For one reason or another, crossovers remain the fastest-growing vehicle segment in the world. And as luck (and great product) have it, General Motors has been very successful when it comes to selling crossovers in North America with the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain being some of the most popular CUVs on the market. To remain competitive against the onslaught of newly-redesigned vehicles from rival automakers, General Motors will replace its compact crossoves with all-new models (not pictured) sometime around 2015.
The spy shots, presented by autoevolution here, show an early development mule of what we believe to be the next-generation Opel Antara and Chevrolet Equinox/Captiva wearing the body shell of the Chevy Orlando MPV. Spotted in Northern Sweden, the mule sports an all-wheel-drive system as evidenced by the drive shafts that are clearly visible from the rear of the prototype. To note, the Orlando does not offer AWD.
The Antara launched in 2006, and its North American-market cousin — the Saturn Vue — launched in 2007 before being discontinued in 2007 with the demise of the Saturn brand; in 2011, General Motors began offering the Antara exclusively to fleets in the United States as the Chevrolet Captiva Sport, while the vehicle continues to be offered directly to consumers elsewhere around the world. Meanwhile, the second-generation Chevy Equinox (and platform-mate GMC Terrain) launched in 2009 and even though highly popular, remained exclusively for the North American market.
GM’s next-gen compact crossovers will ride on the automaker’s new global D2XX modular vehicle architecture shared with the upcoming 2015 Chevy Cruze and Opel Astra, among other compact vehicles. In migrating to the compact D2XX platform, the Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain are expected to become somewhat smaller than the current generation of vehicles, as Chevy’s CUV becomes a truly global vehicle. In addition, the D2XX platform might even spawn a compact crossover for the Buick brand that would slot between the Encore and Enclave (Envision or Enspire, anyone?); such a vehicle might be aligned with the next-gen Antara.