The Price of Aveniring: Top-flight Buick LaCrosse Sees a Sticker Jump, But You've Already Stopped Reading This

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • CobraJet CobraJet on Jan 10, 2018

    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.

  • Teddyc73 Teddyc73 on Jan 10, 2018

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

  • 28-Cars-Later Seville - LS400Bhp 295 250Ft-tq 280 260Reliable No Yes
  • 28-Cars-Later No, and none of you should be either.
  • Arthur Dailey No.
  • Arthur Dailey My father had multiple Northstar equipped vehicles. He got one of the first Northstar equipped STS's in Canada and continually drove STS's on one year leases for nearly a decade. One of them did 'crap out' on him. It went into 'limp' mode and he drove it to the nearest GM dealer. The vehicle was about half way through its lease, and he was in cottage country (Muskoka). GM arranged to have it flatbedded back to Toronto. He rented a vehicle, drove it home and then took delivery of a new STS within about 4 days. There were no negotiations regarding repairs, etc. The vehicle was simply replaced. Overall he was pleased with the performance of these vehicles and their engines. We also found them a pleasant environment to be in, with more than enough power.
  • Bd2 If they let me and the boyz roll around naked in their dealership I'll buy a Chinese car.