Buick Envision CUV launches in China, is America next?Fri, 29 Aug 2014 09:28:00 EST
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.
In China, this CUV is propelled by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 256 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque with standard stop/start and a six-speed automatic. That setup lets it run to 62 miles per hour in a claimed 8.4 seconds. The Envision also gets a standard all-wheel drive system that can send 100-percent of the engine's power to the front or rear wheels as necessary and route power side-to-side at the back, too.
We tried to pin down Buick spokesperson Nick Richards about the Envision's chances here, but all we would tell us was, "Our current focus is on continuing the Encore launch and the successful sales growth of these models." We'd be shocked if it didn't come to the States, but for now, it looks like we just need to wait and see for official word. Scroll down to read all of he details about the new middle child in Buick's Chinese crossover family.
Shanghai GM Launches Buick Envision
Marks brand's entrance into China's premium midsize SUV segment
CHENGDU - Shanghai GM officially launched the Buick Envision premium midsize SUV today in Chengdu. Four variants are being offered – the AWD Elite, AWD Luxury, AWD Versatile Flagship and AWD Versatile Sporty Flagship.
All four variants have a stylish design, premium and comfortable interior, outstanding safety configuration, class-leading features, and smooth handling.
"The Envision is a versatile SUV and an important component of Shanghai GM's SUV strategy," said Wang Yongqing, President of Shanghai GM. "Designed for social elites, it offers an unmatched experience in the premium midsize SUV segment. It complements the Enclave and Encore in Buick's SUV portfolio."
Dynamic and Premium Design
The Envision carries forward the design essence of the Buick Envision concept vehicle, reflecting Buick's modern design language. The design is stylish and sporty. It comes with a new intelligent drag-reducing grille, wing-style front and rear lights with LED lamps inside, curved flank lines, 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels, an aluminum alloy luggage rack and a wing-shaped spoiler.
It is offered in five exterior colors: Snowy White, Glacier Silver, Pearl Black, Topaz Brown and Sky Purple.
The Envision adopts Buick's signature 360-degree integrated interior design. With its driver-friendly center console, all controls are within easy reach. Customers have a choice of a Burgundy or Swallowtail Black interior. Black piano accents create a premium effect. French-style dual stitching further accentuates the model's elegance.
The Envision measures 4,667 mm in length, 1,839 mm in width and 1,696 mm in height, and rides on a wheelbase of 2,750 mm. This gives it a roomy interior. Its split rear seats fold flat and can slide forward or backward to provide up to 1,550 liters of space for carrying cargo. In addition, there are 24 storage compartments.
Powerful and Efficient Powertrain
The Envision comes with GM's latest-generation 2.0T direct injection turbocharged engine. The engine was named one of Ward's 10 Best Engines for 2013. It generates maximum power of 191 kW at 5,500 rpm and peak torque of 353 Nm at 5,300 rpm, with power per liter reaching 95.5 kW/L. The capable powerplant takes the Envision from 0 to 100 km/h in 8.4 seconds.
The engine is mated to GM's all-new six-speed DSS intelligent transmission, which is smooth, responsive and efficient. The Envision is the only vehicle in its segment that comes with the engine start/stop system as standard across its lineup. It supports class-leading combined fuel economy of 8.8 L/100 km.
Buick Intelligent All-Wheel Drive
The Envision also comes with a new, intelligent all-wheel-drive system, which provides a variable front-to-rear torque split and a 0:100~100:0 rear torque split. Offered for the first time by GM, this system features two electronically controlled multi-plate clutches in the rear axle automatically distribute torque from the front to rear wheels and between the rear wheels as needed. This makes it more responsive, flexible and efficient, and provides a more exceptional driving experience with enhanced ride comfort and dynamics than conventional all-wheel-drive systems.
The Envision's chassis consists of a MacPherson strut front suspension, an optimized and fully independent four-link rear suspension, and a full front subframe. This gives the SUV exceptional rigidity and precise handling. The class-leading FlexRide system provides four selectable driving modes – Normal, Tour, Sport and Off-Road – for a personalized driving experience.
High-Strength Structure and All-New Intelligent Safety System
In line with Buick's focus on safety, 75 percent of the Envision's body is made of high-strength steel, with 13 percent made of ultra-high-strength steel. Key areas such as the A-pillar, B-pillar, roof and driver's foot fender are made of ultra-high-strength hot-pressed steel. Door plates are four times stronger than those made of ordinary steel.
The Envision comes with Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane-Keeping Assist, Following Distance Indicator, Forward Collision Alert, Collision Mitigation Braking, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and intelligent headlights.
It also comes with anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, electronic stability control, a traction control system and Hill Start Assist as standard across the line. Options include Hill Descent Control, OnStar and the Automatic Parking Assist system.
Cutting-Edge Technology and Customer-Friendly Amenities
The Envision is equipped with an advanced connectivity system, which is a human-computer interactive platform specifically designed for Buick. The system connects the vehicle with people and their smartphones. It includes an eight-inch high-definition touchscreen, multifunctional buttons on the steering wheel, a touchpad and voice control.
The Envision is the first vehicle in its segment in China to come standard with Active Noise Cancellation technology, which reads sound waves through microphones inside the vehicle and produces an opposite sound wave from speakers to counteract it. The vehicle also employs Buick's state-of-the-art Quiet-Tuning® technology, which reduces, blocks or absorbs noise. These technologies include the use of liquid applied sound dampers (LASD). Compared with traditional sound insulating pads, LASD are not only lighter and greener, but also deliver better sound-proofing and shock-absorbing performance.
High-tech elements can also be seen in the Envision's amenities and functions. For example, the all-new intelligent drag-reducing intake grille shuts automatically to lower wind drag and reduce fuel consumption when the vehicle starts or operates at high speeds. The rear power liftgate can be completely or partially opened by adjusting the opening height in three levels. The top-of-the-line Envision variant features a foot-sensing function to allow hands-free opening of the liftgate.
Other amenities include a standard large panoramic sunroof; front power seats with heating, cooling and ventilation functions; and a heated sport steering wheel.
General Motors traces its roots back to 1908. GM has 10 joint ventures, two wholly owned foreign enterprises and more than 58,000 employees in China. GM and its joint ventures offer the broadest lineup of vehicles and brands among automakers in China. Passenger cars and commercial vehicles are sold under the Baojun, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Jiefang, Opel and Wuling brands. In 2013, GM sold nearly 3.2 million vehicles in China. More information on General Motors in China can be found at GM Media Online.
By Chris Bruce
See also: Buick Envision spied fully disrobed in China, Buick shows US dealers 2016 Cascada convertible, Buick Envision cabin detailed ahead of reveal later this month.