What the world needs is love, and a new Buick crossover
The world needs another concept SUV with cherry wood flooring and inlaid pearl accents. It does, we do, and Buick has just the tonic we need to get away from our hum-drum lives, dampened by the boredom of plastic interiors, carpeted floor mats and fuzzy headliners. Of course, when the Buick Enclave, which debuted as a concept during the 2006 North American International Auto Show, makes it into production form, the fine wood trim and pearl handles will be replaced by an industrial equivalent. And then it will become just another hum-drum near-luxury crossover, one that makes everybody kind of happy and pleased – like a really good anti-depressant, or maybe a nice vodka martini. In its present form, however, the Enclave is a wonderful fantasy, a sexy concept with the kind of interior bangles we all wish a luxury car could have. It’s fun to look at, and would be a dream to drive. GM hopes the real Buick Enclave will elicit that kind of response. If they hold to the ideal of craftsmanship introduced with the concept, and keep the design of the concept intact, they just might accomplish it. There’s always the likelihood that budget-conscious GM executives will cut the legs out from underneath the Enclave, however, even though car master Bob Lutz says that the Enclave that goes on sale will be 99-percent similar to the concept. If Lutz is right, Buick shoppers will have a very stylish crossover to consider, with wrap-around glass in back and a strong, sexy beltline that comes together nicely in the back of the vehicle, and they won’t have to wait all that long for it: General Motors claims that the Enclave crossover will become reality in 2007, and will replace the Rainier and the Rendezvous. In its current concept form, the Enclave rides on 21-inch wheels, and is powered by a 3.6-liter, 270-horsepower engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. The crossover will offer all-wheel-drive and a fully independent suspension. The interior is swathed in supple leather and gets plenty of wood trim; and the Enclave shows a level of refinement most people are used to seeing in a Lexus – which is exactly what Buick would like to achieve, pointing out that the Enclave will have an especially quiet, luxurious ride. Funny how things come back around. It used to be that Lexus was the Buick of imports, now Buick wants to be the Lexus of domestics.
Photo courtesy of Buick