area residents will be down with it. But chances are they’re giving Buick’s vehicles, especially its crossovers, more than a passing glance, and this bodes well for its future products. That is, if they realize they’re looking at a Buick.

2017 Buick LaCrosse top view in motion 2017 Buick LaCrosse side 2017 Buick LaCrosse side profile 2017 Buick LaCrosse side in motion 2017 Buick LaCrosse side 02 2017 Buick LaCrosse rear three quarter 2017 Buick LaCrosse rear three quarter in motion 2017 Buick LaCrosse rear three quarter 03 2017 Buick LaCrosse rear three quarter 02 2017 Buick LaCrosse rear side in motion 2017 Buick LaCrosse front three quarters in motion 2017 Buick LaCrosse front three quarter turn 2017 Buick LaCrosse front three quarter 02 2017 Buick LaCrosse front side 2017 Buick LaCrosse front end in motion 02 2017 Buick LaCrosse front end in motion 2017 Buick LaCrosse front end turn 2017 Buick LaCrosse rear interior seats 2017 Buick LaCrosse interior 2017 Buick LaCrosse interior door panel 2017 Buick LaCrosse instrument cluster 2017 Buick LaCrosse cockpit 2017 Buick LaCrosse center stack 2017 Buick Encore front end in motion 2017 Buick Encore front three quarter 02 2017 Buick Encore front three quarter in motion 03 2017 Buick Encore front three quarters 2017 Buick Encore rear three quarter in motion 02 2017 Buick Encore rear three quarter in motion 2017 Buick Encore rear three quarter 2017 Buick Encore side in motion 2017 Buick Encore front three quarter 2017 Buick Encore interior 2017 Buick Envision side in motion 2017 Buick Envision rear three quarter in motion 2017 Buick Envision rear end 2017 Buick Envision rear end in motion 2017 Buick Envision front three quarters in motion 2017 Buick Envision front three quarter in motion 2017 Buick Envision front three quarter in motion 02

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Buick Debuts Avenir Sub-Brand http://www.automobilemag.com/news/buick-launches-avenir-sub-brand/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/buick-launches-avenir-sub-brand/#respond Fri, 30 Sep 2016 17:25:12 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=998899 Buick is finally launching the Avenir, but not in the way you’d expect. Starting from the 2018 model year, Avenir will debut as a sub-brand dedicated to Buick’s higher-end offerings. The sub-brand takes its name after the Buick Avenir concept, which debuted at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. Buick says that concept will serve as...

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Buick is finally launching the Avenir, but not in the way you’d expect. Starting from the 2018 model year, Avenir will debut as a sub-brand dedicated to Buick’s higher-end offerings.

The sub-brand takes its name after the Buick Avenir concept, which debuted at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. Buick says that concept will serve as inspiration for future cars that launch under the Avenir sub-brand.

2015 Buick Avenir Concept

Buick says the sub-brand is its version of GMC’s Denali line. Avenir vehicles launching in the 2018 model year will feature unique design details to separate them from standard Buick cars. Look for large-diameter wheels, unique trim finishes, and a three-dimensional grille similar to the one on the Avenir concept, and more recently, the Avista coupe concept. Inside the cabin, the cars will receive special detailing on the seats, modern trim materials, and Avenir badging.

The automaker says the sub-brand comes as a response to customers looking for a more premium experience on their Buick cars. Ninety percent of buyers who purchase the Enclave, one of Buick’s best-selling vehicles, end up selecting between the two top trim levels.

“Avenir will be Buick’s signature,” Duncan Aldred, vice president of Global Buick Sales, Service, and Marketing, said in a press release. “The highest expression of the luxury experiences we’re delivering now and in the future.”

While the Avenir Concept may not make it to production, we shouldn’t rule out all hopes for a slickly styled Buick. Earlier this year, our colleagues at Motor Trend reported that GM was mulling a four-door Buick Avista coupe.

2015 Buick Avenir Concept front 2 2015 Buick Avenir Concept front 1 2015 Buick Avenir Concept front wheel 2015 Buick Avenir Concept rear 1 2015 Buick Avenir Concept rear 2 2015 Buick Avenir Concept interior 3 2015 Buick Avenir Concept side 1 2015 Buick Avenir Concept sketch 1

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First Drive: 2017 Buick LaCrosse http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-buick-lacrosse-first-drive/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-buick-lacrosse-first-drive/#respond Tue, 16 Aug 2016 10:00:22 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=977300 We’re hustling down a glorious stretch of freshly paved road just south of Astoria, Oregon, late braking, pushing hard into wide sweepers. The big sedan is handling its business well, the car’s 310-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 providing ample motivation and appropriate sonic thunder as we power out of a corner. Did we mention that it’s a Buick? Yes,...

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We’re hustling down a glorious stretch of freshly paved road just south of Astoria, Oregon, late braking, pushing hard into wide sweepers. The big sedan is handling its business well, the car’s 310-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 providing ample motivation and appropriate sonic thunder as we power out of a corner. Did we mention that it’s a Buick?

Yes, it’s a Buick. Specifically, the 2017 Buick LaCrosse full-size 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.

The biggest reason why the LaCrosse is better in the ride and handling arenas is the addition of a five-link rear suspension, which is now standard across the sedan’s lineup. According to LaCrosse chief engineer Jeff Yanssens, the benefits of the five-link are myriad: “It’s done a lot for this car. It helps the car turn in, it helps on impacts, it helps rolling over bumps,” Yanssens says. After my drive, I didn’t find any reason to disagree with that assessment.

2017 Buick LaCrosse rear three quarter in motion

While the full-size sedan segment isn’t exactly blowing up in the U.S. (all signs point to it further contracting as crossovers continue to push the market’s growth), the second-generation LaCrosse is nonetheless an important vehicle for the brand on multiple levels.

It’s a style play, as it carries through several cues from the well-received Buick Avenir concept first seen at the 2015 Detroit auto show. It’s a technology showcase, thanks largely to the addition of the five-link, an updated powertrain, and new convenience and connectivity options. It also pushes Buick’s ‘quiet tuning’ philosophy forward thanks to further refinements.

According to Yanssens, there are two distinct versions of the 2017 LaCrosse, the base models with 18-inch wheels and front-wheel drive and the “twin-clutch” all-wheel drive versions with 20-inch wheels fitted with Buick’s continuous damping control system. We sampled flavors of both variations, and as expected, the 18-inch package is the more sedate car, the less expensive volume model most buyers will gravitate toward. You can option the front-drive LaCrosse with GM’s HiPer strut front suspension if you opt for the 20-inch wheels, which is primarily a torque steer mitigation play. For a car with a 62/38 front/rear weight distribution, we’d recommend it to those who like to stomp the throttle from a stop light.

But it was the 20-inch, AWD model we were hustling on the way back from Astoria to Portland, the car that Yanssens called out as the performer of the two. Our car even had a sport button, which primarily firms up the steering and shock damping just a bit, but that’s about the extent of the enhancements when the button is pushed.

2017 Buick LaCrosse rear side in motion

The car’s updated, naturally aspirated, direct injection 3.6-liter V-6 with the aforementioned 310 horses and 282 lb-ft of torque, paired to a capable and smooth operating 8-speed automatic, motivates the car with relative authority and sounds pretty darn good doing it with the throttle pinned. (All LaCrosse models have paddle shifters that proved relatively responsive). While Buick wasn’t providing performance estimates, the outgoing car was in the high sixes to 60 mph. Expect similar or a bit lower from the new car, especially the lighter weight, 18-inch rim models (3,598 lbs for FWD and 3,840 for AWD, according to Buick). One thing, if you hate stop/start systems, you’re going to be annoyed that you cannot turn it off. Yanssens says this is a GM-wide initiative: “We’re aiming to have the best, least intrusive systems in the industry.” To be fair, it is pretty good, but still noticeable.

The LaCrosse’s AWD system is an on-demand type that can send up to 100 percent of available torque forward or rearward when necessary.  The torque split is constantly varied to best suit the driving conditions.  Instead of a more traditional front-drive based unit, which utilizes a clutch pack in front of the rear drive unit, which controls the torque flow to a differential that then splits the torque to the rear wheels, the Buick system employs two clutch packs located in the rear drive unit to do the torque shifting between axles. It also replaces the need for a differential as the clutches can also independently transmit 100 percent of available torque to either rear wheel depending on the situation.

2017 Buick LaCrosse front end in motion 02

So in addition to simply acting as a bad weather traction system, the twin clutch setup can also help with dry-weather handling when you’re getting after it like we did out on the Oregon back roads. Combined with the car’s continuous damping control system, the MacPherson strut front and five-link rear, and strong, power assisted brakes with a firm pedal feel, it adds up to a solid dynamic package.

We had so much fun ripping around in the LaCrosse that we apparently overheated something, getting an “all-wheel drive system deactivated” warning twice. We talked with Yanssens about it. He smiled and said “you guys must have been getting really aggressive out there” (guilty as charged). While he reminded us once again that the LaCrosse isn’t a performance sedan, he promised to report back on the exact cause when they track it down. They told us that indeed, we got things too hot and it dialed it back to front drive as a preventative measure to keep hot-footed journalists like yours truly from damaging the internals. Fair enough.

When the road straightened out and things got more relaxed, we had a chance to better take in the cabin and its amenities. From my seat of the ear evaluation, the 2017 LaCrosse seems relatively isolated inside at speed, especially so when we had stretches of road where tire noise wasn’t an issue. Buick engineers utilized several abatement strategies, including next-level stuff like layering special sound-deadening materials into the A-pillars and active noise cancellation through the car’s speakers (whether the stereo is on or not), to further tune the quietness.

2017 Buick LaCrosse interior

The LaCrosse is a luxury-leaning fullsizer at its core. To that end, the seats are supremely comfortable in front, and there is plenty of room in back for rear seat denizens, thanks in part to a wheelbase stretched by 2.7-inches over the outgoing car. Fold down rear seats further open up an already copious 15 cu-ft of trunk space.

Buick has a new shifting mechanism that takes a little getting used to (up and to the left for reverse), but its electronic setup allowed the interior team to open up storage room below the center console. Most of the vehicle functions are run though the 8-inch center screen or in the instrument panel using the steering wheel controls. There aren’t a lot of buttons other than a prominent set for the climate control. While the cabin seemed pretty well put together overall, swaths of black dominating the dash and center infotainment area in the cars we drove came off a bit drab (to be fair, there are two alternative color packages). As is the case with many GM cars these days, 4GLTE connectivity, heads up display, advanced OnStar capability, Apple CarPlay and Andriod Auto, adaptive cruise and other safety nannies like lane departure are either standard or available.

2017 Buick LaCrosse top view in motion

At our midway stop, we had a chance to walk around and take in 2017 LaCrosse’s new suit. It’s a significant step forward from the previous car. The roofline is 1.6-inches lower and it is 0.4-inches wider. The wheels have been pushed out 1.3-inches in front, 1.1 at the rear for the vaunted wheels-at-the-corner effect. And while the wheelbase is stretched 2.7-inches, it’s just 0.6-inches longer overall.

Out front, a version of Buick’s harplike grille is punctuated by a winged element with the proud red, white and blue Buick badge affixed in the center—all of it framed by attractive, sweptback LED light banks. The side mirrors have been moved to the door and optimized to lower sound issues, and the flanks are dominated by a version of Buick’s swoopy ‘sweepspear’ design theme.

The rear is attractive enough, with rectangular chrome exhaust ports and more LED lighting that integrates neatly into the trunk. We could do without the really tired faux portholes and the chrome trim piece on the lower profile, but other than that, it’s a good looking package and certainly every bit the match for the Lexus ES, which Buick has called out as the LaCrosse’s primary competitor.

Buick’s made a lot of hay lately with its “That’s a Buick?” ad campaign, its cheeky way to showcase how far it has come and how much it’s breaking away from its past. With cars like the LaCrosse, Buick is proving that it has a pretty good shot at carving out a promising future.

2017 Buick LaCrosse side

2017 Buick LaCrosse Specifications

On Sale: Now
Price: $32,990 (base)
Engine: 3.6L DOHC 24-valve V-6/310 hp @ 6,800 rpm, 268 lb-ft @ 5,200 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Layout: 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, FWD/AWD sedan
EPA Mileage: 20-21/29-31 mpg (city/hwy)
L x W x H: 197.5.X x 73.5 x 57.5 in
Wheelbase: 114.4 in
Weight: 3,598 lb
0-60 MPH: 6.6 sec (est)
Top Speed: N/A
2017 Buick LaCrosse rear three quarter 03 2017 Buick LaCrosse front end in motion 2017 Buick LaCrosse side 02 2017 Buick LaCrosse side profile 2017 Buick LaCrosse side in motion 2017 Buick LaCrosse rear three quarter 02 2017 Buick LaCrosse top view in motion 2017 Buick LaCrosse side 2017 Buick LaCrosse rear three quarter 2017 Buick LaCrosse rear side in motion 2017 Buick LaCrosse rear three quarter in motion 2017 Buick LaCrosse front end in motion 02 2017 Buick LaCrosse front end turn 2017 Buick LaCrosse front three quarter 02 2017 Buick LaCrosse front three quarter turn 2017 Buick LaCrosse front three quarters in motion 2017 Buick LaCrosse front side 2017 Buick LaCrosse rear interior seats 2017 Buick LaCrosse interior 2017 Buick LaCrosse interior door panel 2017 Buick LaCrosse instrument cluster 2017 Buick LaCrosse cockpit 2017 Buick LaCrosse center stack

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One Week With: 2016 Buick Cascada http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2016-buick-cascada-one-week-review/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2016-buick-cascada-one-week-review/#respond Fri, 12 Aug 2016 10:00:38 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=975536 One annoyance from the 2016 Buick Cascada compact convertible is that those of us used to keyless-go (we know – auto journo problems) will get into the comfortable driver’s seat and buckle up before realizing we can’t go anywhere with the ignition key fob in our pocket. Foreign switchgear has long been an issue for...

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One annoyance from the 2016 Buick Cascada compact convertible is that those of us used to keyless-go (we know – auto journo problems) will get into the comfortable driver’s seat and buckle up before realizing we can’t go anywhere with the ignition key fob in our pocket.

Foreign switchgear has long been an issue for European and Australian General Motors cars rebadged for North America, beginning with the 2004 Pontiac GTO. It once afflicted the Saturn Astra and Pontiac G8, and now it afflicts the Chevrolet SS sport sedan and Caprice cop car. Even as a halo, the Polish-built Buick Cascada doesn’t come with the Apple CarPlay/Android for Autos features available in lesser models. It does have Intellilink with navigation and 4G LTE with a hot spot, though, along with a nice host of modern safety features, at least in the top-spec Premium trim.

Once you dig out the key and insert it into the ignition switch, the Cascada’s interior is a nice place to be, with stitched leather-covered seats and a nicely padded, stitched dash. A detachable front seat air deflector fits over the rear seats, which are short on legroom. Pop-up emergency rollover bars are hidden in a panel at the rear cowl, behind the rear headrests.

2016 Buick Cascada rear three quarter 01

Front suspension is GM’s HiPer Strut, designed to eliminate torque steer and improve steering feel. Rear suspension is a Watts Z-link, which means it’s a lowly beam axle, but with the link providing good lateral control.

Introduced in 2013 as the Opel/Vauxhall Cascada, the Buick convertible follows the trend away from folding hardtops and features a heavy, sturdy insulated ragtop instead. It can be lowered in 17 seconds at cruising speeds of up to 31 mph. Cowl shake is minimal, but present, as this is a unibody convertible, after all. Power from the 200-hp, 1.6-liter turbocharged four can best be described as adequate, and it’s not as smooth as we’d like in a relaxed ragtop, considering the peaky turbo. With all the added bracing, the Buick Cascada’s curb weight is a robust 3,979 pounds, which makes it 53 pounds heavier than a Cadillac CT6 with all-wheel-drive and 3.6-liter V-6.

Combining the substantial mass with 20-inch aluminum wheels, the Buick Cascada feels more substantial than a compact. The 20s are typical of modern let’s-fill-the-wheel-wells overkill, but the feeling that you’re driving a bigger car isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The ride and handling are nicely balanced, and well tilted toward the ride side, as it should be for a relaxed convertible with absolutely no sports car pretentions. Chevrolet sells a nicely redone Camaro convertible to better suit those automotive needs. Turn-in is average, there’s some feel and feedback from the steering, and the benign understeer becomes tire-squealing excess only when you try to drive it as no Buick Cascada buyer will (or should, anyway).

As a convertible and as a Buick, the Cascada is a decent pick. At $33,990 for the base, 1SV trim and $36,990 for the Premium, with just a few options available, consider it a credible competitor for the $36,600-$48,450 (plus options) Audi A3, rather than as the spiritual successor to the unmissed Chrysler Sebring/200 convertible. As a halo car, it seems a sort of stopgap model, having arrived at the resurgent division three full years after its debut in Europe at Opel/Vauxhall dealers.

Yes, we’re going down this well-travelled road once again: Giving us hope that Buick could finally get at least one rear-drive model, while Chevrolet has several. Division chief Duncan Aldred hinted at the Detroit show last January that a car like the Alpha-based Avista could be the halo to replace the Cascada when its time is done. A four-door Buick Avista could arrive about time for the 2019 model year, some six years after the Opel Cascada.

But that’s not all that long for a low-volume specialty convertible, especially after just three years on the North American market. Having long re-established itself in China, Buick is gaining notice here as a brand that’s more than a fleet of well-optioned Chevys for aging customers and their parents. There should be room in the lineup for both the Cascada and the Avista. Like the rest of the automotive world, Buick will be lavishing its mainstream-model attention on a burgeoning SUV lineup, anyway. And perhaps by 2019, Opel/Buick can prepare a Cascada model refresh that includes keyless-go.

2016 Buick Cascada front three quarter 04 2016 Buick Cascada front three quarter 02 2016 Buick Cascada rear three quarter 04 2016 Buick Cascada rear three quarter 03 2016 Buick Cascada cabin 01 2016 Buick Cascada shifter 01 2016 Buick Cascada seats 02 2016 Buick Cascada cargo space 2016 Buick Cascada wheel 2016 Buick Cascada side profile 01 2016 Buick Cascada side profile 02 2016 Buick Cascada rear three quarter 02 2016 Buick Cascada rear three quarter 01 2016 Buick Cascada front three quarter 06 2016 Buick Cascada front three quarter 03 2016 Buick Cascada front end 2016 Buick Cascada front three quarter 05 2016 Buick Cascada headlamp 2016 Buick Cascada badge 02 2016 Buick Cascada steering wheel and center stack 2016 Buick Cascada shifter 02 2016 Buick Cascada seats 01 2016 Buick Cascada seat detail 2016 Buick Cascada instrument panel 2016 Buick Cascada infotainment 2016 Buick Cascada headrests 2016 Buick Cascada grille 2016 Buick Cascada badge 01 2016 Buick Cascada front end detail 2016 Buick Cascada engine 2016 Buick Cascada door trim panel 2016 Buick Cascada door sill 2016 Buick Cascada convertible top control 2016 Buick Cascada climate vent 2016 Buick Cascada cabin 02 2016 Buick Cascada center stack detail 2016 Buick Cascada cabin 03

2016 Buick Cascada Premium Specifications

On Sale: Now
Price: $36,990/$37,485 base/as-tested
Engine: 1.6L DOHC 16-valve turbocharged I-4/200 hp @5,500 rpm, 207 lb-ft. @ 1,800–4,500 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Layout: 2-door, 4-passenger, front-engine, FWD convertible
EPA Mileage: 20/27 mpg (city/highway)
L x W x H: 184.9 x 72.4 x 56.8 in
Wheelbase: 106.1 in
Weight: 3,979 lb
0-60 MPH: 8.1 sec
Top Speed: N/A

 

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1938 Buick Y-Job Concept Added to National Historic Vehicle Register http://www.automobilemag.com/news/1938-buick-y-job-concept-added-to-national-historic-vehicle-register/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/1938-buick-y-job-concept-added-to-national-historic-vehicle-register/#respond Wed, 03 Aug 2016 15:10:50 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=973175 General Motors’ styling department, led by design legend Harley Earl, was tasked in the late 1930s with imagining the car of tomorrow. That car, known internally as the Buick “Y-Job,” predicted the design trends of the 1950s and beyond, and is regarded by many as the first American concept car. Now, the Y-Job is getting...

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General Motors’ styling department, led by design legend Harley Earl, was tasked in the late 1930s with imagining the car of tomorrow. That car, known internally as the Buick “Y-Job,” predicted the design trends of the 1950s and beyond, and is regarded by many as the first American concept car. Now, the Y-Job is getting some official recognition as the 14th vehicle entered into the National Historic Vehicle Register.

The National Historic Vehicle Register is a program established in 2014 by the Historic Vehicle Association (HVA) with help from the U.S. Department of the Interior, Heritage Documentation Programs, and Library of Congress. The register’s mission is to document significant automobiles from America’s history. The Y-Job’s addition to the register coincides with the opening of the HVA’s National Laboratory in Allentown, Pa., which was built to advance the expansion of the program. The facility houses a 3D scanner, a 40 x 40-foot white room with vehicle turntable for photography and videography, and the HVA’s physical and digital archives. The Y-Job was the first car to be documented at the laboratory.

1938 Buick Y Job at HVA National Laboratory

The Y-Job was a two-door convertible built on a Buick chassis and powered by a Buick Series 50 engine equipped with experimental features. But the Y-Job’s real claim to fame is its design. The car’s low, wide body meant it didn’t need running boards, which were commonly used on cars of the day. The low and wide philosophy also aided in stability. The fenders wrapped around the front end for a more streamlined look, and the boat-tail rear completely hid the convertible top. The Y-Job also marked the first appearance of the tailfin, a design trend that wouldn’t become popular until the ‘50s. In addition, the concept originated Buick’s trademark waterfall grille and employed retractable headlights.

Harley Earl and the Buick Y-Job expanded the boundaries of car design and drew the blueprint for concept vehicle design and execution,” said GM global design vice president Michael Simcoe, in a release. “We thank the HVA for ensuring the world’s first concept car is documented and preserved for future generations.”

So far, the register includes a 1964 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe prototype, a 1947 Tucker ’48 prototype, a 1940 GM Futureliner used in the GM Parade of Progress, President Ronald Reagan’s 1962 Willys Jeep CJ-6, and several other vehicles the HVA deemed worthy of inclusion. What vehicles do you think should be added next? Tell us in the comments below.

1938 Buick Y Job interior plaque 1938 Buick Y Job HVA National Historic Vehicle Register unveiling 1938 Buick Y Job HVA National Historic Vehicle Register plaque 1938 Buick Y Job concept front right side 10374204 buick celebrates 110th birthday18 10606613 1938 Buick Y Job front left side

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New Study Ranks Most American-Made Vehicles in 2016 http://www.automobilemag.com/news/new-study-ranks-american-made-vehicles-2016/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/new-study-ranks-american-made-vehicles-2016/#respond Tue, 21 Jun 2016 13:11:41 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=957767 American University’s Kogod School of Business has just released its annual Made in America Auto Index study, which determines, among other things, how much a vehicle contributes to the U.S. economy. Not surprisingly, topping the list are domestic brands like Chevrolet and Ford, while Japanese and German companies dominate the bottom. Kogod’s data is different from...

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American University’s Kogod School of Business has just released its annual Made in America Auto Index study, which determines, among other things, how much a vehicle contributes to the U.S. economy. Not surprisingly, topping the list are domestic brands like Chevrolet and Ford, while Japanese and German companies dominate the bottom.

2017 GMC Acadia front three quarter 04 2016 Chevrolet Traverse LTZ front three quarter in motion Four Seasons Corvette Stingray Return to Bowling Green EW 33 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid rear three quarter 04

Kogod’s data is different from that of the American Automotive Labeling Act (AALA). Under the AALA, automakers must display (on a vehicle’s new car window sticker) what percentage of a vehicle’s parts content comes from America and Canada, along with the part’s country of assembly and the origin of the engine and transmission. Kogod says its study is more accurate than the AALA’s for a number of reasons. For starters, under the AALA, a part only needs to be valued as 70-percent U.S./Canadian for it to be considered a domestic product.

Kogod’s study goes further by considering seven factors. The criteria are listed and explained as so:

  1. Profit Margin. This was measured based on the location of an automaker’s headquarters. If an automaker’s global headquarters is located in the US, the model receives a 6. If it is not, it receives a 0. The assumption here is that (on average), 6% of a vehicle’s value is profit margin, so if it is a U.S. automaker, the profits remain in the country.
  2. Labor. This category considers where the car is assembled. If a model is assembled in the US, it receives a 6. If not, the model receives a 0. We assume that approximately 6% of the vehicle’s value is labor content.
  3. Research and Development (R&D). This category looks at the location of a car’s R&D activities. If the model is a product of a US company, it receives a 6. If it is the product of a foreign company but is assembled in the U.S. it receives a 3; if it is a foreign import, it receives a 1.
  4. Inventory, Capital and other expenses. If assembly occurs in the US, the model receives an 11; if not, it receives a 0.
  5. Engine. If the engine is produced in the US, the model receives a 14; if not it receives a 0.
  6. Transmission. If the transmission is produced in the US, the model receives a 7; if not it receives a 0.
  7. Body, Chassis, and Electrical Components. 50 % of a vehicle’s score is assigned to this category. The AALA percentage is divided into two to derive this score.

Based on those rules and scoring systems, the top three American-made vehicles are all from General Motors and are tied in first place: Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, and GMC Acadia. Those vehicles also take up the top three spots in the AALA study. Meanwhile, the Ford F-150 places second in the Kogod study while the Corvette comes in third.

The Honda Accord is the study’s top-ranked Japanese make (in fifth place). Japanese and German vehicles like the Scion tC and Mercedes S-Class dominate the bottom of the list, with essentially no parts sourced from domestic sources. To see the full study, click HERE.

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