By on June 5, 2017

2017 Buick LaCrosse rear - Image: Buick

There was plenty to like about Buick’s heavily revised 2017 Buick LaCrosse when it debuted last year, but the shrinking passenger car market rubbed some of the shine off the full-sizer’s standard features and newfound efficiency. It also propelled sales further downhill.

Buick isn’t resting on its laurels for the generation’s sophomore year. For 2018, Buick’s eAssist mild hybrid system returns to the LaCrosse after a year’s absence, joined by a new transmission in V6-powered models and a starting price designed to lure more buyers into the showroom.

General Motors hasn’t released power specifications for the electrified entry-level model, but it does claim a 9-percent increase in torque compared to past eAssist models. That’s thanks to a revised hybrid system aiding a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which is a tenth of a liter larger than the previous base mill. The automaker predicts a 19-percent increase in city fuel economy compared to the available 310-horsepower 3.6-liter V6. If you’re curious, the EPA rates that model at 21 mpg in the city.

Expect a smoother start-stop experience with the eAssist model’s 0.45 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Also, expect to pay over a grand less for a base model. The 2018 LaCrosse will arrive with a pre-delivery MSRP of $30,490, compared to the 2017 model’s $32,065.

A more traditional large sedan experience remains optional to LaCrosse buyers. For those looking for a higher trim level and none of that hybrid jazz, the V6 model will ditch its eight-speed automatic for a nine-speed unit. Buick promises “a smooth and refined shifting experience” with this transmission, though the previous unit wasn’t exactly a balky affair. Buick hasn’t said if fuel economy stands to benefit from the change.

Another key change awaits the LaCrosse in 2018. No doubt realizing it needs to sweeten the pot amid falling sales, the automaker has announced all-wheel-drive will no longer be the sole domain of the top-flight Premium trim level. Buyers of the second-from-top Essence model can have their AWD, too. All buyers can choose from three new colors.

The 2018 Buick LaCrosse arrives on dealer lots this fall.

[Image: General Motors]

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