Drive Type: RWD
Trim: Sport Coupe
Powell Butte, Oregon, 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.
Buick is launching its new midsize Envision crossover in China at the Chengdu Motor Show, where it will slot between the subcompact Encore and larger Enclave. While it might be hard to muster too much excitement about a Chinese-market crossover, don't completely ignore this one. There's a very good chance it could be on sale in North America to fill the same hole in the brand's lineup over here, possibly as a 2016 model.
We recently spied the Envision completely undisguised as it was arriving at the Chengdu show for its debut. The CUV still looks like a stretched Encore from some front angles, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's got a similar oversized grille, hood vents (presumably faux) and large greenhouse as its little brother. Where the midsize CUV differs is its prominent crease running down the side and the different rear treatment, with wing-shaped trim cutting into the taillights.
The interior looks like a pretty nice place to spend time, too, with a predictable mix of leather, wood and metal, and it should be quiet in there with its active noise cancelation system. Infotainment is provided by an eight-inch touchscreen with a touchpad and voice controls.
Following an earlier concept and successive teasers, Buick revealed the new Envision crossover a little over a month ago. The thing is, it was launched in China, for China. The question, then, is whether it will make the jump to the North American market. And the answer is: quite possibly.
According to division sales chief Duncan Aldred in speaking to Edmunds, Buick is looking into the prospect of bringing the Envision to the US: "We can't confirm anything, but clearly it is a very nicely designed and executed product that is very much a Buick," said Aldred.
If and when the compact crossover would appear in US showrooms, it would slot in between the smaller Encore and the larger Enclave. It would likely be offered in front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive and mild hybrid configurations. Sources expect it to arrive in the third quarter of 2015 as a competitor to the likes of the Mercedes GLA, Lexus NX and Lincoln MKC.