General Motors announced today that Buick will launch a five-passenger crossover next year, with a plug-in hybrid version to follow in 2011. And it looks to us like the Saturn Vue is getting a three-shields makeover.
GM released an image of the new Buick crossover's grille. Which looks a whole lot like a Saturn Vue with a mildly restyled front end. Compare the grille photo to the one of the Saturn Vue at bottom. Not real different, hmmmmm?
The so-far-unnamed Buick crossover will feature direct-injection gasoline engines, both a 2.4-liter four and a 3.0-liter V6, with the plug-in hybrid following in 2011. Left unclear is whether there will be an intermediate Two-Mode Hybrid system without the plug-in feature.
Echoing the Enclave
The "new" crossover is meant to piggyback on the very successful 2009 Buick Enclave seven-passenger crossover. "Some customers drawn to the Enclave were looking for something a little smaller," said GM's Susan Docherty, "but they didn't want to give up craftsmanship or a quiet ride."
GM vice chairman of global product development Tom Stephens told Automotive News in June that the plug-in hybrid powertrain would be delivered to fleets in early 2011, in an unnamed vehicle. He didn't specify whether it would be branded Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, or GMC, or which model the hybrid system would appear in.
In June, we suggested it would be either the revised 2010 Chevrolet Equinox (a version of which achieved 32 mpg highway) or the new 2010 GMC Terrain. We also speculated it might be fitted to the 2010 Cadillac SRX, since Cadillac has been most successful in selling hybrid models of its Escalade large SUV.
But we were wrong. A Buick it is. At least after they finish work on the refinement, the interior styling, and the rest of the components to give it true Buick-ness, of course.
Saturn Vue Two-Mode Hybrid