The 2017 Buick LaCrosse is longer, lower, wider and lighter than the outgoing 2016 model. The LaCrosse also has a sleek new design that makes it an appealing pick in the full-size sedan category.

Shoppers in this segment have lots of choices, but few present the value of the new and improved LaCrosse. The LaCrosse has a strong V6 engine that promises 31 highway miles per gallon, and the starting price for the base model is $32,900.

Buicks are no longer big, bulky land yachts with plush cabins and a floaty ride. The LaCrosse is a svelte, stylish and sharply designed automobile that introduces the new face of the brand. It gets a new waterfall grille design with Buick’s tri-shield logo.

In short, this is a very nice looking car. Character lines are deep, especially the one that sweeps up the back door and onto the rear quarter panel. High Intensity Discharge headlights and LED taillights are standard equipment in all trims. Wheel choices are 18 or 20 inches. The LaCrosse is available in front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

The new LaCrosse is also about 300 pounds lighter than its predecessor, which is one of the reasons its fuel economy is so good. Another reason is the 3.6-liter V6 is paired to a new 8-speed automatic transmission that precisely selects the gear to optimize gas mileage. The LaCrosse also has a stop/start feature that kills the engine at red lights and starts it instantly when the driver releases the brake. Finally, the engine has active fuel management that allows the V6 to operate as a 4-cylinder at highway speeds.

Inside the cabin, the LaCrosse is nicely appointed with premium materials. I wouldn’t call the LaCrosse cabin world class, but I’d call it pretty darn nice. Leather seats come with heat and massage features in the upper trim. Contrasting stitching across the seats and dash are an upscale touch. The cabin is as quiet as a church mouse thanks to Buick’s QuietTuning and more sound deadening materials.

The transmission shifter is distinctly European, with a toggle stick. Push it forward and left and you’re in reverse. Straight back and you’re in drive. Push a button on top of the stick and you’re parked.

Headroom in the front seat is 38.4 inches and in the back seat it’s 37.2 inches. That was a tad low for my 6-foot-1 frame, and my hair brushed the headliner in the rear seat. Front seat legroom is 42 inches and in back its’s 40 inches. The deep trunk has 15 cubic feet of storage space.

On the road, the V6 engine powers this sedan nicely, and the LaCrosse jumps from red lights with gusto. The V6 produces 310 horsepower and 282 lb.-ft. of torque. EPA fuel economy is 21 mpg in the city, 31 mpg on the highway and 25 mpg combined.

We found the LaCrosse to have an engaging drive with precise and on-center steering. The car remained relatively flat in hard cornering thanks to a stiffer suspension system.

Standard equipment in the base trim includes keyless entry and pushbutton start, dual-zone climate control, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a rearview camera and OnStar. The car is also a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot.

The 2017 LaCrosse has not yet been fully crash tested by the government. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has begun its testing and gives the LaCrosse the top score of good in side crash tests and in the difficult moderate overlap front crash test.

The LaCrosse has 10 airbags and a host of standard and optional safety technologies including forward collision alert, rear cross traffic alert, a lane keeping system and blind spot monitoring. Also included is a heads-up display system for the driver. While the HUD is not technically a safety feature, it definitely helps the driver’s eyes stay on the road more.

2017 Buick LaCrosse Premium FWD

Engine:

3.6-liter V6

Horsepower / Torque:

310 / 282 lb.-ft.

Transmission:

8-speed automatic

Base price:

$41,065 ($48,395 with options & freight)

EPA mileage estimates:

21 mpg city/31 mpg highway/25 mpg combined