What’s Hot and What’s Not in the 2020 Buick Lineup
What to Buy and What to Stay Away From When it Comes to Buick in 2020
Updated November 12, 2018
The Buick brand has written one of the most unorthodox automotive stories in recent years having managed to defy the odds and survive the GM bailout. Not only did they survive, but the tri-shield badge is quickly becoming one of the most profitable GM divisions thanks to the uncanny successes they’ve been enjoying on the quickly-developing Chinese market. The 2020 Buick models are expected to continue that trend and help the largest U.S. carmaker remain solvent for the foreseeable future.
Buick has more than doubled its U.S. volume since 2009 when they marketed 102,306 cars. Their 2017 figures amounted to 219,231 units while their 2018 figures at a half-year interval came to 109,695 vehicles. Compared to the same period in 2017 when the tri-shield badge pushed 110,316 models, that’s actually a 0.6 percent decline.
Although domestic sales often play a major role in any automaker’s fortunes, it’s the Chinese market sales that have kept the tri-shield division afloat. With 1,229,804 vehicles sold in 2016 and 1,223,517 models marketed in 2017, Chinese market sales are six times larger than domestic ones which is an anomaly rarely seen in the auto industry. However, Buick’s Chinese sales for 2018 (between January and August) amounted to “only” 678,787 units which is a drop of almost 9 percent compared to the same period in 2017 when the brand’s volume amounted to 743,742 vehicles.
The GM luxury division seems to be losing the wind that’s so successfully been driving their sales (pun intended) but they seem to have prepared an answer. After redesigning the Enclave for MY 2018 and Envision for MY 2019, it’s now time for their smallest crossover, the Encore, to rise and shine after a proposed MY 2020 overhaul. Furthermore, the brand is working on an all-new electric crossover which currently exists in concept form. The Enspire concept presented at the 2018 Beijing motor show should spawn a model of its own as early as 2020, and we can expect more from Buick on that front.
Without further ado, here’s what to pay attention to when it comes to Buick vehicles in 2020.
What’s Hot in the New 2020 Buick Lineup
03. 2020 Encore
The rebadged Opel Mokka arrived to the U.S. market back in 2013 and hasn’t been overhauled since. The subcompact crossover known as the Buick Encore in these parts is finally heading towards a substantial makeover, though. The 2020 Buick Encore will be redesigned and re-engineered at the same time thanks to both a contemporary design and new platform. The latter of the two will yet again be shared with the Chevrolet Trax stablemate but will be completely overhauled as well. In fact, the upcoming 2020 Encore will be one of the first vehicles to adopt the new GM platform strategy they’ll refer to as “vehicle set” from now on. The second-generation Encore is also expected to grow in size compared to its predecessor, if only by a slight amount. Considering it’s the company’s best-selling model by far, amounting to more than 40 percent of Buick’s total sales in the U.S., the tri-shield badge will likely play it safe where other parameters are concerned.
As before, the next-gen Buick Encore will be available with a single powertrain choice. However, the current offering comes in two different sets of tunes. Depending on your choice, you can get a 1.4L turbocharged 4-cylinder with either 138 or 153 horsepower. Both can be paired with either front or all-wheel drive, but the stronger engine provides start/stop technology that the smaller unit doesn’t get. The new models are also expected to offer a contemporary 9-speed automatic transmission in order to improve the current unit’s lackluster fuel economy ratings. They aren’t going to win any races, but they’re still responsive enough within city limits – especially the stronger one. Expect the forthcoming 2020 Encore’s prices to remain within the current margins, or between $24,000 and $32,000, before options, if you will.
02. 2020 Enspire
As already mentioned above, the Enspire concept represents Buick’s first foray into the EV market. Sporting a size similar to that of the compact Envision, that’s most likely the exact spot the Enspire will slot when it finally arrives. Its production-ready form shouldn’t be that far away when we take the concept model’s design cues into consideration, but it’s also safe to say the final product will sport a number of revisions before it makes a debut. The concept car also boasts Cadillac‘s Super Cruise system which allows it almost semi-autonomous-like freedom. Considering how even most Cadillacs aren’t fitted with it, we wouldn’t expect this highly advanced tech to make it into a production Buick SUV. The Buick Enspire EV was built with the Chinese market in mind, first and foremost, but a subsequent arrival to U.S. shores shouldn’t be questioned. It’s only a matter of when.
The tri-shield badge reports that their eMotion powertrain uses a couple of electric motors – one upon each of the axles. It provides as much as 550 horsepower and up to 370 miles of range thanks to a large battery pack of still-undisclosed capacity. We do know that 80 percent of the battery can be recharged within 40 minutes thanks to fast charging. We also know that the Enspire is capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in 4 seconds flat. With those kinds of numbers, it would be foolish not to offer the production-ready Enspire on the U.S. market. The question remains, though, whether or not the proposed production version will be able to justify the concept car’s high-flying boasts? It appears we have no other option but to bide our time in the hopes that Buick will provide us with answers soon enough.
01. 2020 Envision
The compact Envision was widely regarded as one of the quietest affordable luxury cars money can buy. After the recent overhaul, it’s safe to say the new models will continue boasting with that very same perk. The Buick Envision is also easy on the eye and rather spacious for a vehicle in its class. Another part of the mentioned facelift was a considerable price reduction. The entry-level models now start from $32,000 instead of $34,000, which is definitely a welcome move. At the same time, the Envision has been packed with more standard features like wireless charging, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, park assist, automatic emergency braking, and more. Improvements don’t stop there as many more have been implemented in the Envision’s powertrain department.
Speaking of which, the mildly redesigned compact crossover gets a revised 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine which now generates 252 horses and 295 pound-feet of torque. It’s exclusively available with the range-topping Premium and Premium II trim levels which, on the other hand, only exist in an all-wheel-drive configuration. Moreover, the revised turbo four also gets a new 9-speed automatic gearbox developed through a GM and Ford collaboration. Of course, both Premium trim levels cost north of $40,000 which invades the territory of some better-quoted options out there. The base models, though, retain their 2.5L 4-cylinders with 197 ponies and 192 lb-ft of torque. They also retain 6-speed automatics, but it’s only a matter of time before a unit with more gears becomes standard across the board. Their advantage, if you can call it that, is the fact they can be ordered in both front and all-wheel-drive configurations.
What’s Not in the New 2020 Buick Lineup
04. 2020 LaCrosse
The largest of Buick’s currently available passenger cars is still struggling despite receiving a complete overhaul during MY 2017. Moreover, the 2020 Buick LaCrosse will receive further updates in the face of a mid-cycle refresh. Even that probably won’t be enough to reverse its fortunes, as demand for traditional large sedans is dwindling. After 2015, which was the last strong-selling year for the nameplate (42,035 units in the U.S.), the sales more than halved in 2017 (20,161 units). The updated LaCrosse won’t be bringing any radical changes apart from a redesign to the front and rear fascia, and some interior tweaks. Another way to rid the car of some problems is the introduction of more standard safety features and a price reduction. We’ll see how the tri-shield badge responds. At the moment, the LaCrosse costs between $30,000 and almost $50,000 in the range-topping Avenir grade with all-wheel-drive included.
The 2020 LaCrosse will continue with a somewhat outdated lineup of naturally aspirated engines – at least at first glance. The base 2.5L 4-cylinder makes 194 horsepower thanks to an integrated electric motor and small battery pack. This mild-hybrid setup also helps it achieve up to 35 mpg on the highway according to GM. The stronger 3.6L V6 makes 310 horsepower and comes with a modern 9-speed transmission – we gotta give it that. The same gearbox is expected to migrate to base models as well by the time 2020 comes knocking. At the moment, they’re fitted with a 6-speed unit. While the V6 can be optioned with either front or all-wheel drive, the 4-cylinder is available exclusively in a FWD setup. It’s evident that the Buick LaCrosse has its strong points across the board, but it still fails to separate itself from the rest of the pack which is sinking deeper and deeper into obscurity.
03. 2020 Enclave
The second-generation of Buick’s mid-size Enclave crossover brought a number of improvements across the board when it arrived in late 2017. The switchover, however, wasn’t as smooth as we’d have guessed at first. The new Enclave sports a premium price tag starting from $40,000 and rising to $57,000 in the range-topping Avenir trim. The not-so-inexpensive entry-level models also showcase an apparent evidence of cost-cutting in sub-par materials quality across the cabin. Furthermore, most active safety features are optional and expensive to boot. Finally, the 2020 models will carry over without any substantial changes apart from some equipment shifts and possibly different color options. When we take all of the aforementioned into consideration, it’s evident that the 2020 Enclave is arguably a model not worthy of consideration. Maybe it’s better to sit out on that one and wait for a facelifted unit instead, which should arrive in 2021.
Regardless of the chosen model, every second-gen Buick Enclave sports the same 3.6L V6 powertrain. Good enough for 310 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of twist and paired with a contemporary nine-speed automatic, the V6 provides ample power and smooth shifts across the board. Available in both front and all-wheel drive, the Enclave is also one of the class leaders in towing ratings and is able to pull as much as 5,000 pounds. However, you’d need to opt for the towing package in order to reap that particular benefit. The Buick Enclave for MY 2020 will still be a fine choice even though most of its shortcomings won’t be addressed. As mentioned above, though, it might be better to wait and see what the tri-shield badge will have to offer later on. Especially if they decide against cutting the Enclave’s steep price tag.
02. 2020 Regal
Much like the Enclave, the 2020 Buick Regal, too, is in for a slow year without any real changes. It’ll be the calm before the storm, though, as MY 2021 has been pinpointed as a facelift year for Buick’s rebadged Opel Insignia. Consisting of both a fastback and station wagon, the modern day Regal lineup hasn’t been as versatile since the famous second generation which last offered a wagon body style. This is also the first Buick wagon since the Roadmaster bowed down in 1996. The regular Sportback models are available between $25,000 and $36,000 while the TourX wagon warrants $5,000 more to begin with, but doesn’t delve deeper than its range-topping 4-door counterparts. There’s also the performance-oriented Buick Regal GS sportback which will set you back $40,000 but should counter that flaw by providing more fun driving dynamics. Neither of the available models will change for the better nor worse, though, so it might be smart to bide time and see what GM has prepared for the future.
Every single Buick Regal, regardless of trim or body style, comes with a 250-horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque (295 lb-ft with the optional all-wheel drive) 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. Every single model besides the GS, that is. That’s right – the GS is your only ticket to a V6-powered Buick intermediate passenger car these days. It sports a 3.6L V6 engine capable of producing 310 ponies and 282 pound-feet of rotational force and comes exclusively with all-wheel drive. As far as transmissions go, the vast majority of models are fitted with 8-speed units, but in an awkward fashion, the GS and FWD sportbacks do offer a more contemporary 9-speed gearbox. Will the new tranny start its migration towards the rest of the Regal range? It’s still too early to tell. Likewise, it’s also too early to provide any real prediction about the Regal’s future, sales-wise, but things sure do look gloomy at the moment.
01. 2020 Cascada
A rebadged Opel Cascada is Buick’s first convertible since the 1991 Reatta and likely the last for the foreseeable future. Despite being imagined as atypical for Buick – insofar that is a ‘fun vehicle’ – the Cascada never succeeded in garnering the expected sales momentum. Introduced back in early 2016, the Cascada is bowing down in 2019, but some leftover models will be sold the following year. GM will almost certainly reduce the $33,000 starting sticker for the leftover units, but they’ll have to reduce it by quite a margin in order to balance out all of the 2-door’s shortcomings. The convertible was never fun to drive due to its extremely heavy frame which weighs nearly 4,000 pounds. Needless to say, this translates to some seriously slow acceleration and overall less-than-sporty performance. At least the 2-door’s troubles have come to an end now.
During its short lifespan on the U.S. market, the Buick Cascada was available exclusively with a 1.6L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. Rated at a healthy 200 horses and 207 lb-ft of rotational force, the four-banger was also able to return up to 24 miles to the gallon combined. As mentioned above, that didn’t help it achieve better than 8.3 seconds when it came to 0 to 60 mph acceleration. The Buick Cascada won’t be remembered for its downsides, though. Most people won’t even know the car existed in a few years. Jokes aside, the Opel-based convertible did look good. It also offered a comfy, quiet cabin, and plenty of cargo space by convertible standards. Buying the Buick Cascada in 2020, though, is only advisable if you’re extremely loyal to GM’s luxury brand and, really, only if you’re willing to bet on it being the last Buick drop-top in the next 20 or so years. An offer you couldn’t refuse, price-wise, would also be a good excuse. Other than that, the Cascada is a goner, and you should really look elsewhere if you’re searching for a relatively affordable luxury cabriolet.