First founded by David Dunbar Buick in 1899, Buick is the oldest operational car marque in the world. The redheaded stepchild of GM, Buick has nearly been dropped from the line-up on more than one occasion. Surprisingly, during the 2004 restricting of GM, the Buick banner remained. At the time many bemoaned the move. However, considering their domestic sales volume has more than doubled since 2009 and it has come to dominate the import market in China the decision may prove to be one of the smartest moves in automotive history. Sales have drifted downward slightly in the last few years but through a process of constant upgrades and attention to customer feedback, Buick is more than holding its own here and abroad. For 2020, the progression of updates will continue. And there are even rumors that some old names may be making a reappearance in the near future. Of course, not every change can is forward progress. Some ideas may even border on pineapple toilet paper but at least the effort is there.
Will the Encore get another encore?
We’ve been looking at the same tired lines on the Encore since Buick rebadged the Opel Mokka back in 2013. For 2020 it is not just getting a facelift but a complete overhaul. The Encore will be one of the first vehicles to move to GM’s new platform strategy they refer to as “vehicle set.” Even better news is the addition of a GX model that is supposed to have more cargo room and power. Unfortunately, as best as can be determined at this time, the bigger engine is being achieved by no longer offering the 153-horsepower engine in the Encore itself. It will be standard for the GX. Never exactly a rocket sled to begin with limiting the Encore to the 1.4L turbocharged 4-cylinder with 138 horsepower is akin to putting a governor on a tricycle. We can only hope the new platform brings improved handling.
Is there electricity in the air?
When it comes to electric cars, Buick’s record is less than inspiring. We were promised a production Enspire Electric SUV this year that is supposed to do everything but wipe the cat’s ass, but then again, we were also promised a Bolt based Buick last year, and it is still nowhere to be seen. The good news is if Buick can ever get the Enspire to production and fulfill all their promises, it will be a hell of a ride. The eMotion powertrain that is supposed to be standard will have a motor on each axle and produce an astounding 550 horsepower while still giving us up to a 370-mile range. The Enspire is also slated to come equipped with Cadillac’s Super Cruise system making it almost semi-autonomous, and the large battery pack is supposed to be able to take on a full charge in as little as 40-minutes. Now that’s awe-inspiring.
Can you envision a better Envision?
One of Buick's greatest success stories has been the Envision line. Considered one of the quietest mid-size luxury cars on the market, it has been doing quite well. Still good can always be made better, and that is exactly the vision Buick has for this vehicle. A few of the planned upgrades for 2020 include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, wireless charging, park assist system, automatic emergency braking, and on its two top-tier trim packages a newly redesigned 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine generating 252 horses and 295 pound-feet of torque tied to a 9-speed automatic transmission.
Which way did they go?
For all the good news that has been coming out of GM’s Detroit headquarters, not everything is champagne and grilled cheese sandwiches. Two Buick models will be leaving the U.S. market and sadly may not even be remembered ten years from now. They were that forgettable. Buicks largest crossover, the LaCrosse, never really caught on in the U.S. as its impressive price tag and shoddy materials made it easily outstripped by the competition. From 2020 forward, it will only be available in China.
The Buick Cascada is a perfect example of how not to build a fun car. The first Buick convertible since 1991 was an eye-catching car, but cost-cutting on materials left it feeling tawdry. This paired with the fact that it only came equipped with a 1.6L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine putting out 200 horses and 207 lb-ft of torque and delivering 8.3 second 0-60 times spelled doom for this baby.
Is the Buick Grand National really coming back?
The rumors have been buzzing around for years, and the company has supposedly even picked out the three engine packages they will offer. Still, much like the promised Enspire, there are no real signs that the GM is any closer to reappearing now than it was two years ago. The concept car is beautiful, and we could just imagine it equipped with the 3.6-liter twin-turbo V-6 that has been proposed for it.