Future Buicks: small cars, front-drivers, and four-cylinders ahead

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Buick's future won't include the classy Velite concept roadster--but Volt-alikes are in the plan.

Buick's future won't include the classy Velite concept roadster--but Volt-alikes are in the plan.

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With GM sailing off into the future minus a handful of brands--Saturn, HUMMER, Saab and Pontiac among them--Buick counts itself as one of the lucky nameplates in the new GM.

What's next? A compact Buick lineup of four or five vehicles, with more compact dimensions and smaller engines than fans of the classic Buick V-8s might expect, according to Motor Trend.

Buick's future centers around a trio of core products already in its showroom, and one or two more to come. Today's lineup counts the 2010 Buick LaCrosse as its mainstream sedan; the Enclave as its big crossover; and the Lucerne as its traditional full-size sedan.

In two years, the lineup will be slightly bigger, with a few additions. Motor Trend speculates that a few new vehicles are headed to the lineup:

2012 Buick Lucerne: a replacement for this full-size front-drive sedan is on the way. The most likely scenario is for a new four-door with all-wheel drive, built off a common platform with a new Cadillac sedan and a new Chevrolet Impala. There will be no 2011 Lucerne. The new car will be developed as an extension of the current "Epsilon" platform that underpins the new LaCrosse. An assembly-plant home in Ontario is likely, too.

2013 Buick Enclave: a revamped version of this new vehicle has been spotted on CBS News of all places, in clay prototype form. The new version will carry on largely in its current format, but with even more expressive styling.

Buick LaCrosse: Newly introduced, the front-drive competitor for the Toyota Avalon and Ford Taurus will carry the brand through its transition into the new GM. A four-cylinder edition is planned, which puts this new four-door closer than ever to the Chevrolet Malibu, which shares its running gear and assembly plant.

2012 Buick Regal: Motor Trend suggests two more sedans could become Buicks. The first would be a version of the Opel Insignia, which may be a part of the GM empire for only a short time as the company sells its majority interest to Canadian supplier Magna. Buick could receive a rebadged Insignia to slot beneath the LaCrosse.

2012 Buick Century sedan and MPV: Far more likely, Motor Authority predicts, is the addition of a compact Buick based on the new Chevrolet Cruze/Volt architecture. A four-cylinder sedan with more room than the Civic or Corolla, the new Buick could be dubbed Century and could later receive a version of GM's Voltec hybrid drivetrain that's being developed for the 2011 Chevy Volt. The MPV version would share running gear with the Chevrolet Orlando that's been confirmed for production in Detroit and for U.S. sale in 2011.

[Motor Trend]
 
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