Buick led its design renovation of a few years ago with the Enclave crossover and with the LaCrosse. Ditching the bench-seat set and adopting a muscular, elegant new theme has paid off handsomely.
The LaCrosse is graceful and soft where it needs to be, at the roofline and around its shoulders. But there's enough bulk down low (the 20-inch wheels now available are beefy well-fillers) and enough starch in its creases to lend it presence. It even has some of the stance of a classically proportioned sedan despite the fact that it's a front-driver--the long nose helps, a lot, and so does the small new decklid spoiler.
For the 2014 edition, Buick's added active shutters to the grille for smoother aero, and cooler headlamps with LED wings bookended by LED taillamps. What it could have used, at the same time, is a pry bar for the fake portholes still stuck to its reshaped hood. They're an unwelcome echo of the past, almost the only reminder of where Buick was just a decade ago.
The LaCrosse cockpit pulls off a swanky, traditional feel in all but the very base editions, where it's a bit less nice. The modern arc of the dash divides it into two tone zones, with an upper tier that swoops its way around the cabin, flowing neatly into redesigned door panels to form an interior beltline. Warm interior hues and premium-feel materials in most versions complete a welcoming look and feel, and ambient lighting brings a pleasing nighttime aura. If you let any lingering GM biases shake off before stepping in, it's worth pointing out the LaCrosse hits the target that, say, a Lexus ES aims for.