It’s not unreasonable to think of Buick as the original near-luxury brand. It was the first of the many brands that Billy Durant acquired as he began building up General Motors more than a century ago. Later as Alfred Sloan organized GM’s marketing efforts and brands into a stair step from Chevrolet at the entry level to Cadillac at the pinnacle, Buick was slotted in just below the top as the “doctor’s car.” A few decades ago, a big sedan like the LaCrosse would have been the brand flagship, the model an up and coming professional would be driving on their way to eventually having a Cadillac. Today, the recently introduced third-generation LaCrosse is almost an afterthought for customers as they rush to buy crossovers like the sub-compact Encore and full-size Enclave.
To a large degree, the 1998 “merger of equals” between Daimler-Benz and Chrysler Corp. was generally considered an unmitigated disaster. Just like any other failed marriage, great kids can result from the collaboration. In this case, what is now Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is still earning dividends from its LX platform which includes the 300S sedan I recently drove.
If you’re the type of driver that inclined toward cars like the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro or Dodge Challenger but regularly need to bring along more than one adult friend or strap kids into car seats, Dodge has an alternative for you. In many respects, the Dodge Charger is the family pony car. After spending a week with a 2016 Charger SXT Black Top Edition, I can attest that it has the feel these drivers would be looking for.