Our Best Look Yet At The Future “Baby Buick Enclave”15
Last week, an exclusive GM Authority report outlined that a prototype of a GM SUV we initially though was the three-row Chevy Blazer is actually a future Buick crossover. Today, we managed to catch up to another prototype of the same vehicle, enabling us to get our best look yet at the mule.
For reasons we outline below, we will refer to this model as a “Baby” Buick Enclave.
The model we see here is labeled as developmental prototype 1 (on the rear window), while the one we spied back in September had a label #3. We believe that the two testers represent different trim levels as a result of two key differences between the two mules.
- Prototype 1 of this future Buick CUV is riding on smaller wheels that have a less upscale design pattern.
- Prototype 1 has a slightly different set of exhaust outlets at the rear of the vehicle; notably, neither mule seems to be equipped with a complete lower fascia that makes the vehicle’s various exhaust system components and mufflers visible – something we don’t expect to see from the production-intent model
We believe that the model seen here is a future crossover utility vehicle for GM’s Buick brand. To that end, we uncovered that the project is assigned program code C1UB internally at GM.
This equates to a midsize CUV based on the short wheelbase version of the GM C1 platform currently used by the Cadillac XT5, GMC Acadia and Chevrolet Blazer. A long-wheelbase variant of this very platform underpins the Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave. It will soon underpin the upcoming Cadillac XT6. Curiously, Buick is the only GM core brand that does not currently have a vehicle based on the short C1 platform.
When it lands, this future Buick midsize CUV will fill a rather obvious gap in the brand’s lineup as it slots between the compact Envision and full-size Enclave. Three rows of seating is expected, but not in the same palatial capacity as in the full-size Enclave. Exterior styling is expected to adopt Buick’s latest design language introduced by the Buick Enspire concept.
We’ve seen solid evidence that production will commence in the 2020 calendar year at the Jinqiao Cadillac plant (also known as Shanghai III). Though we have yet to see any concrete material about North American production, there is no reason to believe the model would not be marketed in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
Potentially the biggest question about this upcoming model is its name. We have reason to believe that the utility will carry the Enclave moniker, joining the full-size Enclave as a sort of “Enclave family”. Other potential names include Anthem and Tribute, for both of which GM had previously filed trademarks.
Until we hear otherwise, we’ll refer to this future model as the Baby Buick Enclave. Stay tuned!
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Wouldn’t it be confusing for two Buick vehicles to use the name “Enclave”? Could this one be called “Enspire”? It wouldn’t use the designation “GX” like you reported for Encore and Envision, would it? Are the names “Anthem” or “Tribute” still-active trademarks? Has GM followed the same registration / renewal pattern with them as with other trademarks? Thank you.
Call the smaller Enclave Enclave, and then recoin the original one “Enlarge”…
Those are lower trim XT5 rims and Enclave exhaust. Last week’s spy shots featured Acadia exhaust. Either this is some sort of mule or this model is going to be a hodgepodge.
GM has really entered a boring part of its product life cycle.
A few years ago, they were creating new categories (e.g., near luxury sub compact CUV with the Encore; first affordable long range BEV in the Bolt) or expanding underserved categories (e.g., the Colorado/Canyon in the mid-size truck space).
Now? It just seems every brand is focusing on yet another iteration of a CUV–some a little bit bigger, some a little bit smaller–than what that brand already has (e.g., at a Buick GMC dealer, if someone wanted something smaller than an Enclave, couldn’t they get an Acadia? I guess not — every brand has to overlap now).
Yet we still don’t have a serious, mass-market effort to compete with Jeep’s off-road pedigree and still don’t have a a serious effort to take on Subaru (which has been growing like gangbusters). Or how about a relatively inexpensive, functionally-focused smaller truck for those who don’t want to spend $30k (and much more) for something with an open bed?
All these CUVs will be fine; I understand some of them (e.g., the Blazer, though still don’t like the name). But there are so many of them, but within GM and outside of GM, it just seems to be treading water when there are (were?) other areas that should be the focus of scarce development dollars and marketing.
The cold hard reality is that CUV’s (all sizes) have usurped the basic sedan (small, compact, mid, and large) as the new center of the automotive universe. I have no doubt that Buick needs this fourth CUV iteration to stay relevant among the mainstream auto brands.
As for possible names, I’m not entirely sold on the “En…” family…that said, how about “Enlighten?” Just don’t bring back Ranier or Rendezvous…
I’m pretty sure this one will be a 2 row instead of a 3 row just because that would be pointless and what’s the point of offering 3 row on this where you could just get the Enclave.
You may be right on the 2 row v 3 row, but if this new model is based on the Blazer/Acadia, it could go either way. With Enclave’s 3rd row being a basic ’90th percentile’ seat, and Acadia’s being a ’20th percentile’ seat, if Buick should go 3rd row on this new model, it would give them a solid 2 2 row and 2 3 row CUV portfolio…
The only sticky issue for GM would be that for their network of Buick-GMC dealers, it would mean 2 sets of fraternal twins on the showroom floor, Terrain/Envision, and Acadia/En-whatever.
Call it Envision and forget that Chinese crap.
I get that low volume Buick products must come from China because GM will never tool a US factory for a 40,000 unit out put.
Buick is mainly a Chinese brand snubbed by US consumers and would be dead without cost sharing.
I support unions, have been a member, and would be far happier if GM pledged to build all trucks in the US as opposed to small batch Buick. GM must maintain a small N American footprint, no room for fluff, as we enter the age of Cruise AV technology and lower yearly unit sales.
Are you ok with Japanese, German, UK and Mexico imports but not Chinese? Just curious?
I admire Jeep for so far not having too many overlapping segments.
Three CUVs is more than enough. A smaller three row is silly seeing as Buick isn’t a discount brand.
The Enspire is a beautiful design minus the small lights/compressed front facia. Such a design would make Buick exciting again.
Jeep not overlapping? Explain Compass and Cherokee
Compass, Cherokee, and formerly Patriot.. That said, Patriot’s now gone, and since anything with the Jeep brand on it will sell, it makes a lot of business decisions look very good. Do we all remember the Jeep bike and luggage?
Excerpt now there’s Renegade
Not interested if it is made in China!
Live to dream that this is the successor to the Buick Envision and unlike it’s predecessor will be build in the United States and China.