It’s not quite the jaw-dropping, boat-tailed concept sedan that stirred up the waters when it was unveiled at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, but Buick is still hoping to draw in a flood of new buyers with the unveiling of the new Enclave Avenir at this year’s New York International Auto Show.
The 2018 SUV is the first model to wear the badge of this new sub-brand, the Buick equivalent of GMC’s Denali. And if it has anywhere near the same level of success, it could add a dose of steroids to the ongoing Buick turnaround.
“The Enclave has been a successful formula for the Buick brand, with sales results that have defied traditional product cycles,” sales actually rising as the current SUV has approached the end of its long lifecycle, said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Global Buick and GMC. “It’s a beacon for (what) the modern, attainable luxury Buick stands for and is a natural place to launch Avenir.”
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The Avenir version of the Enclave not coincidentally comes as the aging SUV gets a complete makeover. With a new platform, it is more aerodynamic, with a lower roofline and a more aggressively raked windshield, among other changes.
Like Denali, the Avenir sub-brand will be targeted at the most upscale of buyers. And though final details have yet to be replaced, customers considering the new badge should expect to pay several thousand dollars more for the Buick Enclave Avenir.
What will one get for the higher transaction price?
- Buick’s new Evonik Acrylite lighting system places more than 100 LED bulbs across the vehicle to enhance visibility;
- A rear camera mirror that gives the driver a broader, unobstructed view of the road;
- An in-vehicle air ionization filtration system;
- Unique-to-Avenir mesh grille and 20-inch alloy wheels;
- Bragging rights as the first to own the new badge.
The Enclave itself is a seven-passenger ute that has proved surprisingly robust, even building demand as it has aged, in sharp contrast to industry norms. It has been the anchor of a long-needed turnaround at the Buick brand. On the downside, while Buick’s various ute models have been building both awareness and sales, its passenger car models have been losing traction in a market that is rapidly losing interest in sedans, coupes and convertibles.
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The Enclave Avenir will be powered by a 302-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 paired to a nine-speed automatic. Fuel-saving technologies include Stop/Start functionality. The powertrain gives the SUV enough oomph to pull a 5,000-pound boat trailer, equivalent, Buick says, to a typical 21-foot sport boat.
As for interior upgrades, the maker notes they include, “an Avenir Chestnut and Ebony interior with piping on the seats and contrasting stitching; embroidered first-row headrests; Avenir floor-mats; a wood-accented steering wheel; and bold Avenir-scripted sill plates on all four doors.”
Other standard interior features of the first Avenir will include heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, onboard navigation, wireless charging, a dual moonroof, and an eight-inch reconfigurable instrument cluster. A 4G LTE WiFi hotspot gives another option for those who might not use the Enclave’s built-in rear entertainment system.
“This is a vehicle intended for Buick customers who demand the best and the latest our brand has to offer,” said Aldred.
As with GMC’s Denali line-up, expect to see more of Buick’s models given the Avenir treatment in the near future. Unfortunately, considering the rapid shift in the U.S. market, don’t expect to see the Avenir Concept make it into production at this point.
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