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Buick Envisions future utility vehicle

Built in China crossover may be coming to North America

Published: September 1, 2015, 12:00 AM
Updated: April 29, 2018, 1:42 PM

2015 Buick Envision

Buick may be looking at expansion of its utility vehicle stable with a vehicle to fit in between the compact Encore and the full-sized Enclave, reports Automotive News.

2015 Buick Envision

The company is looking at keeping up with the likes of Audi (which has the Q5 in between the compact Q3 and full-sized Q7) and Mercedes-Benz (with the GLK, GLA and GLE, respectively) and reportedly, the vehicle to fit the bill without too much muss or fuss is the Envision, currently built and sold only in China.

If it does come to fruition, it wouldn’t take much to adapt the vehicle to North America. Production costs would be naturally low due to its already being produced in a country where labour costs would offset the tariffs on importing it to North America. Production capacity would be a different hurdle, since the size may make it more desirable to North American consumer tastes than the compact Encore (which is similarly built in Asia and exported to North America).

2015 Buick Envision interior

The Envision uses GM’s new compact world car platform, which replaces that of the current Chevrolet Cruze and Volt, and several others including the compact Buick Verano sedan. The new versions of those cars will also use the D2XX architecture of the Envision

Other media are suggesting powertrains will have to be changed but I don’t know. The Envision is currently powered by either a 166-hp 1.5-litre four-cylinder or a 256-hp 2.0 turbo “four.” It is not known if the smaller engine would make the trip across the Pacific, but the 2.0 turbo is already in use here in the Regal sedan, where it makes 259-hp, and that is considerably higher than the 200-hp output of both the Q5 and GLK “fours” (although the latter uses a turbodiesel).

But if GM decides a V6 is needed for a vehicle this size in this market, then the Envision might look at the 300-hp 3.6 V6 currently used in the slightly smaller Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain, both of which are expected to move up in size when they are redesigned. The Equinox and Terrain currently use the Theta utility platform but are expected to move to the new D2XX.

Regardless of how GM proceeds, power would be sent to either the front wheels or all four through a six-speed automatic.