You know those cheesy Buick commercials where people look around all astonished & impressed like, “Oh my gosh this is a Buick??” Well – it’s real life. Here’s what I took away from the 2017 Buick Lacrosse:

If you (or your mom) are in the market for a nice, comfortable, luxurious sedan… something like a Lexus ES… you need to at least go drive the Lacrosse before you sign any paperwork. Just try to drive it without being badge-biased. That’s all I’m saying.

Here’s why:

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The suspension on the 2017 Lacrosse is way above its class. It’s honestly better than it ‘needs to be’ for this segment of car, and that says something about Buick’s agenda here. In normal driving mode, the Lacrosse is as tranquil & comfortable as any of ‘em. It’s what you’d expect. But the 2017 Lacrosse offers a ‘Sport’ mode. It’s odd that a car in this class would even bother offering such a thing, and I figured it would just be a gimmick sales-pitch button that wouldn’t do much other than ‘downshift’ – because that’s what the chintzy cars do. But I was way wrong.

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The 2017 Lacrosse has GM’s adaptive suspension with active dampening control. Meaning when you go into Sport mode, the suspension sharpens & the ballgame changes – just like that. This is no-joke technology that’s shared in cars like the Corvette, the Cadillac CTS-V, and the Camaro SS. Test drive it; you can feel it for yourself. In layman’s terms, there is magnetically-charged fluid in the shocks. In Normal mode, the fluid is allowed to move freely, yielding a very comfortable ride. In Sport mode, the fluid is instantaneously charged, stiffening dramatically. Body-roll & cushy ride vanish with a snap, and your lap-cat transforms to a leopard. Add to that, the steering resistance intensifies, giving you a much more deliberate steering feel. And – shifts become faster & more deliberate. If you’re not a ‘car person’, I understand some of that might get lost in translation. But bring one with you, and watch his/her surprised reaction when he puts the ’17 Lacrosse through its paces.

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The 2017 Buick Lacrosse has got roughly 310 horsepower… about 40 more than the Lexus ES350 for example. Although to be fair, the extra horsepower doesn’t seem to make the car ‘faster’ than the ES on paper. But either way – the Lacrosse definitely feels more engaging when you want it to be.

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It’s got available, commanding 20-inch wheels (as pictured). The interior holds its own in style and fit/finish. It definitely has more rear headroom than the Lexus ES, which can be difficult for rear passengers & child-seat loading/unloading. The rear seats fold down – a ‘nope’ on the Lexus ES & Toyota Avalon. My only knock with the Lacrosse’s interior is the cheap-ass feel of the turn signal & wiper knobs… that snap me out of my daydream & remind me of yesteryear’s Buick/GM.

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But the big picture to look at – is that the 2017 Buick Lacrosse has come to play, when most of the other cars in the category have become a bit passive. I’ve learned over my years, that’s where you find the best cars. It’s at least worth a drive. Who knows how the value/quality of the 2017 Lacrosse will hold up years-forward… but you at least seem to be getting more for your money when you drive it off the lot.

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Muteki lug nuts