While we give credit to Buick for its bold introduction of the subcompact Encore, it was somewhat of a risky move leaving a substantial price and size gap between it and the full-sized three-row Enclave crossover. Based on these spy photos, it looks like an intermediate model to slot between the two is in the works.
What gives this away as a tri-shield variant of what’s likely to also be the basis for the next-generation Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain are the slightly sloping beltline and vertical-slat grille with round center badge — just like that of the current Encore and Enclave.
Proportions indicate a slightly smaller vehicle compared to the current Equinox and Terrain, which are closer in size to the Ford Edge than the compact Escape. The Buick “Anthem,” as it’s rumored to be called (although we’d expect a name starting with an “E” to keep with Buick’s sport ‘ute naming convention), will also go up against the Escape-based Lincoln MKC when it hits showrooms, possibly late next year as a 2015 model.
In terms of locomotion, there’s a chance Buick’s midsizer could get an all-four-cylinder powertrain lineup. The current 3.6-liter V-6 in the Equinox produces a near-class-leading 301 hp and 272 lb-ft of torque, but its 17/24 mpg city/highway fuel economy rating is near the bottom of the segment. Some good candidates could be GM’s direct-injection 2.0-liter turbo I-4, which produces 259 hp and 295 lb-ft in the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu and Buick Regal, with the 2.5-liter direct-injected I-4 serving as the base engine.
You might have noticed the roof-mounted device on this prototype. It looks very similar to those affixed to Google’s self-driving cars running around Northern California near the tech giant’s headquarters. We’re not sure what purpose they serve here, but the gadget could be an indication that GM is working on integrating some level of autonomous computerized vehicle control into future models. When contacted for comment, Buick representative Phil Colley simply stated “We do not comment on future product speculation.”
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Photo Source: KGP Photography