Skip to main content

Avenir isn’t just French for ‘future,’ it’s also a hint at the next Buick flagship

Honestly, no one in the industry was expecting to see anything more from Buick at the Detroit Auto Show, after the unveil of the Cascada compact convertible. To our surprise – and delight – it had one more treat in store for us: the Avenir concept.

Avenir, Buick is quick to point out, is French for ‘future.’ This is no coincidence, as the Avenir likely shows where a full-size Buick flagship could head. With elements inspired by Buicks of old, the car takes on a new direction for the American brand.

The first thing onlookers might notice is its grille is a complete departure from other modern Buick noses, which, in my humble opinion, is a very good thing indeed. Designers weren’t too crazy, though, they still kept the signature Buick sweep-spear body sideline.

While this is undoubtedly one of the best looking Buicks of the last few decades, I can’t help but feel like it’s just trying to be an Audi. Let’s look at the spec sheet of which Buick is ever so proud.

The Avenir boasts seating for four, LED exterior lighting, 21-inch wheels, a direct-injected V6 engine with cylinder deactivation and stop/start technology, a nine-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission, driver-selectable suspension damping, twin-clutch all-wheel-drive, next-generation Buick IntelliLink infotainment with large, 12-inch-diagonal color touch screen, driver-recognition features that automatically sync infotainment preferences, ionic cabin air filtration, mobile device wireless charging, and OnStar 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hotspot.

Save the ionic filter and the 12-inch screen, that sheet reads like a spec sheet of a two-year-old Audi A7. Is it exceptional for Buick? You bet. For any other brand in the luxury space? Not so much.

Despite my cynicism, I am happy to see Buick take a step into the 21st century. And I am sure they’ll sell a ton of these things in Florida and China.

Editors' Recommendations

Nick Jaynes
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Nick Jaynes is the Automotive Editor for Digital Trends. He developed a passion for writing about cars working his way…
It’s (fraternal) twins! Kia’s 2017 Forte sedan and Forte5 hatchback bow in Detroit
2017 Kia Forte5

Kia’s eye-opening Telluride concept may have gotten the bulk of the attention in Detroit, but the brand’s production car lineup is getting its chance to shine with two new vehicles -- the 2017 Forte sedan and Forte5 hatchback.

I’ll take the hatch, please

Read more
The turbocharged, rear-wheel drive Avista concept is unlike any Buick you’ve seen before
2016 Buick Avista Concept

Buick has surprised show-goers in the nation's Motor City by introducing a sleek, sporty-looking concept called Avista.

The Avista takes the form of a 2+2 coupe with a muscular-looking front end characterized by thin headlights, a rippled hood, and a wide grille with mesh inserts as well as a winged Buick emblem. Careful observers will note the front fascia bears more than a passing resemblance to the Monza concept that General Motors' Germany-based Opel division presented at the 2013 edition of the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Read more
Chinese-built 2016 Buick Envision arrives in Detroit
2016 Buick Envision

Buicks are immensely popular in China, which is why General Motors has taken to launching certain models there first, rather than in the U.S. That includes the Buick Envision crossover, which debuted all the way back at the 2014 Chengdu Auto Show.

Now, the Envision is finally coming to Buick's home market. And while Buick stresses that the compact Envision was "engineered and tested in Michigan," U.S.-market models will still be built in Yantai, China. In addition to being the first Chinese-built Buick sold in the U.S., the Envision will fill a major gap in the brand's lineup.

Read more