• Dec 4, 2009
Buick small sedan prototype – Click above for high-res image gallery

Yesterday, we showed you the first official rendering of Buick's forthcoming small car, a shrunken LaCrosse lookalike that is expected to be based on the European market Opel Astra. The image was flashed on the screen during General Motors' presentation of the new 2011 Buick Regal at this week's LA Auto Show, and judging by these latest spy shots from our friends at CarPix, it would appear that the rendering gives us a very good look at the upcoming sedan.

As we saw in an earlier batch of shots, the Delta-II platform-based model (known as the Excelle in China) will retain Buick's signature waterfall grille, yet unlike the Regal, it will have a set of horizontally-mounted ventiports to add a bit of the marque's characteristic flash. In the past, the number of ventiport holes indicated the number of cylinders of the engine lurking beneath the sheetmetal, but in this case, we don't expect for the as-yet-unnamed U.S. sedan to carry more than four cylinders.

With the Regal and this forthcoming small sedan, GM is clearly making a big push to lower the average buyer age of its Buick division by injecting a bit of sport and perhaps a greater measure of affordability. Is this the right strategy for the brand, or is The General at risk of revisiting the same brand perception (and brand overlap) issues it had in the Eighties with smaller cars like the Somerset and Century? Be sure to check out our high-res gallery below and then hop into Comments to let us know what you think.



[Source: CarPix]


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  • 61 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      without Buicks what will all the lovely 40" rims be placed on?
      • 5 Years Ago
      The compact Buick is long overdue. Forget the predjudice of the past sins of GM. If Buick can produce a quality compact that reflects the luxury and reliability that the new GM is prosletizing then let the new era begin. Good product will win - mediocre will die. I can only hope that it will be built in the USA (or Canada) and offer the 2.4l direct injected with manual as well as auto. Idle stop and start would be a great feature to have on this small Buick. Styling is subjective. Engineering, performance and build quality should be the criterion.
        Christopher
        • 5 Years Ago
        hate for GM sins of the past will never be forgiven, even should GM happen to cure aids, cure cancer, create the best pure lineup of vehicles on the planet, invent the first warp engine, and yes even pay back every single cent of taxpayer bailout money with interest, and provide every American taxpayer a shiny new corvette as a reward. hate for domestic cars(particularly GM) was first produced in the baby boomer generation, particularly during the first fuel crisis of 1973 i believe. Japanese cars, mere curiosities with little market share or interest at the time, were suddenly discovered to be fuel efficient, reliable little runabouts, if bland drives. they thus gained their foothold into our market, and the slow, half-assed response of the domestics basically ensured the birth of the "anything so long as it's not made here" crowd. this generation that gave up on American autos taught their children to scoff and hate the domestic automobile in much the same way as hardliner Anti-U.S. people from other countries teach their children to hate the "American devils." the cycle of hate will continue to be passed from generation to generation, and people willing to consider other than an Asian or European Auto will continue to dwindle with succesive generations, no matter what genuinely good product may come from the likes of GM
      • 5 Years Ago
      I love all the critics. These are test mules people not press release vehicles. They aren't supposed to look luxurious, sporty, or even unique. They are being driven around Germany so they can test and make adjustments to the build, the suspension, the transmission shift points, and even the seat height and drive position. That's the point with the camo, non descript wheels, and even the headlights. Its so when we and the competition see it prior to its debut in 12-18 months they don't know what its really going to be and the price point its going to be in.

      Thank you for hating progress and GM, but I supose if this was a new Corolla or Civic you would be pleasuring your self with 100 grit sand paper and saying it feels good because its Asian.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I hate Government Motors for taking my taxpayer money and continuing to so disastrously f*** up.

        So no, I'm not going to go take sandpaper and pleasure myself to Japanese vehicles. I'll stick to Ford, thanks.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree 125%
      • 5 Years Ago
      Atta boy GM. Come out with a great looking LaCross then sacrifice brand integrity by trying to sell a piece of garbage mini-version to the masses. If you wanna compare yourself to lexus you don't make cloth an option. And you don't badge a corolla a "Lexus."
        Christopher
        • 5 Years Ago
        @John H the lexus IS is a compact rear drive sedan meant to have some sporting pretensions and compete with a 3 series bmw. that car in particular is no corolla with an L badge. a more appropriate response would have asked that question of the lexus ES, which is little if anything more than a toyota camry with an L bagde. or even the new hybrid, which is a euro market toyota avensis sedan with an L badge and a hybrid motor. however when viewed directly from side profile that particular car does look indistinguishable from a late model corolla. the regular avensis oddly enough were it available in the states would slot between the corolla and camry, which would be a complete waist of space. though, lexus is coming out with it's own "premium compact" to compete with the likes of volvo C30/S40, and audi A3. a "premium compact" from buick would fit right in with that, but i hope it would be made available as both the sedan and the hatch. the 1.6L turbo 4 at 181HP and 173lb-ft really is decent for it, but it would be nice to also see the 2.0L turbo from the regal make it to a high end version of the "buick astra" as well
        • 5 Years Ago
        Lexus IS is what, then?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Buick is becoming hip again.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Oh, don't get me wrong. Mercury and Lincoln are just as pointless as Buick. And judging by Ford's current management of them Ford agrees.

      Don't be surprised to see Mercury, Lincoln and Buick all fade away eventually. Except in GM's case they are going to waste quite a bit of money (taxpayer money) on Buick now before they do it. Just like Saturn. Just like Pontiac. Just like HUMMER. Just like Saab.

      I browsed Opel's main site and the Astra is a very good looking car. For being based on the Astra this looks terrible. They did a good job draining all the richness out of the details and design.

      Now it does look like a tarted-up Cruze.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Exactly what I was saying! Ruined the Opel and came out with a tarted-up Cruze!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Buick sells as many cars in the US as Acura and Inifiniti. Buick is just as relevant, even if you may not be attracted to them.
      • 5 Years Ago
      LOL, not to even mention most of their cars (although I think this one looks decent), but GM can't even get the CAMO right. It looks ridiculous, like some grade-schooler just cut out black triangles and pasted them onto the car every-which way.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Checkout the vauxhall website for a complete view of the lineup offered, this link is to the twin top convertible. http://www.vauxhall.co.uk/vaux/vehicle/vehicleBrandAction.do?method=viewBrand&brandCode=9C#brandTab:atAGlanceTab_subTab:photos

      There is also an estate version, a 4 door hatch and a 2 door coupe. Opel also offers a 4 door sedan version of the Astra in Eastern Europe. Too bad that wasn't what was sent over for Saturn, but better luck this time around
      • 5 Years Ago
      This car is confusing me a bit. Not because I do not see where it fits in, but more because of the mixed message that it sends as considered against GM's proclamation that Buick is to compete with Lexus.

      Clearly, a small FWD semi-luxury economy car is not something that competes directly with Lexus. The closest thing would maybe be an IS250 -- which is RWD and something I think most of us could agree is completely out of this car's league.

      I am thinking that Buick's positioning is more like Acura's a few years ago. I would say that Caddilac competes more directly with Lexus, Audi, BMW, Mercedes, etc. Buick competes more with Acura, Saab, and Volvo.

      The mixed message about it competing with Lexus seems to come from the LaCrosse's competition with the Lexus ES and the Enclave's competition with the RX. I think the competition ends there. These are the two areas where all of the companies seem to compete Volvo, Acura, BMW, Saab, Lexus, etc.

      If we think of Buick as running into this overlap but being more like a former Acura, this car makes a lot more sense. I would call this similar to the 4-door Integra, the Regal as being similar to the Vigor/TSX, and the LaCrosse as being in a similar category to the TL, and the Enclave is competing with something like an MDX. I know this comparison isn't perfect (and it shouldn't be as cars really on their unique attributes to bring in buyers) but it helps me clarify what Buick is in America.

      All that being said, I think that looking at this comparison to a Volvo S40 or Acura Integra category, the car looks pretty good!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Looks like a mini lacrosse
      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't know, I lived in the 70's and 80's and Buick sold a crapload of small Buicks like Somersets, Skylarks, Skyhawks, etc. I'd be curious to see actual sales numbers of Buick-then vs Buick-now.

      I see no problem with a smaller, highly featured Buick model. This isn't really badge engineering because it's not that similar to anything currently sold in the US market.

      GM has a lot more market to try to cover now with the "middle" brands (Saturn, Pontiac, Olds) now gone. It's still kind of a jump from Chevy to Cadillac.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Considering the vast excess of overlap in old GM, this isn't too hard:
        - Chevy Zxx / SS models easily replace Pontiac as the value sportsters
        - Buick replaces Saab, Olds & Saturn with true import fighters tied to Opel & China
        - GMC absorbs the HUMMER off-road crowd, while Caddy gets the street crowd
        - Caddy more-or-less stands alone as the super-premium brand

        Besides, with "small" cars becoming what we used to call a mid-size, it's not like Buick is pushing a microcar like a Scion.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm sick of "small means cheap" (cheap as in bare-bones). The more cars like this, the better.
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