Buick will get sportier, roll out crossovers
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Crossovers will take center stage for Buick in the 2013 model year.
The compact Buick Encore crossover debuts in the first quarter as a 2013 model. Buick is hoping to get a jump on what looks to be a budding segment: luxury small crossovers. Competition will come from the BMW X1, set to be launched in the United States this year, followed by the Audi Q3 in 2014.
In addition, Buick's popular Enclave crossover has been restyled for 2013 with extensive interior improvements and exterior touches.
On the sedan side, Buick pushes further into sporty performance by adding a turbocharged engine for its Verano compact, which debuted late last year. It's also considering a Verano coupe based on the Opel Astra GTC.
Here are highlights of Buick's plan for the 2013-15 model years.
LaCrosse: A freshened LaCrosse is planned for the second half of 2013 as a 2014 model. It will include extensive interior improvements, including a palette of new colors and an enhanced acoustics package. The exterior will get minor enhancements, such as brushed-chrome trim.
A redesigned, more luxurious LaCrosse is likely to arrive in 2016. It's expected to be the first car built on an improved version of GM's Epsilon platform, which also underpins the 2013 Cadillac XTS and 2014 Chevrolet Impala.
Regal: For the 2013 model year, the 2.4-liter engine with GM's eAssist mild hybrid technology becomes the base powertrain. Buick introduced eAssist as a $2,000 option for 2012; the 2.4-liter without the hybrid system had been the base engine.
A redesigned Regal, which was developed in Germany and also is badged as an Opel Insignia, isn't likely until the 2016 model year.
Encore: The five-seat compact crossover will debut in early 2013 for the 2013 model year. It's built on GM's Gamma front-wheel-drive subcompact platform, which underpins the Opel Meriva MPV. It features a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine and optional all-wheel drive.
Verano: For 2013, the Verano gets a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that will produce 250 hp. Expect Buick to add GM's eAssist mild hybrid for either the 2014 or the 2015 model year.
GM is considering a Verano sport coupe, which would be derived from the three-door Opel Astra GTC that is sold in Europe.
Enclave: Buick's large crossover gets restyled for the 2013 model year, including an upgraded interior that will feature more stitching and soft-touch materials. Buick's IntelliLink infotainment system will come standard. Exterior changes include restyled front and rear fascias and a new black waterfall grille.
Expect a redesigned Enclave in time for the 2016 model year.
You can reach Mike Colias at email@example.com.