New take on Buick grille heralds new LaCrosse

New sedan takes grille, design cues from Avenir concept shown in Detroit

Published: September 23, 2015, 4:00 AM
Updated: April 29, 2018, 1:37 PM

2017 Buick LaCrosse grille

Buick has confirmed it will introduce a new LaCrosse mid-sized sedan for 2017 at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November, 2015, and released a teaser image of the new waterfall grille that will become the new face of Buick.

2015 NAIAS - Buick Avenir Concept - Buick Avenir Concept It’s been 20 years since Buick offered a rear-wheel-drive sedan, and the company is hoping to fix that problem if its Avenir Concept is any indication. The gorgeous full-size sedan brings touches of Bentley’s ultra-lux offerings, with large sculpted rear fenders, a very long hood and 21-inch wheels at all four corners. The interior is dripping with beautiful touches, including a 12-inch screen, wireless charging for mobile devices and more. Power comes from a ‘next-generation’ V-6 engine with a nine-speed automatic transmission and an on-demand all-wheel drive system.  

The grille is taken from the Buick Avenir concept sedan that gives a pretty good indication of what the new LaCrosse will look like. Like many of today’s cars, the grille is larger and moulded into a hexagonal shape, and wears a sort of winged badge that extends outward to the headlights. The logo at the centre of the wing, though has been transformed back into the coloured Trishield the company adopted in 1959.

The logo was derived from the Buick ancestral coat of arms (a red shield with a checkered blue/silver diagonal stripe) and used on Buick vehicles dating back to the 1930s. The first appearance of the three separate shields (red, white and blue) was on the 1960 Electra, Invicta and LeSabre, and was actually meant to designate the three cars as the cornerstones of the Buick line-up. It underwent various minor changes until 2002, when it was made monochrome silver.

The Avenir concept was introduced at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and was originally thought to foreshadow a new flagship sedan for the brand (based on the rear-wheel drive Cadillac CT6). The name was derived from the French à venir, which means “to come.”

Buick Wildcat II concept

Buick has stated the new Avenir-inspired design (which itself was reportedly inspired by the 1954 Wildcat II concept, though I don’t see it) will be adopted across the Buick lineup by the 2018 model year.

“The Avenir concept shattered expectations of what a Buick could be and the 2017 LaCrosse promises to do the same,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Buick. “Its expressive design represents a break from convention and highlights the progressiveness in all new Buick models.”

Not much is known about the new LaCrosse, other than what has been revealed by Buick with the teaser image – it’ll ride on a new lighter chassis, with a five-link rear suspension that’s going to improve handling and ride quality.

Buick Avenir concept

The Avenir looked pretty much production ready when it was introduced, with nice proportions for the four door coupe bodystyle that is so popular these days. It’s full sized, which may prove too large for a LaCrosse, and based on the Omega architecture, which is what the new CT6 will pioneer. It is a flexible platform, capable of accommodating rear and all-wheel drive cars, but it will remain to be seen if the LaCrosse embraces it and steps up to become the Buick flagship many predicted for Avenir.

Some rumours have Avenir maybe keeping that name if/when it goes into production, in that it ties to one of the classic Buick nameplates of all time – Park Avenue. The LaCrosse would therefore be a stepping stone toward the large, flagship Buick (Avenir is noticeably bigger than the current mid-sized LaCrosse)

Avenir gets its power from a V6, with this latest generation enhanced with stop/start and cylinder deactivation technologies. Power is delivered to all four wheels through a nine-speed automatic with paddle shifting. The current LaCrosse has a V6 option (3.6 litres) and is front- or all-wheel drive, using a six-speed automatic.

The Avenir cabin seats four, which might be an option for the new LaCrosse. Most likely, the car will stay with the Buick space philosophy and offer seating for five as standard. The interior is also chock full of technology, including rear-seat infotainment with display in the back of the front seats, wireless charging for mobile devices, and driver recognition features that automatically synch up infotainment preferences.