- What: a compact-sized premium/luxury crossover
- When: late 2014/early 2015 production
- Where: traditional Buick markets, including China and North America; expected in Europe as next-generation Opel Antara
- Platform: GM D2XX compact vehicle architecture
- Competitors: upcoming compact Lexus CUV, Lincoln MKC CUV
When Buick unveiled the Encore crossover at the 2012 North American International Auto Show, we were rather perplexed by GM’s decision to introduce a subcompact crossover to the Buick lineup before of a compact or midsize offering. After all, the three-row Enclave is as full-size as crossovers get, and the Encore is as small as they get, and the existence of one very large and one very small CUV presented a gargantuan opportunity to serve the most popular CUV segment — that of the compact crossover.
As the dust behind the Encore’s introduction began to settle, GM’s reasoning to launch a limited-market, limited-appeal vehicle such as the subcompact Encore before a compact CUV became clear: the automaker was bound by the release cadence of its upcoming new vehicle architectures — specifically, the new D2XX platform.
You see, the Gamma-based Encore (along with the Opel Mokka and Chevy Trax) has been part of the Gamma platform program from the get-go, while an architecture for a larger, compact-sized crossover that would be attractive to a significantly greater car-buying audience, wasn’t ready — and wouldn’t be for two to three years. Luckily, the platform to support a compact CUV offering from Buick will be ready shortly.
At this point, all we know is that the larger-than-Encore but smaller-than-Enclave Buick CUV could carry several names, including Anthem, Envision, and Enspire. It will ride on GM’s all-new D2XX platform that will also underpin the next-gen Chevrolet Cruze, Opel-Vauxhall Astra, and Chevrolet Equinox. An Opel-Vauxhall variant will be available, likely as the next-gen Antara thanks to the global alignment of the Opel-Vauxhall-Buick brands.
The two-row, five-seat Buick crossover will be available in the traditional markets served by Buick, including China and North America, while the Opel twin will be available in Opel’s traditional market of Europe. The Buick variant will significantly expand the market appeal of Buick’s CUV lineup — thereby increasing the Tri-Shield brand’s sales volume.
The upcoming compact CUV has already been caught undergoing testing while wearing a bevy of camouflage, so development is well under way as of this writing.