Buick Envision SUV Concept Revealed With Plug-In Hybrid Drive, AWD

Colum Wood
by Colum Wood

With a new compact crossover tipped to be in the production schedule for Buick, look for it to take inspiration from the new Envision SUV concept, revealed today at the Shanghai Auto Show.

Continuing to take Buick’s styling in a more progressive direction, this latest concept still retains trademark Buick cues, like the waterfall grille.

Power comes from a plug-in hybrid drive with a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine mated to two electric motors and an 8-speed transmission that can be operated in either automatic or manual modes (dual clutch?). A lithium-ion battery pack stores the power, and a solar panel on the roof helps deliver added electricity to minimize the work required of the powertrain.

Differing from the Voltec powertrain, the gasoline engine will power the wheels, but only when significant power is required, such as when driving up a hill or under sudden acceleration. Under low speeds and steady cruising, electricity powers the wheels and when the battery runs out of juice, the gasoline engine will help recharge it.

The vehicle itself sits on a chassis made up of magnesium, aluminum and even carbon fiber components and uses GM’s electromagnetic suspension to deliver one of the fastest reacting suspensions in the world. Plus, the AWD system lets power be distributed to each 22-inch wheel independently.

Inside the Envision gets a stunning cockpit with a ‘yin and yang’ themed interior, using galaxy-blue and sand-beach white leather, with a large center armrest that runs the length of the car. Technology doesn’t stop at what’s under the hood either with an onboard router that enables web access through your smartphone, while a new touch screen interface also displays info on the windscreen. That heads-up display also works for the back-up camera, with the objects behind the car being shown on the windshield in 3-D.

It’s not clear how many of these technologies will make it into the production vehicle, but it’s clear Buick is moving forward with plans to bring a small SUV to market soon.

GALLERY: Buick Envision SUV Concept

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