Buick Prepares to Launch More Avenir Models
The 2018 Buick Enclave is the first to get a high-end Avenir model but will certainly not be the last. The second generation of the seven-passenger Enclave crossover, with the addition of the Avenir, goes on sale this fall. Pricing has not been announced.
But look for Buick to roll out Avenirs across the lineup over the next 18 months to two years, said Alan Batey, General Motors president of North America, at the New York auto show where the Enclave made its debut.
The inspiration came from GMC’s Denali line which has been hugely successful and profitable for GM. Buick, as a premium brand, made sense to add a top trim. “We knew there was opportunity there,” Batey said.
The Avenir name was chosen because of the positive response to the Avenir car concept shown at the 2015 North American International Auto Show. Avenir is French for “future,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Global Buick and GMC.
And Enclave made sense to be the first because 90 percent of Enclave buyers purchase the top two trim levels.
The outgoing Enclave shares underpinnings with the outgoing Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia. All three moved to a new platform for this second generation and parted ways somewhat. While the Enclave and Traverse remained full seven or eight-passenger vehicles, the Acadia went smaller and is the same size as the midsize Cadillac XT5.
Batey said Buick needed a full-size CUV because the midsize Envision slots underneath it.
Buick did not benchmark any particular vehicle in developing the Avenir, Batey said. Loyal buyers and conquests should combine for strong sales of the new model which replaces a vehicle that is now nine years old—a long life cycle in today’s fast-paced auto industry.
Avenir buyers can opt for GM’s intelligent all-wheel-drive system with twin rear clutches to more directly apply torque to the rear wheels. A continuously variable real-time damping suspension with Sport mode is also optional. The Avenir offers adaptive cruise control as part of a tech package, and there is a camera rear-view mirror.
All Enclaves have the 3.6-liter V-6 that generates 302 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. The family vehicle now can tow 5,000 pounds—enough to pull a 21-foot boat—compared with 4,200 pounds with the outgoing model.
This second-generation Enclave is 350 pounds lighter despite being larger, including a longer wheelbase.
There are no plans to offer a hybrid, Batey said.