Category Archives: Buick

Buick Unveils 2018 Regal Sportback and TourX Wagon Models

While the Opel brand may no longer be under the GM corporate umbrella, The last remnants of this bygone era are still making an impact in GM’s broader plans. Case in point, the 2018 Opel Insignia. Known as the Buick Regal here in the U.S., the newest iteration of the Regal aims to bring new-found refinement while still retaining the attributes that made the last generation model a hit with buyers.

 

The previous generation Buick Regal was only available here in the U.S. as a sedan. For 2018 the Regal ditches this approach – sort of. Instead, the 2018 version will arrive as a liftback (similar to the A7) and also as a wagon dubbed the TourX which would give Buick a competitor against the Audi Allroad and the Volvo V60 Cross Country.

 

 

Like before, the 2018 Regal makes use of a 2.0 liter turbocharged engine, but overall performance figures vary depending on the model chosen. In the front wheel drive Sportback its good for 250 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque with all of this muscle being channeled to the front wheels through a nine speed automatic transmission. The Sportback is also available in all-wheel drive, and that helps boost torque to 295 lb-ft, though the nine speed gets swapped for an eight speed in this application.  Meanwhile the TourX only comes with all-wheel drive and an eight speed transmission which in turn preserves its existing 250/295 power ratings.

 

 

Buick claims that versatility will be at the forefront here with the Sportback having more overall cargo space than both the Audi A5 Sportback and the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe. The TourX on the other hand will offer more cargo space than the Volvo V60 Cross Country, BMW 3-Series Sport Wagon, as well as the Subaru Outback.

The interior of both versions will come packed to the brim with the latest technology that GM has to offer. This includes a standard seven-inch infotainment system with Android and Apple CarPlay capability, but buyers can opt for a bigger eight-inch setup which can be enhanced further with optional navigation software. Look for the cabin to also gain upgrades in overall fit and finish including softer touch plastics as well as more supportive seats.

In addition, both the Sportback and the TourX will also make history for Buick, and be the first Buick models to offer an “active hood” A common feature on some of its European rivals, the “active hood can sense the imminent impact of a pedestrian between 16-30 miles per hour, and use a pyrotechnic operated actuator to raise the rear of the hood by four inches. This lessens the overall impact, and could also help reduce injuries to the pedestrian according to Buick’s official release.

Buick did not release formal fuel economy figures nor a final pricing ladder for the duo, but look for that information to emerge closer to the Regal’s launch to dealer lots in late 2017. Stay tuned to Autoinfoquest for the latest on the 2018 Buick Regal, as well as our live coverage of the 2017 New York Auto Show.

Buick Teases Velite PHEV Concept Ahead Of Chinese Debut

General Motors has released the first teaser image of the Velite PHEV concept car which will make its debut at the Guangzhou Auto Show, and signal what is expected out of Buick’s upcoming Buick Blue sub-brand.

GM for its part has remained quiet on specific details of the concept, but did reveal that the Velite’s PHEV system will consist of a direct injection gasoline engine that is paired with the company’s latest “modular intelligent electric drive system, as well as a modular lithium-ion battery pack.

The exterior styling of the concept also largely remains shrouded in mystery  but the front end does promise to showcase a bold face that is highlighted by slick headlights that merge at the Buick tri-shield which is also illuminated. The hood also has a relatively elegant design, and appears to thankfully be free of the tacky portholes that have come to define Buick’s offerings (for better or for worse.)

“Additional products featuring HEV, PHEV, and extended range electric vehicle powertrains are on the way from Buick to provide diverse intelligent solutions for green mobility” the announcement went on to reveal hinting that GM has a big green push in store for Buick that would not only be prevalent in China, but also trickle down into the U.S. market where the brand’s lack of green offerings is a noticeable weakness when compared to rivals such as Lexus and Hyundai

It is currently unknown if the powertrain and chassis architectures will lean towards the Cadillac CT6 PHEV or if they will share their heritage with the Chevrolet Volt. However, GM has released statements in the past which state that the company sees the Volt as a range extended EV versus an outright PHEV which could give the CT6 theory an edge in overall feasibility.

Look for additional details to be revealed closer to the car’s formal unveiling on November 18th, with more images possibly appearing before the big unveiling in China.

Buick Verano

Buick Axes Verano, Cites Low Oil Prices As Reason

In a world where lower than expected oil prices are forcing many automakers to rethink their long term sales strategies. Buick has become the latest name on this list with the brand potentially phasing out the Verano compact from the U.S. market.

This  report from Automotive News follows on the heels of the brand unveiling an updated version of the Verano in China late last year in both sedan and hatchback form. At the time it was speculated that the redesigned version could make its way to the U.S. to compete with the CLA as well as the updated ILX sedan. It would’ve also had some lofty shoes to fill with the current generation Verano not only being responsible for jump starting the compact luxury car segment, but also giving Buick a strong seller that has consistently outsold its larger brand mate the Buick Regal.

However low oil prices have effectively eliminated the sales niche that the Verano had when they were on the upswing, and many customers were still hesitant to buy a CUV. The Verano also had the goods to take advantage of the situation thanks to an impressive suite of standard equipment that served to justify the higher price premium that existed between it and the Chevrolet Cruze. In addition to the slide in fuel prices, the Verano is also stuck sharing showroom space with the popular Encore CUV.  As a result, the Verano’s value oriented pricing has actually become a liability with base Veranos sharing the same price as a lightly equipped Encore.  This also translates into a virtually identical list of standard equipment with both models offering rear view cameras, a seven inch touchscreen with Intellilink as well as Bluetooth and other goodies.

Killing the Verano will certainly cost Buick a large share of sales in the entry level luxury car market, but it also shows the high confidence that it has in its lineup of CUVs and their ability to lure customers into Buick-GMC showrooms. AN’s sources were quick to point out that the current generation Verano would survive till at least 2017 before being phased out. Unlike other vehicles, the Buick Verano has always had a special place in the Autoinfoquest office with this author owning a 2013 Verano Turbo model (pictured) that is used for daily driving duties as well as traveling to and from major automotive events.

Buick Puts The Brakes On U.S. Spec Adam Model

When upcoming Buick boss Duncan Aldred first arrived at Buick a year ago, he suggested that the Opel Adam “would make a great Buick” and even hinted that he was fast tracking a U.S. launch for the tiny compact. However according to a new report, Buick has changed its tune, and scrapped plans for the Adams rumored U.S. debut.

The main culprit behind this shift in direction is the sales of mini cars as a whole, with the segment taking a pounding due to low gas prices and the wild popularity of crossover vehicles. Fiat sales for example went down by nearly 15 percent during the first few months of 2016 with MINI sales skidding 12 percent when compared to last year. If it were approved, the Adam would’ve given Buick an entry to compete against the forementioned models while also helping the brand reach city dwelling millenials that strive to have a car that could easily make its way through narrow city streets.

Aldred also revealed that he is satisfied with Buick’s current lineup, and sees no need to add the Adam into the fold according to a statement made to the folks at Automotive News.

“I very much did feel when I came over that [an Adam for the U.S.] could really help accelerate the Buick brand story” he stated. “Whether the market shifted or the fashion nature of these cars has changed I don’t know. But I wouldn’t be looking for a small B-segment car today.”

By the end of the year Buick hopes to have several new models in dealer showrooms including three sedans, three crossovers as well as a convertible. The brand’s sales in 2015 were down by 2.6 percent, but sales this year have bridged the gap and rose by 20 percent with momentum not expected to slow down anytime soon.

Buick Showcases Updated 2017 Encore CUV

Looking to capitalize on the impressive sales momentum that has helped the current generation Encore become a top tier threat in the compact SUV segment, Buick has unveiled the updated 2017 Encore which brings new technology and revamped styling to the tiny SUV while also reinforcing its title as “America’s Most Popular Small SUV”.

The most obvious revision on the 2017 Encore is the updated front end which features a softer looking design that replaces some of the hard edged elements that are present on the current model, while also allowing the Encore to fall in line with Buick’s new 2017 Buick Encoredesign language at the same time. The headlights have also been reworked and higher trims feature full LED units. The taillights are also new, while the exhaust tips receive a splash of chrome trim. Rounding out the changes are a new set of wheels, and body colored door mirrors.

The updates also make their way into the cabin where Buick designers outfitted the car with new trim, a more comprehensive set of gauges, as well as an all new IntelliLink system which pitches the old model’s puny and non-touch capable unit in lieu of an 8.0 inch color touchscreen. This should eliminate 2017 Buick Encoresome of the ergonomic issues that plagued its predecessor. The system also supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto along with Onstar’s 4G LTE system that features built in WiFi. Buyers will be able to choose from five different trims, as well as whether they want their Encore in front-wheel or all-wheel drive configurations.

The 2017 Encore is heavily based on the Europe only Opel Mokka which was also updated and subsequently revealed at last month’s Geneva Motor Show. In its Buick branded suit of clothes, the model has only been on the market for three years, but has already become 2017 Buick Encorethe brand’s best selling vehicle during that short span of time. Last year it single handedly accounted for one in three vehicles Buick sold, and it’s sales rose 34 percent so far this year which is good for a vehicle in its hotly contested segment.

 

 

 

While this recent round of updates may be on the subtle side of things, look for them to help the Encore maintain its winning ways for another few years before a fully redesigned version is unveiled in the near future.

Buick Avenir Concept Not Being Produced, Strength Of Cadillac Possible Cause

When Buick first unveiled the Avenir sedan concept at the 2015 North American International Auto Show, it’s slick styling and elegant appointments previewed the idea of a full size Buick flagship sedan. However if recent comments are proven to be true, it will not be produced with Cadillac and it’s growing sales strength serving as a key reason.

In a recent interview with Automobile Magazine Buick GMC chief Duncan Aldred revealed that the Avenir will not be produced claiming that the sedan market is shrinking, and that General Motors already has “an emerging and strengthening Cadillac line.”

This latter comment has us intrigued, and would appear to indicate that GM execs saw the Avenir as a potential threat to the sales of the recently unveiled Cadillac CT6 flagship sedan. This would’ve been due to its shared platform, as well as the lower pricing ladder it would’ve had when compared to the big Caddy. Aldred wouldn’t elaborate on whether that was the sole reason, but he did say that the Avenir “would have been a viable buisness case” despite the overall slump in large sedan sales. All is not lost however, since the Avenir still has a strong legacy, and was a key influence on the 2017 Buick Lacrosse.

The same fate could be in store for the Avista coupe, though we suspect that it could still get the green light for production to allow the brand to have a true halo model versus the awkwardly styled and priced Cascada convertible. It would also help cement the brand’s newfound love for turbocharging and give younger buyers a more compelling performance choice. Aldred also revealed that while the “capabilities are there to build it” the Avista in its current form was designed solely as a concept.

While this is unfortunate news for hardcore Buick fans (myself included), Aldred said that these same fans shouldn’t give up hope, since he would also like to see Buick gain a halo model in the near future, which could perhaps be a veiled hint that something is in the works.

 

 

Buick Unveils Avista Sport Coupe, Could Showcase Future Performance Model

Following a rumor that recently appeared on the internet, Buick has unveiled the Avista sport coupe concept ahead of its formal debut at the 2016 North American International Auto Show.

The Avista was designed to rekindle the performance spirit that the brand embraced during the 1960s, and again in the 1980s with the Buick Grand National. The exterior styling follows the path set by last years Avenir concept with its use of futuristic cues as well2016-Buick-Avista-Concept-003 as more curves and swooping proportions than before, while also showcasing the company’s newly resurrected colored tri-shield emblem which is set against an elegant mesh grille.

The lack of formal B-pillars enhances the side profile’s flowing effect, and allows for a seamless shape, though we suspect that the production version will add them back on due to safety and production concessions. The Avista also heralds an evolution in the brand’s lighting design with the front and rear fascias featuring a tweaked version of Buick’s signature winged lighting. The units now incorporate “soft curtain” elements that create “illuminated halos” around the edges of the lamps. This is a neat styling trick, and certainly makes the car stand out especially when viewed from a glance.

The interior of the Avista also embraces this theme with Buick designers going for simplified elegance, while also adding copious amounts of attitude and function at the same time. The car features an advanced version of Buick’s IntelliLink infotainment system which features 2016-Buick-Avista-Concept-014slick touchscreen controls and a big instrument panel mounted display screen. The center console also adds more touchscreen controls, and even extends to the rear seats which should please rear seat occupants looking to be pampered during spirited driving. In addition exposed aluminum and carbon fiber trim highlight its fun side, and look sharp when viewed from certain angles.

Performance for the Avista concept builds upon the recent resurgence of turbocharged fun that first made its appearance on the Regal GS and later with the Verano Turbo (this author owns a 2013 model.) In the case of the Avista, power comes from a twin-turbocharged version of the 3.0 liter V6 that arrived in the 2017 Lacrosse. Buick did not release any official horsepower numbers, but we suspect that it makes at least 400 horsepower, which would add fuel to the rumors of a reborn Grand National model.

The engine is hooked up to an eight speed automatic transmission which promises to deliver accurate shifts while GM’s iconic Magnetic Ride Control system allows the Avista to not only tackle corners with minimal body roll, but also retain the high levels of comfort 2016-Buick-Avista-Concept-013that they have come to expect from a Buick product. A 110.7 inch long wheelbase also belies its sporting intentions and makes us think of the Chevrolet Camaro especially when one considers the Avista’s nearly equal front and rear track measurements (63 and 62.9 inches respectively.

Look for our detailed thoughts about the Avista when we see it in person at the 2016 North American International Auto Show and we look forward to finding out whether the Avista is a thinly veiled preview of the return of one of the greatest performance icons to ever be unleashed on the road.

 

 

 

Audi Unveils 2016 A8 L 4.0 Liter T Sport, Promises Bargain Friendly Performance

Looking to obtain an Audi S8 but don’t have quite the cash to do it? Audi has unveiled the solution to this problem with the 2016 A8 4.0T Sport

As its name suggests, the new model wields a variant of the same 4.0 Liter twin-turbocharged V8 that also sees duty in the Bentley Continental GT and the S8. However whereas the S8 makes 520 horsepower, the 4.0T Sport makes a slightly tamer 450 horsepower (a considerable gain from the old model’s 435 horsepower.) Some will argue that this figure is also less than the 500 horsepower W12 engine, but the V8 makes up for it by being lighter than the big twelve cylinder, which in turn helps increase fuel economy.

In addition to the new engine, the T Sport also features tweaked exterior styling with the lower front bumper incorporating larger air intakes to help improve air flow to the engine. Sculpted side sills also help improve its slick profile while 20-inch or optional 21-inch alloy wheels round out the profile quite nicely. Audi was also kind enough to equip the car with both the Executive and Luxury packages ensuring that occupants will also be coddled in luxury while cruising at triple digit speeds. An Alcantara swathed headliner adds to the performance theme while diamond quilt stitching for the leather seats enhances both style and comfort.

While its $90,500 MSRP ($925 destination fee included) is still a formidable chunk of change, the 4.0T is a considerable bargain when compared to the $114,900 wielded by the S8 as well as the $137,900 base price for the A8 L W12 variant. Audi has not released any performance data for this model as of yet, but look for the car to shed a tenth of a second off of the previous version’s 4.4 second 0 to 60 time. Buyers that would rather have more power and are willing to pay an even loftier premium can hold out for the S8 Plus and its 605 horsepower V8. Currently that variant is a Europe only exclusive, but it could make its way to our side of the pond if demand for it is strong enough.

Buick Teases Verano Hatchback Ahead Of Chinese Debut

Following the recent unveiling of the updated Buick Verano sedan, Buick’s China arm has released a lone teaser image of the hatchback variant ahead of its formal debut.

The lone teaser image appears to show that this new Buick will follow the trend of recent offerings and be essentially a rebadged Opel model. In this case, it is based off of the recently unveiled Opel Astra and hopes to mirror that model’s strong sales when it eventually lands in Chinese dealer lots. The rear styling doesn’t differ too much from the Opel version which means the slick tailights, blacked our C-pillars, and the roof mounted spoiler are carried over virtually intact. This is actually a good thing since we here at Autoinfoquest are big fans of the Astra’s new suit of clothes. Shots of the front fascia were not released, but look for it to be a mirror image of the Verano sedan’s schnoz.

Performance for the Verano hatchback will come from a pair of four cylinder engines with the base model featuring a naturally aspirated 1.5 liter engine. Buyers that choose the more performance oriented GS model will be pleased with the turbocharged version of the 1.5 liter which makes a commendable 166 horsepower with front-wheel drive standard fare across the board. The transmission choices however will vary depending on model with lower trims featuring either a standard six speed manual gearbox or an optional six speed automatic. GS versions will come equipped with a seven speed dual clutch transmission but we lament the lack of a stick especially in a performance oriented hatchback.

As for the U.S, our version of the all new Verano will make it’s debut either at the Los Angeles Auto Show, or early next year in Detroit at the North American International Auto Show. The next generation Verano will share GM’s all new D2XX platform with the recently unveiled Chevrolet Cruze, Volt, as well as the fore-mentioned Astra. In the case of the Verano, it is expected to help it be lighter and more agile than the current model.

This would be especially true for Turbo variants like the one i personally own where the lighter platform can help improve acceleration and handling behavior, while making it more fun to drive at the same time. We also wish that the GS hatchback would arrive in the U.S. since it would be a compelling contender to the GTI, and give the brand a clear rival to both the fore-mentioned hatchback, as well as its sedan sibling the Jetta GLI with the GS sedan.

 

Buick Teases Avenir Influenced 2017 Lacrosse

The Buick LaCrosse has done an excellent job reinventing the Buick driving experience, but competition in the mid size luxury car segment is fierce and the sleek Buick is starting to lose ground in some categories. Thankfully the brand has released the first glimpse of the 2017 LaCrosse ahead of its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The lone image showcases the cars new grille, and it is apparent that the Avenir concept played a huge role in the car’s styling. The concept (which made its debut at NAIAS) previewed a new direction for Buick styling, and was also a glimpse into the LaCrosse’s future. This is evident in the chrome wing that spreads out from the trademark tri-shield logo. The wing also helps bring the styling together thanks to the way it connects to the crease above the headlight assemblies.

When the Avenir debuted, it showcased sculpted styling cues that shared a spiritual link to the 1954 Wildcat II Concept while also embracing futuristic cues at the same time. It’s currently unknown how closely the production version of the LaCrosse will follow the concept or if it will adopt the long hood and tapered rear end that also made their respective appearances on the Avenir.

“The Avenir concept shattered expectations of what a Buick could be and the 2017 LaCrosse promises to do the same” stated Buick VP Duncan Aldred. “Its expressive design represents a break from convention, and highlights the progressiveness in all new Buick models.”

The LaCrosse will also be built on an all new platform that promises to be stronger and lighter than before which should translate into a much more responsive and dynamically engaging driving experience thanks in part to a revamped rear suspension that now features a five link setup to help increase responsiveness even further. However, despite the improved ride and handling characteristics, GM claims that the car will take “Buick’s signature quietness to a new threshold.” In short, this means that the new LaCrosse will put a strong emphasis on smooth quiet luxury and will not be mistaken as a BMW anytime soon especially when pushed in spirited driving.

Look for additional details to be announced closer to the LaCrosse’s debut in November, with pricing information and fuel economy figures being revealed closer to its official launch.