Buick Avant Concept sketch

Buick Avant Concept sketch

Size matters here in the U.S., as much as we may wish it were otherwise. We like our cars, our horsepower figures, our salaries and our meals to be as super-sized as possible. But there's a growing trend to recognize the big value in small things, and Buick is hoping to tap into that in the automotive sector with the Avant.

As cities grow more densely populated and fuel prices rise, owning a large car or SUV is becoming less and less practical. It hasn't changed overnight--and it's not going too--but there's been a definite progression back toward smaller vehicles in the U.S., and Buick's paying attention.

It's drawing on its resources in densely-populated and congested China to help deliver a new small premium platform, and this video reveals some of the concepts flying behind the scenes at Buick: doors that slide instead of swinging open when in tight spots; seating that re-configures itself based on the number of occupants; a unique "micro-pergola" sun roof.

All of these features are clearly concept-only for the present, but they illustrate Buick's desire to think outside the box in approaching the small premium segment, something that's going to be a pre-requisite to convincing us free-range North Americans that we need a compact yet still feature-filled and likely pricey city car.

To see all of these features and more in action, check out the video below.

[GM Lab]