Exterior Color: Gray
Model: Grand National
Interior Color: Gray
Number of Cylinders: 6
Drive Type: RWD
Wrightstown, New Jersey, United States
Buick may not be the first name that comes to mind when you think of performance automobiles, but fans of the brand know what letters to look for. If you believe the reports, there's a new GNX and Grand National on the way, but in the meantime, Buick may offer more GS models to fill the void.
Currently, the Regal is the only model available as a GS (pictured above), packing the same 259-horsepower turbo four as the Regal Turbo but enhanced with key suspension, brakes and rolling-stock upgrades. As Car and Driver notes, similar upgrades could easily be applied to the Verano and LaCrosse, although maybe not the Encore or Enclave crossovers. Of course, Buick would still have to steer clear of Cadillac's Vsport line, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have a little room to play.
We've spoken at length previously about the fallacy of poor hatchback sales in the US, and with the runaway success of its Chevrolet Cruze sedan, it's somewhat unsurprising to hear that General Motors is rethinking its decision not to sell an overseas five-door variant in North America as it looks to plug a number of holes in its lineup. GM North American President Mark Reuss admitted during a media luncheon this week that not offering the model "... was a pre-bankruptcy planning mistake," says Forbes. With the next-generation model already well-along in development, it's likely that the current Cruze hatch (shown above) won't see US dealers.
Reuss admits not offering the model "was a pre-bankruptcy planning mistake"
In what must have been a far-reaching conversation, Reuss hinted at a number of new products for many GM brands, including "a much more beautiful Panamera" range-topper for Buick (which sounds a bit like the line of reasoning the TriShield brand has been pursuing with its Riviera concepts) and a "Ford Transit Connect-fighter" to supplant the recently announced badge-engineered Chevy City Express from Nissan.
With its first full year of sales in the bag, it's safe to say that Buick has a hit on its hands with the Encore. US buyers have snatched up 31,046 of the small, premium crossovers since the Encore went on sale in January of 2013, while 97,311 were sold globally (not counting its counterparts from Opel and Vauxhall).
While we liked the Encore when we first drove it, we'll admit, we weren't sure how the tiny CUV would do. In fact, the first thing Executive Editor Chris Paukert wrote about the Encore was, "We admit it. We have no earthly idea how this whole thing is going to shake out." But it's done well, and has been subject to heavy demand over the past year, blowing away the estimates of analysts, who, according to an August story from Automotive News, projected no more than 18,500 units would be sold in 2013.
"Right out of the gate, demand for the Encore was high," Tony DiSalle, vice president of Buick marketing said in a statement. "It accounted for most of the segment's growth last year and that's because it offers the right safety, technology and features in the right-sized vehicle for many customers."