Thursday, August 6, 2009

New Buick SUV for 2010, Plug-in Hybrid Version Debuts in 2011

New Buick SUV for 2010, Plug-in Hybrid Version Debuts in 2011

General Motors will introduce a new five-passenger crossover to Buick's range in late 2010 that will be offered with a family of direct-injected gasoline engines followed in 2011 by a plug-in hybrid model that is expected to be the first mass produced SUV of its kind. If the front quarter teaser photo is anything to go by, we'd say that the yet-to-be-named Buick crossover appears to be a rebadged Saturn Vue, which makes sense since the Saturn brand will be discontinued from GM's portfolio at the end of the year (GM has agreed to sell the marque to Penske).

"Some customers who have been drawn to the Enclave were looking for something a little smaller, but they didn't want to give up craftsmanship or a quiet ride to get there," said Susan Docherty, general manager of Buick-Pontiac-GMC. "We believe this new Buick will excite those customers, and will continue to broaden the appeal of the brand."

The Buick crossover will be powered by an Ecotec 2.4-liter direct-injected four-cylinder engine with an optional 3.0-liter direct-injected V6, and according to GM, is expected to deliver 30 miles per gallon or more on the highway.

Equipped with a direct-injected 3.6-liter V6 flex-fuel engine and two-electric motors, the Buick crossover plug-in hybrid model will combine a modified version of GM's 2-Mode Hybrid system with advanced lithium-ion battery cells and charging technology derived straight from the Chevy Volt EV.

The 8 kwh lithium-ion battery that contains half the energy of the Volt battery pack will be packaged in a rectangular-shaped box under the cargo floor. GM claims that the battery can be fully recharged in four to five hours by simply connecting the vehicle to any standard 110V household electrical outlet. The automaker said that in early testing, the plug-in hybrid is capable of electric-only propulsion for more than 10 miles at low speeds.

Similar to Toyota's hybrid models, GM's 2-Mode plug-in hybrid system can use any combination of electric or gasoline engine power to move the vehicle, depending on the driving conditions.

More details on the new Buick crossover will be announced closer to the vehicle's launch date.

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