MILFORD, MI – The production version of the Buick Enclave cross/utility vehicle concept, which bowed at the 2006 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, will look “very, very much like (the concept) when it debuts,” says Mike Kutcher, program manager for Enclave concept.
A production version of the new Buick CUV, based onCorp.’s Lambda platform, is due out within a year.
The concept boasts a 3.6L DOHC V-6 engine with variable valve timing, rated at 270 hp and mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission.
While a high-feature V-6 definitely will power the production version, Kutcher tells Ward’s at an event at the GM’s proving grounds here, he is not sure whether an optional V-8 will be offered.
Outfitted with six captain’s chairs, Kutcher says the concept was designed to provide six people “personal accommodation for convenience,” such as “storage bins, cup holders, independent climate controls at all positions, tray tables in the rear seats to work on laptops or do paperwork and DVD capability for all passengers.”
The production version can be configured to accommodate eight passengers, with second- and third-row bench seats, a GM spokeswoman confirms.
The concept, Kutcher says, was designed to convey “Buick’s future product offering,” noting the Enclave borrows design cues from the Buick Centieme concept unveiled at the 2003 Detroit show.
The production Enclave likely will retain the all-wheel drive and a 4-wheel independent suspension setup of the concept, he says, providing “good car-like ride and handling and good fuel efficiency.”
Kutcher says from the onset, the Enclave concept was designed with a production version in mind.
“When we do a car, we always come up with what we call a ‘concept vehicle charter,’ which is an internal term that defines the scope of the concept vehicle we’re going to show, and it goes anywhere from a ground-up vehicle,” says Kutcher, who worked on the well-received Cadillac Sixteen concept that bowed in 2003 in Detroit.
“This one (Enclave) was a little bit more defined because we already had different plans in the works,” he says.
The Enclave, like the recently launched Buick Lucerne sedan, is part of GM’s attempt to attract a younger audience to Buick, which for decades has been labeled as a marque for geriatric consumers.
“(At the auto show) I saw a lot of people looking at the Enclave, and they weren’t of the age Buick has been associated with in the past. They were a lot of younger people,” Kutcher says. “My personal opinion is that it could change the perception of Buick.”
New vehicles derived from the Lambda platform – which include the Enclave and its sister vehicles the Saturn Outlook and GMC Acadia – will be built at GM’s Delta Twp., MI, plant, under construction near Lansing.