DETROIT -- The interior of the 2008 Buick Enclave crossover purposely was designed with less interior space than typical SUVs with three rows of seats.
The reason? General Motors' priority was to create an exterior design that is not common on SUVs or crossovers, said Anna Kretz, vehicle line executive for GM's upcoming mid-sized Lambda vehicle architecture. The Enclave features tall, sculptured fender lines that are tied to a gently sloping roofline.
The Enclave, 2007 Saturn Outlook and 2008 GMC Acadia will be the first crossovers developed on GM's Lambda architecture.
Kretz said many SUV owners are tired of boxy-looking exteriors.
Those vehicles have that shape "because the box gives you the most interior volume, and for some that is important," she said. Owners may require a larger, taller cargo area behind the second or third seat for camping or boating needs, for example.
"But there are a whole group of people who really want to move beyond that," said Kretz, who was interviewed at the Detroit auto show. "They have had several SUVs and really want something that is a little more unique. It takes the functionality from the interior, but it gives you an exterior that is a little bit unexpected."
The Enclave is expected to offer carlike ride and handling when it goes on sale in fall 2007. While the concept represents the exterior styling for the Enclave, the interior will be toned down a bit, said Kretz.
The production version of the Enclave will offer a seating position that gives the driver nearly the same commanding view of the road as an SUV. The height of the Enclave concept is 3.4 inches lower than the 2006 Buick Rainer SUV.
The concept and the production Enclave will feature seating for six -- three rows of seats with two seats in each row.
The Lambda architecture is engineered for front- and all-wheel-drive applications. Both V-6 and V-8 engine applications are expected, teamed with GM's new six-speed automatic transmission.
The Outlook goes on sale this fall, Kretz said. The Acadia will go on sale in 2007.
Crossovers developed on the Lambda architecture will be engineered to pull a 20-foot boat or a trailer with snowmobiles. Buyers needing a vehicle to pull a trailer with two or three horses will need look elsewhere, she said. Additionally, vehicles developed on the Lambda platform are not engineered for serious off-roading.
Kretz said the architecture also is engineered for seven- and eight-passenger vehicles.
Asked whether the architecture will be used for GM's next-generation minivans, Kretz said "we are capable of doing those kinds of things." But she said there are no plans for global use of the Lambda vehicle architecture.
You may e-mail Rick Kranz at [email protected]