We've been given teaser images and small slivers of information surrounding Buick's new Envision concept; now, the automaker has spilled the full details on its Chinese-only hybrid crossover concept
The concept was designed and engineered specifically for the Chinese market in a joint effort by General Motors Shanghai and the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center. The concept "merges Buick's global design language with Chinese aesthetics," the automaker said in a release.
"The Envision has inherited Buick design DNA and taken the its global design language to a new height. The Envision makes a significant statement about Buick's styling and technology, and will influence upcoming models from the brand," said Ed Welburn, GM's VP of Global design.
As it stands, the Enclave is currently Buick's sole SUV offering in China. Since the Enclave was designed mainly for U.S. consumers and not necessarily for the Chinese market, the Envision concept is a sign Buick is ready to devote more resources to its largest market.
Buick aimed to create a functional SUV with ample space, but gave the concept a coupe-like appearance, giving just two doors. Stretching nearly the entire length of the vehicle, the doors rotate on scissor hinges, which makes entering and exiting easier, while taking up much less room when open than conventional doors. Sharp edges and a flowing design give the concept a futuristic appearance, but stays draws from production models with Buick's signature waterfall grille. Large arches make room for 22-inch multi-spoke wheels, wrapped in silicone tires described as having a lower noise, resistance, and energy consumption than traditional rubber.
Inside, drivers are greeted by a nice mix of high-class materials consisting of Italian leather, aluminum, and maple veneer. Comfort and aesthetics were also a top priority, although typical futuristic concept gauges and controls are found throughout.
Addressing fuel economy and emissions, Buick utilized a plug-in hybrid powertrain to drive the vehicle. Under its hood lies a 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4, mated to a pair of electric motors, with power routed to all four corners through an eight-speed automatic transmission. The Envision drives on electric power stored in lithium-ion batteries at low speeds, with the gasoline engine providing power at higher speeds and when battery power is depleted. Roof-mounted solar panels are also utilized to help charge the battery pack.
The Envision makes its public debut at the Shanghai motor show this week, and will likely translate into a future crossover for the market. Unfortunately for those interested in the car residing Stateside, it will probably remain a China exclusive.