By on January 9, 2018

2018 Buick LaCrosse Avenir, Image: GM

We joke, but there’s many among us — even here at TTAC — who would love to see the full-size sedan segment return to its former glory. Ford can ditch this EcoSport idea and get back to building Galaxies and LTDs and Fairlanes, Dodge can reintroduce the Monaco and Polara, and Buick can slot the Electra 225 above its current LaCrosse.

Sadly, aficionados of the traditional passenger car, especially the largest class, are dwindling in the face of intense wooing from the crossover brigade. Once one discover what a high seating position and all-wheel drive can do for your life (and your confidence), one rarely goes back. Each year, fewer and fewer return for the LaCrosse.

It is against this backdrop that the division’s flagship sedan debuts its newly luxurious Avenir trim. As the second model to wear the name of Buick’s premium sub-brand, can the new trim lift the model’s falling fortunes?

The jury’s out on that, as it seems the Avenir trim is more about boosting profit from that shrinking volume. With a price tag of $45,795 after delivery, the LaCrosse Avenir retails for $3,700 more than the previous top-rung trim, the LaCrosse Premium. Adding all-wheel drive inflates the sticker to $47,995.

Starting price for a front-drive 2018 LaCrosse rings in at just over $30k.

Avenir, like GMC’s Denali, is all about appearance trappings and upgraded standard content. As such, the LaCrosse Avenir comes loaded to the gills, and then some. A trim-specific grille mimicking that of the Enclave Avenir, special badging and wheel choices, scripted sill plates, embroidered headrests, premium audio, and a panoramic sunroof come standard. (As the Avenir name is still early in its life, don’t expect much reaction when passengers see that sill plate.)

“Nine out of ten LaCrosse buyers are choosing one of the top two trim levels — customers are signaling they want more from Buick,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Global Buick and GMC, in describing the motivation to build an Avenir-spec LaCrosse.

Not to get too cynical, but with LaCrosse sales falling, bolstering the top of the range delivers more dollars to GM coffers before company brass delivers a decision on the model’s future. Already, rumors abound of a culling of slow-selling models. GM’s Hamtramck plant shut down for an extended period last fall to whittle down a bursting inventory. It’s a shame, as the LaCrosse, while definitely not a Millennial dream machine, is a capable and supremely comfortable vehicle with surprising fuel economy.

But the buying public has spoken. Those few that want a near-premium sedan want extra goodies, and those that don’t, well, they want trucks, crossovers, and SUVs. Buick LaCrosse sales fell 51 percent in December, with 2017 volume down some 26.9 percent.

The most decked-out LaCrosse at the dealership hits the market this spring.

[Image: General Motors]

 

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60 Comments on “The Price of Aveniring: Top-flight Buick LaCrosse Sees a Sticker Jump, But You’ve Already Stopped Reading This...”


  • avatar
    dwford

    At your local Buick/Cadillac/GMC dealer, you can choose between this nice LaCrosse Avenir V6 AWD for $48k, or step up another $5k to get the CTS 2.0T AWD.

    • 0 avatar
      Mark Stevenson

      And yet both answers are wrong, regardless of question.

      • 0 avatar
        ttiguy

        Puh-lease Mark Stevenson. What an uninformed and/or biased reply.

        You can decide which it is.

        The CTS is a fine sedan and so is the LaCrosse. The CTS may not be the top of the heap anymore in it’s segment, but it’s still a great driving car which is entering the final year of the lifecycle.

        The entire segment is dead, thats why sales are falling.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Except, the CTS is a lot tighter when it comes to interior space and at that price-point has a 2.0T.

      Not everyone wants the same type of vehicle – the CTS and XTS compete at the same price-point but appeal to different type of buyers.

      Considering that 9 out of 10 LaCrosse buyers opt for the top 2 trims and the success GMC has had with Denali, wouldn’t be surprised if the Avenir trim does well for LaCrosse (esp. as the XTS is slated to be discontinued in about a year or so).

      As for the CTS, it was hampered from the start by poor packaging (trying to sell a luxury sedan to the American market that is lagging behind in interior space compared to the competition was not the way to go).

      The much roomier CT6 will be taking over duty in the mid-price sedan segment for Cadillac.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      The fact that the Buick is the better luxury car outlines GM’s upper end problem. The Buick has a nicer, roomier interior, better infotainment, better engine and is better equipped for the same money. Yes the CTS is the better drivers car but 99.9% of the market doesn’t care, which is why they are abandoning the segment for crossovers.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    And how do your pronounce “Avenir”?

    Nice car, but how much gingerbread can you slather on a car before it just makes more sense to get a better fundamental vehicle with less extraneous crap hanging on it?

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    So-the market doesn’t want sedans-so let’s come out with even a more expensive one!

    Makes perfect sense…….

    Sounds like one from off rental will be the way to buy.

  • avatar
    carguy

    This market segment is really not my cup of tea but given the choice between this and a loaded Lexus ES350 I would choose the Buick every time.

  • avatar

    I just rolled over 30,000 miles on my 2017 Lacrosse.

    rides and handles great, heating system blows (pun intended)

    I’ll buy an Avenir when they change the ugly egg shell grille.

    side note, my 2018 Regal was built 12/19 in Germany…
    can’t get any info as to when I’ll see the car.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Regal are on the east coasts right now. I saw a couple of dealership photos on cars.com. The real shocker seeing dealership photos of the TourX…it is not very Buick from the side. I’ll wait to see it in the wild.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        Oh yes, college educated folks in Boston, NYC, Philly, and DC will be getting in fistfights in the Buick showrooms for a chance to buy one. NOT.

      • 0 avatar
        JRoth

        That’s what I’m waiting for. Given family finances and home repair needs, a 2018 car purchase is out of the question, but I want to get in one ASAP so I can start planning for ’19.

        And if I hate it, I may take by ’04 Passat wagon down to my mechanic and giving him a budget to fix as much as I can afford. Only 112k miles, but it’s never spent a night in a garage, and I live in Pittsburgh.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I think the Avenir could command that price *if* it had something going for it, like the twin-turbo V6 and the dual-clutch AWD system, or better interior materials, some of which GM saves for the XTS. The XTS’s existence actually hurts the LaCrosse (although the LaCrosse does have a much longer wheelbase).

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Agree that the Avenir trim should have those things, but Buick may end up doing that for the LaCrosse once the XTS departs (will only be around for another year or 2).

      Denali doesn’t seem to offer much more (for the prices GMC is asking), but that hasn’t stopped Denali for being a huge success for GMC.

    • 0 avatar
      dont.fit.in.cars

      Bingo. Why not drop that motor into an Impala add AWD, paint midnight black, black chrome mags and slap SS badges on it.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      This Kyree. Tarting up the interior but not making other changes really doesn’t add that much value. It should have the following:

      – Higher performance engine, either larger displacement or turbocharged from the lesser versions,
      – Super Cruise hands free driving from the Cadillac line.
      – A better interior
      – Remove all “Buick” badging and replace it with “Avenir”

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Too bad GMs bankruptcy killed off the project they were calling “Ultra V8” which was supposed to be a small displacement ultra modern V8 to be used initially in the Lambda CUVs as the top engine.

        Imagine the Avenir with a say 4.odd ltr V8 making at least 50 more hp than the 3.6 V6. That would make it an interesting car.

  • avatar
    Null Set

    Buicks have always aged well. The streets of LA are full of near-pristine late 80s centuries and cutlasses that run just fine and look great. I’d fork out for a LaCrosse Avenir with an eye towards how it will look in twenty years.

    I don’t think the same will be true of the CTS.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Well you can look back 15 years to see how well “Art & Science” has aged. They’d probably look better if those first-generation cars weren’t all on their third+ owner with foggy headlights.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      Even in the Winter belt of Upstate, NY I daily still see some late 1980’s and many 1990’s Buicks running around mainly Century’s/Regals/LeSabre’s and Park Aves. Considering these are going on 25-30 years of age that is pretty good and generally reflects their previous owners attention to care and pride in ownership.

      • 0 avatar
        arach

        I thought it reflected on the fact that their owners were 65, and are now 95, and they drive 12 miles a week on sundays.

        • 0 avatar

          I’m 59 and put 30k on my 17 Lacrosse dince 9/16.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            Yeah, but I’m 35 and I’d rock an Olds Ninety-Eight, so…

            Needs a V-8 up front and an axle out back, with one door on each side preferably, and all the scrumptious pillow top velour you can find.

          • 0 avatar
            dont.fit.in.cars

            56 with 30k on the Impala and 40k on my 2500HD annual

          • 0 avatar
            JEFFSHADOW

            You need to check out Copart.com again. Today was the sales date for a 1978 98 Regency with 28,006 original miles. Yes, it was the soft yellow four door, bought in New Mexico and with one owner for 31 years. It was a minimum bid auction and the last price at some “Classic Auto” store was $6,500. The last bid I saw was $2,050 on Monday night.
            I got the 2003 Bonneville SLE for $850 and it’s fantastic.
            Just wait and watch for your 1977-1984 Oldsmobile Regency coupe. It will be for sale soon!

    • 0 avatar
      Compaq Deskpro

      The people driving them think they are driving beaters and would happily junk them for a new Honda HR-V.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    “…and [Ford can] get back to building Galaxies and LTDs and Fairlanes, Dodge can reintroduce the Monaco and Polara, and Buick can slot the Electra 225 above its current LaCrosse.”

    A big car party ain’t a big car party without a gen-you-wine Ransom Eli Olds-mobile.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      My great grandfather had one of those Deuce-and-a-Quarters. Thing was as big as a house.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Lol “deuce-and-a-quarter” makes me think of my uncle saying (on the phone) that we had just replaced the fuel pump in that “F three-and-a-half” out there. May he rest in peace.

        Oh, and we removed like half a coffee can of sand out of the tank. The guys who supposedly maintained our on-site fuel tanks got a helluva call that afternoon.

  • avatar
    jfk-usaf

    “Avenir” means idiot in Buick. A Buick for 50K seems like direct competition to GMs actual “premium” brand Cadillac. Maybe they get a few sales from people that still think that a Buick that rolls off the assembly line is made of different parts than all of the other GM brands use but this has to be a small number of people at this point right?.. I get that some prefer different aesthetics and there is a noticeable difference in interior material quality between Chevy and GMC in their SUVs with GMC being the more upscale brand. This difference comes at a cost but this large of a price scale without the addition of hybrid power or some other vastly different capability or engineering footprint seems foolish. Sure, Lexus, Acura and Infinity do share some components with their commoner level siblings but there are significant differences in the models… at least in the models that they’ve been successful with. This type of thinking and market analysis is why Lincoln and Cadillac will never be quite as successful as the three Japanese premium brands. Who the hell wants a 50K Ford Edge with a different grill?! Who the hell wants a 50K Buick that looks the exact same as the 32K Buick?! Even Kia/Hyundai realize this and are on the right track. Time will tell.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Do you think Lexus ES will respond with its own update?

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Okay! Except Cadillac’s most successful car is based on a platform shared with Chevy and Buick, and its least-popular cars are unique to it! That’s not even counting the Escalade, its most popular vehicle period.

      Same with Lincoln. The Continental doesn’t have an equivalent Ford in our market (and its relation to the Chinese Taurus is loose, at best), yet its most popular model is the MKX, which shares a platform with the Edge. BUT WHO WANTS A $50k EDGE? More people than want a unique Lincoln sedan, evidently.

      That’s some fine logic you got there, bud.

      Tell me how a Lexus ES is SO different from an Avalon, but an MKZ is exactly the same as a Fusion (with which it shares *only* its Hybrid version’s powertrain, no sheet metal and no interior pieces).

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      @jfk-usaf

      What the heck are you talking about?

      Acura shares platforms with Hondas and its sedan lineup has long been derided as “tarted up” Accords (and now Civics).

      Same goes for Lexus with the ES.

      And all 3 Japanese lux brands have their CUVs derived from the FWD platforms that underpin Toyota, Nissan and Honda CUVs.

      Lincoln is akin to Acura (except they also have BoF SUVs).

      Cadillac is most similar to Lexus – with a predominantly RWD-based sedan lineup, but FWD-based CUVs and BoF SUVs.

  • avatar
    seanx37

    Or you could wander over to the Genesis dealer and get a V8 G80 for the same money, or less most likely.

  • avatar
    brn

    Higher end trim level costs more?

    Duh.

  • avatar
    Yavin 4

    This is basically a gussied up Chevy Impala, yes?

  • avatar
    conundrum

    “can the new trim lift the model’s falling fortunes?”

    No.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    I rented an Impala LT recently, black on black, big wheels, V6 powered, excellent car with an enormous interior. Would I spend $45k for a Buick version? Nope. Would I spend even more for an XTS? Double nope. By the same token I’d rather have a Toyota Avalon than an ES350.

    I simply don’t buy into “branding” as a rule. I walked through Nordstrom Rack yesterday and was struck by all the cheap nasty merchandise they had, but people were buying because of the perceived snob appeal of Nordstrom’s. Steinmart down the street had the same brands?!? By the way, why is it so difficult to buy men’s wool dress pants that aren’t cut for skinny teenagers? I’m a grown man and I want my dress pants with pleats and cut full so I’m not squeezing my junk. I don’t want to look like PeeWee Herman in my suits. Irritates me. I bought every pair of “traditional cut” pants Jos A Bank had in my size.

    Back on subject, the full sized car segment is dying off and no amount of upscale trim will save it.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I feel your pain. I went from 220 lbs about 10 years ago to 160. When I was a “big man” I hated buying any pants that weren’t Wrangler Five Star or Carhart jeans.

      Now I can fit the flat front, but I still refuse to buy “skinny” khakis or dress pants that are purposely short to show off what every ridiculous loud socks one is wearing.

  • avatar
    RSF

    When I think Lacrosse a price point under 25K comes to mind. For an upper 40’s price point I just don’t understand how anyone would select this.

  • avatar
    CobraJet

    I realize I am old and represent a tiny minority who likes to drive a sedan automobile. I am very fortunate to have a fleet of vehicles including a classic Mustang, a van, and two pickups, one being a fairly new crew cab Silverado. So I understand the advantages of riding in a high seating position with lots of utility. But for the daily commute and even longer trips, I really like my 2017 Lacrosse. It suits me just fine.

  • avatar
    teddyc73

    I didn’t stop reading. What a dumb headline.


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