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2017 Buick Envision, Lacrosse and GMC Acadia Showroom Impressions

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Was near a BGMC dealer today and bumped in because i saw the new LaCrosse.  They also had new Envision on the floor and 'new' "Acadia" as well (I'll probably be calling it what it is, an Envoy XL7, because it feels to me like a combination of those two FINE GM products, moreso than it feels like a 'real' Acadia.....but I digress).

(Digression number two.....still really dig the Encore.  17's not in yet but the Encore to me is still one of GM's best masterstrokes.  A bit more armrest and a real console, and such...nice little gem.  Surprisingly not at all rendered without an identity with the arrival of the Envision.  The Encore still feels like it has a rightful and useful place in the showroom.  Can't wait to see the 17's).

So in any case, there was a nice new 17 LaCrosse on the show floor....and what struck me first is the lack of presence.  It does sort of have a recognizable GM shape, but the detailing is bland.  The swoosh creases on the sides look 'ok' but just don't have the jazz of the previous year's modernized 'sweepspear'.  The car looks a bit less GM, but maybe that is a good thing.  The grille and headlights are practically anynonymous, and there is no other shaping on the car that is distinct.  The rear tidy's up some, and gets back to a more signature Buick tail.  I've mentioned in the past the car reminds of 'the first ever Azera' by Hyundai, and i still sort of think that.  You know what i mean, that Chinese knockoff look too.  Considering Buick is more or less Chinese now, I guess the fact that it looks like a more stylish Chinese knockoff of a Buick than other Chinese cars, is probably all they were wanting to do anyways.

Well, gut check time though....it's not BAD.  It's not BOTCHED.  It's just not in any way Avenir or Avista gorgeous. And no obvious Buicky cues (even the fake ventiports don't really -register- in any way with character)

Inside, it's pleasing.....but nothing to blow you away.  Not as dramatic again, as the outgoing model. Material quality is not exactly as good as i expected.  And it may be a tossup as to whether its improved much from the last gen.  The switchgear looks less tacky, and the plastics have lower glass and are more understated.  That's all good, of course.  But they are not much if any better than the 16 new malibu I drive almost every day.....well, not $10,000 USD better.  The design itself is more elaborate and the big to do is the quite enveloping dash, console, and dare i say, cockpit.  The seats feel lower and a bit 'in the bathtub' between the door and wider and taller console (which I admit is trimmed pretty nice).  The outgoing LaCrosse had a unique console and dash but it didn't feel quite so tight like this.  It's not Ford Taurus tight, but tighter than some of the obligatory blue hairs who've spent their lives with bench seats will like.  Plus the dash is spread out, horizontal, and more 'present' than the outgoing one as well.  The gauges, console controls, and switches again, all don't look or feel tremendously a notch above what's in my Malibu.  I do give GM much credit for the tight fits and tolerances of all the interior bits.  Put a 2002 Grand Am owner in one of these and they may wonder if there are any gaps in any panels at all.

The shifter is a bit hilarious.  Not because its bad or anything...no, its because they had put this on it..... i hope it doesn't confuse grandma......


Edited by regfootball

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Overall, the interior of the Lacrosse actually seems less spacious than the outgoing model.  I am guessing the specs of it are pretty close to the same.  But it feels a bit less wide, and the rear seat seems quite a bit tighter.  This is due to the design of the dash and side of door panels, and the seats feeling lower.  DISCLAIMER, this one did have the big whopper moonroof.  Still, that didn't seem overly intrusive....I think this car will not feel as spacious inside as many may think.  Hate to use the 16 Malibu in my garage as a benchmark again, but the interior in this LaCrosse doesn't feel any too much bigger.

Same goes for the trunk as well.  This is not a Lucerne trunk.  And won't look very spacious even if its larger than the last one because of all the things carved out of the available space.  Again, trunk probably not bigger than the Malibu (or shall be say, future Insignia / Regal, either?).

I'll just trace back a bit here......I don't like the knob / twist shifters on the newer cars but it should be interesting to see how this new joystick shifter gets accepted.

My prediction is, the car is overpriced in terms of aura, and will need rebates to move volume.  Not a bad car, but it doesn't have sizzle, and honestly that's ok if the next Regal is the complimentary 'sporty car' (that is almost the same size) in the showroom next to it.  I'm sure actually driving the car may help modify my impression of it as well, to be fair.  I really think how the LaCrosse turned out REALLY leaves the door wide open for Buick to knock people's socks off with the Regal for their sedans when it comes out.

Getting a bit sleepy so will get into the Envision and '2nd ever' Acadia tomorrow.

Edited by regfootball

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I won't spend much time on the Acadia.  The first obvious thing about it is the smaller exterior size.  And that is your call on the wisdom of that.  Clearly there is a market for this size of crossover / SUV.  The real question IMO is whether it should have stolen the successful Acadia name from the full size Lambda predecessor.  

At least if they were going to gamble on downsizing the name, they should have done something to make it stunning.  Instead, it really just has slightly dowdy, derivitive, placeholder looks.

Is it a Durango?  What is it? 

It's not boxy and creased like the Terrain (perhaps they should have called it that).  It's not swoopy or anything, GMC is not that way.  

But it's not really much of anything.  A Durango in GM drag is probably the most popular line of thinking.  It's not overly macho, or outdoorsy.  It almost looks wagony instead of SUV.

Is the front end butch enough to be a real GMC?  What's up with that rear window design; I mean, the Envoy was never that awesome.

Enough on that.  The underwhelming happens inside too.

GM's sedans, newest crossovers, and smaller cars have been absolutely bangup lately.  GM's interiors are becoming TIGHT with small panel gaps, nicer plastics, nice switches, great design.  I don't think the Acadia piggy backs on this very much.  I have the same impression I get here that i got seeing the Colorado interior the first time.  It still wants or tries to emulate the truckiness of the Silverado and Sierra interiors.....but those pickups don't have the greatest interiors.....cheaper plastics, blocky shapes, randomish design.  I get that feeling inside the new Acadia.  It's as if the world design sector at GM hasn't caught up with the trucks and GMC.  And maybe it won't.  It sure feels sort of old school GM.  Dare say it feels Pontiac-y to me with some of its hues and shapes and controls and plastics, with almost none of the trendy shiny or chromey stuff.

So getting inside it's immediately apparent the width of the vehicle has been slashed.  It may feel right size to some but to those who like their Acadias and their girth, it will feel instantly tighter (and tighter than a Highlander or Cx-9).  the door is right there, and so is the more intrusive console.  The dash layout is sort of split up and flows less than before.  Nothing looks or feels particularly GMC price worthy.  It feels ok, but not premium.  You can decide if the price bears what you find.  The seats are definitely smaller in front.  I will give credit for improving the steering wheel relationship to the driver.

In the second row, its a whole different deal.  The weird sliding seat deal from before has been changed and looks to have created better leg room and the ability to fold the seat easier.  The second row i sat in had captains and they definitely have less width and shoulder space.  There is a larger gap between the seats now it seems though.  Seat bottom felt less supportive but admittedly they tried to actually shape it more. I think some of the foam is very soft.  The seat is probably good for kids and teens and slighter build adults.  Big dudes and guys might want a nicer perch.

Third row really is MUCh narrower and has no chance for 3 people like it could easily do before.  The seat is less deep but they kept just enough leg room for smaller kids.  I really don't see any adult using that third row.  The seat angle in the third row is very upright too.  Even in my Taurus X we could at least get adults back there and the seatback was at a good angle, and there was still large trunk behind the third row when up.  Here it seems GM tried to at least keep the width of a grocery bag behind the third row and I question if they did.  It seemed the previous Acadia  you could at least get duffels in there.  I think it would be really tough to do that now, especially considering too how much narrower it is and how much the hatch converges on the whole affair.

I saw a motor trend test of a 2 row only Acadia......that would probably make more sense but having that third row even 2, 3 times a year can be worth it.  Just really seems to compromise this vehicle in a lot of ways.  I would imagine most who buy this will probably leave the third row down all the time.  I did not fold the third row down to see how usable the cargo area was after that.

I'm lukewarm on the new Acadia.  The price, the downsizing, the renaming, the interior and exterior design, the interior execution of materials, the cargo space...... was this the right way to get into this middle market segment?  No way apart from a v6 option would i get this over a CX-9.


Edited by regfootball

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The Envision to me seemed pretty well done.  It's size is probably spot on for the segment, but Terrain / Equinox owners, it is physically smaller outside.

The exterior is a bit innocuous, but its pleasant.  Not much for standing out in a crowd.....similar to the LaCrosse that way.  Just not quite that dull.

Cabin seating front and rear should please most.  Front driving position is a good height, and suitable girth.  Seats are comfy and have good leather.  The armrest in front and dash / console in general are really good with the exception of perhaps too much of the plood on the passenger side.  It's not a Cadillac in there but I do think its above a typical Chevy for now.  Rear seat space was not bad.....perhaps narrower than the outgoing T/E but fairly equal to the outgoing Captiva / Vue. One little quality issue....for some reason one of the rear seats would not fold up.  I could not determine if it was user error or not.  Maybe it was the dreaded, OMG its a huge made in China product failure incident.

Trunk area I would say again very similar to outgoing Captiva / Vue.  Rear hatch and roof swoops down to cut the available cargo height near the back and top, but its not overly egregious.

Overall in terms of package, pretty much a bullseye.  A person like me would want a little more room but I know how its virtues would be sacrificed, and I would just go get a Ford Edge then anyways.

I think these will sell as will the 18 Equinox when it comes out.


Edited by regfootball

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15 minutes ago, Stew said:

Is that shifter as potentially confusing as the diagram makes it look?

Not to me, the diagram makes it more daunting than it really is. Having driven GM products that have this shifter, it was very simple to use.

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19 hours ago, regfootball said:

i imagine you have to study it and do trial and error a few times.

thing is, why, I'm not sure what is gained by going away from the typical floor shifter.

Same, don't understand the point, especially when an electronic shifter with the typical PRND seems to throw people off. 

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