Buick Primed to Join the Luxury Conversation with Lexus?
TFL’s Nathan Adlen headed to the Buick display at this week’s Los Angeles Auto Show and wrangled Rob Peterson from Buick’s marketing department to check out two of the hot new vehicles GM’s luxury nameplate is rolling out in 2018. And we’re not kidding when we say the brand is hot. Unlike the rest of America’s luxury brands that have yet to crack the code on American buyers (that goes for its sister brand Cadillac as well), Buick has enjoyed three years of steady growth in the U.S.
Part of that comes from the European parts and design bin it shares with GM’s Continental brands. The other part comes from giving customers what they want. As Peterson explains to Nathan, the average buyer is specifying a vehicle that pencils out to almost $50,000. Given that Buick’s signature elements are a pillow-soft, buttery ride and super-quiet cabin, it’s no wonder that GM’s bran is moving into the Lexus category among shoppers.
The LaCrosse Avenir debuted this week in L.A. The Avenir badge (that’s French for “future”) signifies Buick’s top-o-the-line, feature- and option-packed vehicle in the same way that GMC uses “Denali” to signify their premium trucks and SUVs. At first glance the only real difference between an Avenir model and a regular LaCrosse is the grill and side badging. As Peterson explains, the details tells the difference. Exclusive leather interior, triple-sealed glass and noise canceling tech to make it dead quiet are just some of the Avenir features. Peterson couldn’t supply Nathan with an MSRP yet. But he expects dealers to take deliver this February or March.
Regal GS AWD
Despite its soft ride heritage, Buick does make a sports sedan, the Regal GS. Of course this is a sports sedan relative to the brand. Upgrades from the outgoing Regal GS include a switch from the 2.0-liter turbo four to a 3.6-liter V6 that pumps out 310 horsepower. Peterson claims the new engine delivers a 0-60 mph time of around 5 seconds. Folks, that’s fast for a Buick. Another change is in the more aggressive bucket seats up front, that, I kid you not, look ready to fit a 5-point harness.
While the money machine LaCrosse gets the Avenir treatment, the Regal lineup is really the future of Buick here in the States. At least as far as we see it. With the sportback and RegalX wagon out in 2018, look for Buick to get on more luxury vehicle shopping lists.
Take our poll below Nathan’s video introduction of the Regal GS at the L.A. Auto Show. Then let us know if you think Buick has earned its spot alongside other premium brands.