The new Buick LaCrosse won't be seen in Australia anytime soon, but it might just preview the new Holden Commodore.
The Buick LaCrosse is one of the first vehicles to be built on General Motors' E2XX platform, which is the same platform being used to built the new Opel Insignia. And, given the relationship between the two, there could be more than a few clues here as to what we can expect from the new Insignia.
Debuting recently for the US market, the Buick LaCrosse comes with a mix of front- and all-wheel drive models, each powered by a naturally aspirated 3.6-litre V6 petrol engine. Most exciting is the addition of a dual-clutch all-wheel drive system and eight-speed automatic transmission in a top-spec variant.
Based on the spy photographs we've seen to date, the Opel Insignia appears to be a liftback, while the larger LaCrosse is based on a sedan layout.
Holden is yet to confirm whether the locally-built Commodore replacement will be a sedan or liftback, but if it's based on the Insignia, we would expect it to retain its hatchback layout.
The LaCrosse features swept back headlights with muscular lines along the length of the vehicle. Chrome highlights on the front, sides and rear mark its efforts at a prestige image, while LED daytime running lights help it stand out in traffic.
Growing in size, the LaCrosse is much bigger than its Insignia-based predecessor, which is currently sold in Australia under the Insignia VXR moniker. Hidden exhausts and a boot lip spoiler define the rear.
Inside the cabin, an elegant layout features a dashboard that sweeps from the doors around the front. Three main clusters features the infotainment system and air vents, audio controls and climate controls, while a single-position gear shifters allows one touch movement between gears.
Our spy photographs of the Opel Insignia interior show a similar steering wheel, HVAC and audio controls, along with screen position, hinting that the LaCrosse will be a virtual carbon copy of the Opel Insignia.
Featuring 230kW of power and 382Nm of torque, the 3.6-litre engine fitted to the LaCrosse comes with stop-start technology, direct injection and cylinder deactivation technology and is closely related to the current Commodore V6 engine.
Codenamed LGX, the six-cylinder engine is the fourth generation successor to the LLT and LFX. The LLT and LFX engines were used in Series I VE and Series II VE/Series I VF Commodores respectively.
The fourth-generation LGX picks up things like direct injection, cylinder deactivation, stop-start, high flow cylinder heads and an acoustic engine cover, amongst others.
Currently, the LGX is used in vehicles like the 2016 Cadillac ATS, CTS and CT6, which Holden engineers have been tuning and calibrating locally in the company's new Euro 6 emissions laboratory, as exclusively revealed by CarAdvice recently.
Given Holden's close relationship with this engine and its use in the Buick LaCrosse, we're likely to see this engine feature in the 2018 Holden Commodore in both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations.
The advanced all-wheel drive system is likely to be shoehorned for an SV6 or SS Commodore replacement, given its advanced all-wheel drive system, which should allow quick starts off the line and impressive handling dynamics.
Also available to Holden at the moment (and also seen testing locally) is the twin-turbocharged 3.6-litre V6 engine currently used in the hotted-up Cadillac ATS-V, which produces 346kW of power and allows the ATS-V to sprint from 0-60mph in just 3.8 seconds.
But there's a catch — it's only available in rear-wheel drive. Given the lack of rear-wheel drive on the E2XX platform, it would require a massive investment to engineer that option, so it's likely to be a non-starter for Commodore.
In terms of in-car technology, the LaCrosse is loaded with the latest infotainment and safety kit. Available on models within the LaCrosse range are things like:
- Rear cross traffic alert
- Active front grille shutters to optimise aerodynamics
- Lane keeping assistant with blind spot monitor
- Heated steering wheel
- Five-link rear suspension setup with adaptive damping
- 10 airbags (including driver knee airbag)
- Forward collision alert with autonomous emergency braking
- Active noise cancellation (designed to retard noise from the engine and road via the speakers)
- 8.0-inch colour touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (wired) including two USB ports in centre console and Bluetooth audio streaming
- Wireless device charging
- Internal 4G LTE wireless hotspot
- 8-way electric driver and front passenger seats
- Driver and front passenger massage seats
- Heated and cooled driver and front passenger seats
- Heads up display
One of the coolest features of the LaCrosse is actually its phone application. It allows owners to connect to their car remotely and check vehicle health, the vehicle location, monitor WiFi, check data usage, lock and unlock and even remotely start the vehicle. It sounds similar to BMW's ConnectedDrive technology.
There's also a Teen Driver Mode, allowing parents to set driving conditions and review drive modes and habits to encourage safe driving.
So there it is. If the new Holden Commodore is based on the Opel Insignia, which is currently where the speculation sits, it will look similar if not the same as the Buick LaCrosse.
While some of the panels inside-and-out appear to be different when compared to our spy photographs of the Opel Insignia, its engine origins and drivetrain derivations sit well within the realm of possibilities for an Australian market Commodore.
What do you think of the Buick LaCrosse design? Does the interior and exterior live up to what a Commodore should look like? Is that enough power to replace the current SV6 or SS offering?