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Buick is upgrading the technological content, but lowering the cost of its LaCrosse full sized sedan for 2018. Redesigned in 2017, the LaCrosse currently on dealer lots carries a base sticker of $32,065 with many stickers close to or north of the $40,000 mark. The new 2018 LaCrosse, due in dealer showrooms next month, will carry a base sticker of $30,490, thanks in large part to a new powertrain that includes eAssist electrification.

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The new powertrain should also contribute to better fuel economy, and also bring the total cost of vehicle ownership down.

“The new powertrain will not only bring the pricepoint down, it should also attract a younger audience,” says Adrian Trifiletti, new car sales manager at Classic Buick GMC in Painesville. “Everyone who has brought the 2017 LaCrosse loves it. But there is a big difference between $40,000 and $30,000. The LaCrosse is a wonderful car, but you have to get people into the showroom to drive it.”

The new powertrain is a combination of an electric motor with Buick’s latest 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. It’s been re-engineered to deliver a quiet, refined and spirited efficient performance. While it has yet to be rated by the EPA, this new eAssist system, when coupled with the four-cylinder engine, has a 19 percent increase in city fuel economy compared to the LaCrosse’s advanced V6, according to Buick engineers. GM is estimating fuel economy to be 25 miles per gallon in the city and 35 miles per gallon on the highway.

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This new system leverages a compact lithium-ion battery pack to provide select benefits found in fully electric vehicles, such as torque-assisted launch, energy-saving regenerative braking and a smooth stop/start. Compared to previous Buick eAssist executions, this newest iteration is more sophisticated, powerful and compact. With its nine percent increase in overall torque, drivers get the responsiveness expected from a full-size sedan. It will be the standard powertrain for the 2018 LaCrosse.

“Executing innovative technologies in an approachable and meaningful way is core to Buick,” says Duncan Aldred, vice president, Global Buick and GMC. “By adding the eAssist system to the LaCrosse, our technology flagship, we are making electrification accessible to our customers as we chart our course to the future of mobility.”

The newly designed eAssist propulsion system’s compact electric motor is powered by an advanced 24-cell air-cooled 0.45 KWh lithium-ion battery pack. A motor generator unit replaces the traditional alternator and acts as an electric motor to assist the engine when needed. It also acts as an electric generator providing the energy stored in the lithium-ion battery pack.

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The MGU’s electric motor function provides a power boost for an extremely smooth launch from the Auto-Stop mode. It funnels additional torque to the engine when needed to optimize overall driving performance and efficiency. When braking or coasting, some of the energy normally lost is converted to electricity through the MGU and stored in the lithium-ion battery pack.

The 86V lithium-ion battery pack, which has been repackaged to be more compact, stores energy captured during regenerative braking. This energy powers the electrical system when the vehicle is in Auto-Stop mode. It also powers the MGU to provide a smooth launch from Auto-Stop mode or additional torque to the engine as needed.

The 3.6-liter V6 on the 2017 edition will still be an available option on select trims for 2018. Other notable updates include expanded availability of AWD and an all-new nine-speed automatic transmission for V6 models that that offer a smoother and more refined shifting experience.

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In addition to lowering the sticker and cost of ownership, the newest eAssist system is discreetly packaged to maintain the LaCrosse’s fold-down rear seat and ample trunk space, “which are still a key selling points for the LaCrosse,” says Trifiletti.

In addition to the improvements in the powertrain, LaCrosse engineers have also incorporated upper and lower aero shutters in the front fascia, which close under certain conditions to help maximize aerodynamics and further contribute to improved fuel economy.

The new 2018 LaCrosse will be offered in Base FWD, Preferred FWD, Essence FWD and AWD and Premium FWD and AWD trims. Preferred, Essence and Premium models will be offered with the 3.6-liter engine if you’re looking for a little more power. Being a Buick, you can expect the new 2018 LaCrosse to have a very soft ride, as well as an extremely quiet cabin–adding a sense of luxury to your travels.

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