For Sale By:Private Seller
Interior Color: Black
Number of Cylinders: 8
Drive Type: Automatic
Exterior Color: Blue
Watsonville, California, United States
There are many vehicles we'd consider taking racing. Even on a cross-country rally as punishing as the Dakar. But a Buick Encore? That's not one that would enter our motorsports-based consciousness. Yet it's basically what General Motors is entering in the South American rally raid this year, and you're looking at it.
Unveiled at the Moscow Motor Show, this rally machine is based on (or at least billed as) an Opel Mokka - the name that GM's European brand applies to the vehicle Americans know as the Encore, Buick's subcompact crossover. Only it's obviously been extensively modified. It's got a ten-inch raised suspension, a 137-gallon fuel tank, carbon-fiber bodywork and... hold on, we're sure we're missing something here. Oh, right: a 6.2-liter V8 kicking out 340 horsepower and 487 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels through a six-speed sequential gearbox.
In other words, this is not the same Encore (or Mokka) you can pick up at your local Buick, Opel or Vauxhall dealership. It's not even close. It's not even recognizable as such, really. It was unveiled alongside a more sedate Opel Mokka Moscow Edition and a slew of other local debuts for the Opel brand that you can read more about in the (translated and original) Russian press release below.
Just the other day, we told you about how Lincoln isn't really a luxury brand, according to Ford's head design man, J Mays. His argument was that Lincoln lacked the unique DNA to differentiate it from the rest of the market, although the arrival of the MKZ is beginning to change that. Now, we have this video from Autoline Detroit, where Jim Hall, an analyst for 2953 Analytics who was quoted in yesterday's Lincoln story, explains the influence of certain styling cues and how they impact the brands.
Using BMW (Angel Eyes) and Buick (Ventiports) as examples for small, simple touches that serve to distinguish the brand's vehicles on the road, Hall then points out how changing trademark styling features, as Chevrolet has done on the new Corvette Stingray, can hurt the vehicle's public perception. Take a look at the full video below for an interesting dive into what these styling features mean to their individual brands.
Back in September, General Motors promised nine new or refreshed models for its Buick and GMC brands within 12 months, and while we've already seen what the updated 2014 GMC Sierra will look like, we're now getting our first look at what appears to be the facelifted 2014 Buick LaCrosse. Judging by a set of spy shots posted on Autohome showing a Chinese-market model, the updated sedan is getting a pretty big makeover, including a completely redesigned interior and a refreshed exterior.
From the outside, all of the usual midcycle updates have been made to the LaCrosse, including new lights and fascias. The new front end features a larger, reshaped seven-sided grille, LED-trimmed headlights and Buick's signature portholes are now mounted on the side edges of the hood to be more visible. The rear view has similarly small yet refined changes such as the new decklid with a chrome brow that stretches the full width of the car, to a more squared-off rear fascia with exhaust outlets pushed out to the corners. From the single shot we can see, the LaCrosse's new rump looks very similar to the Hyundai Equus.
The second-generation LaCrosse helped reestablish Buick as a near-premium automaker with its interior quality, and the next model could very well up the stakes even more. The new cabin design ditches the wraparound wood trim on the instrument panel and door panels for a smoother, more contemporary look. While it's hard to make out all of the changes, we can instantly see that the center stack is now more upright with fewer buttons, but the biggest news might be the cabin technology the 2014 LaCrosse might offer. Checking out the shot of the center console, we see what looks to be a pad similar to the handwriting recognition technology used by Audi, which would make this a first for GM.