Take one look at the current Buick lineup and you’ll see no resemblance to the stodgy, rounded leisure cruisers of preceding decades. Since the introduction of the new LaCrosse, Buick has begun to consistently deliver attractive, relevant products without alienating loyal followers. The new Buick Enclave and Regal are stunners. But the new Buick Enspire crossover concept is out of this world – well, after being announced at Auto China in Beijing, it’s at least on the other side of the world.
Revealing the new Enspire in China makes a ton of sense. First, in 2017, Buick sold 1.2 million vehicles in China. That’s roughly five times as many as they sold in the United States. Further, China is a better market for EVs in general. The nation has a huge pollution problem and is forcing automakers to increase the number of emissions-free vehicles in their lineups. Meanwhile, North America has lagged behind in EV adoption. So, we shouldn’t feel too jealous that Buick chose China to reveal its most exciting vehicle in years.
The Buick Enspire
Evidently the good people of Buick have run out of words that begin with “EN,” so they’ve started making some up. What about entourage, endeavour, encephalitis? Or, maybe the conspicuous “e” is a tip of the cap to the fact that this is a purely electric vehicle. Yes, the Buick Enspire is a premium all-electric SUV, the holy grail of the battery-powered world. And, despite being a concept, it’s no fantasy.
Per Buick, the Enspire’s motor can generate 550 horsepower. That’s right, 550. And, as long as you’re not constantly taxing them all, it has a driving range of
600 kilometres. That huge number, if achievable for the real market, would certainly put “range anxiety” to bed. Impressively, the Enspire is also outfitted with GM’s Super Cruise technology that delivers the safest commercially available semi-autonomous driving experience. In fact, it’s the first vehicle outside of Cadillac to be fitted with the new tech. On mapped roads, drivers can take their hands off the wheel and enjoy the ride (as long as cameras detect they’re still paying attention).
As smart and powerful as the Enspire is, the looks are arguably just as impressive. From the recessed blue mesh grille with meter-wide badge and predatoryheadlights to the subtly chamfered sheetmetal, the Enspire looks great. Five years ago, no one would believe you if you told them it’s a Buick. Maybe that’s why the company broke its promise to stop printing its name on the back of vehicles for this special occasion. That could also be the reason the steering wheel features an illuminated tri-shield badge. Still, you may not notice it with the head-up display that spans the entire windshield like something from iRobot.
Just a Concept
For now, the remarkable Buick Enspire is merely a concept vehicle. There’s no word on whether it will even be more than a show piece for the Chinese market. If Buick brought it to market and priced it consistently with the rest of its lineup, it could be a definite threat to prohibitively expensive entries from Tesla, BMW, and Jaguar. But, even if the Enspire crossover is just a statement of intent, it will reassure fans that Buick has not lost the desire to innovate which brought us its current crop of stellar vehicles.