Who Would Buy A Posh Avenir Version Of The Buick Encore GX?

2022 Buick Encore Gx

Luxury subcompact crossovers have found solid ground in the marketplace, so it’s not entirely surprising to hear GM Authority report that Buick may be working on a luxury Avenir version of the Encore GX subcompact crossover. It’s a strange rumor at first, but it makes sense the more you think about it. As new car production volume is down, automakers want to prioritize high-margin trim levels. Plus, the Encore GX sells well for Buick in spite of its deficiencies, and a refresh in 2024 could punch up cabin materials, button down suspension, tighten up steering, and make the Encore GX a more pleasant vehicle to drive.

If a Buick Encore GX Avenir were to exist, who would plunk down their cash on one? Well, every brand has client profiles for their products. For instance, the Volkswagen Phaeton sourcebook states that Volkswagen’s imagined Phaeton client was younger and earned more money than a BMW 7-Series or Mercedes-Benz S-Class owner. Since the Encore GX Avenir isn’t a product that exists right now, GM obviously won’t release a client profile on such a vehicle. Lucky for you, we’ve invented a guy who’d buy one. Ladies, gentlemen, and the people who don’t give a fuck, allow me to introduce Sbeve.

2022 Buick Encore Gx
Photo credit: Buick

Sbeve is a resident of Omaha and a military veteran, having previously served in the War of 1812. He likes his coffee black and his salads with garlic-free salad dressing. He tucks his shirts into his trousers and his trousers into his socks and loves his fifteenth wife very much, just like how he loved his previous 14. While he doesn’t know what a JPEG is, he’s a big fan of ultrasonic sensors, being intimately familiar with their principles.

Despite Sbeve’s age, he doesn’t look a day over 35. Credit goes to his avoidance of sunlight and lack of stressing about appearances due to not having mirrors in his home. He has his own signature Bloody Mary recipe but won’t tell anyone what’s in it. While Sbeve could very well afford a fully-loaded Enclave in cash, gas isn’t a nickel a gallon anymore, and his old Century is getting a bit tired. He’s driven a Buick ever since they made the second one and since they’ve done him no wrong, he might as well stick with what he knows. Besides, his dealer is always inviting him to try the new models and he’s never one to show up without invitation.

2022 Buick Encore Gx
Photo credit: Buick

Thanks to his keen hearing, Sbeve would find a Bose audio system a necessary upgrade over the rather wretched base-model stereo in lesser Encore GX models. Hell, I’d find the Bose audio system necessary, the base speakers have horrible distortion to the point where I thought I’d blow one or two. Plus, heated leather seats that may even feature a special color will appeal to Sbeve’s sharp sense of style. This man takes pride in looking good effortlessly, so the interior of his car should suit his image. Likewise, a special Avenir grille would be quite distinctive, just like Sbeve’s fondness for the occasional cape.

In case you haven’t noticed yet, Sbeve is a vampire. A creature of the undead, much like the Buick brand itself right now. In both cases, a dose of fresh blood should prolong life a bit longer, whether that blood be literal or a possible well-equipped subcompact crossover. In any case, Happy Halloween weekend from your friends at The Autopian.

Lead photo credit: Buick

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33 Responses

  1. Compact crossover/sorta suv is a very practical size for urban car. Big enough to haul stuff, small enough to work with urban parking.

    Before car prices went crazy I thought it was worth it to pay for better trim/package. Sometimes you find features you didn’t know you would like (remote start, etc)

  2. I am curious about the take rates of ‘Avenir’ on the other models and wonder if GM publishes that anywhere. It seems extremely silly to have a luxury sub-brand of what is already a semi-luxe brand. Shouldn’t they be encouraging buyers into a Cadillac XT_ instead of a Buick Avenir CUV? This seems about as well-advised as Ford’s hopeless ‘Vignale’ subbrand in Europe, though I guess GMC’s Denali does pretty well for itself. If anything the ‘Avenir’ Buicks are exactly how I expect Buicks should look from the get go, and the cheaper ones might as well be badged ‘Chevy’.

    1. Small town gossip. Your doctor shows up in a Caddy and “OMG that rich (insert cuss word of choice) I’m never giving him a cent again!” Compared to a small Buick like this that the better off in the town could conceivably own, but our doctor wants the luxe version that isn’t a Caddy. Never mind that Tom the farmer who’s judging drove to the appointment in his $750k Deere tractor…

    2. You make a good point, as despite the rhetoric from GM, Buick’s positioning seems to me still stuck in the ’90s, before the division-pocalypse.

      Esp. the idea back then that a different badge and standard leather etc. made enough of a difference for enough buyers to warrant a whole division. I’m exaggerating, but still…

      1. Oh, it’s far worse than that.
        The only reason Buick still exists at all is because of China. For years, owning a Buick was a status symbol over there. And they were getting actually nice ones. They even got a legitimately hot version of the Verano based on the Astra OPC. Buicks in China are wildly different from what we get here at this point.

        Meanwhile, we got everything that wasn’t a shitty CUV cancelled. The Encore, Encore GX, and Envision that remain are likely contractual obligations as part of SAIC-GM (they’re all made in China.) Allegedly the 2022 ‘refresh’ was supposed to be switching to the XT6/Blazer version from China, but it was cheaper to just stick lights on the existing version. Not surprising, since the Traverse outsells it 3:1 and the Acadia nearly 2:1. Even the Nissan Murano sells better.

        But with Buick China’s sales plummeting at unprecedented rates, it’s just a matter of time before GM kills the marque.

        1. You inspired me to go to the website as I had no idea it was just 3 total here in the U.S. at this point!

          The small one, the other small one, and the midsized one…and they all look basically the same with just slightly different grills. Sigh.

  3. I ranted about faux-sporty crossovers earlier this week, so I have to give this credit – if an OEM is looking to separate the crossover buyer from more of their money, a luxurious model makes way more sense. Might as well have a rolling sensory deprivation chamber.

    Although, the buyer profile of vampire makes sense, as we know regular humans (such as Jackie Daytona) prefer F-150’s.

    1. I don’t know that a subcompact crossover is the right base for a sensory deprivation chamber, this class usually has a pretty bouncy, choppy ride and a lot of road noise. Maybe Buick worked around it, but there’s only so much you can do with that wheelbase

  4. Based on Buick’s US sales? Uh, 60% fewer people than last year for starters.

    Buick: “Yeah well who cares about you? We have China!” Yeah, about that. On track for a 10-20% drop in sales year over year.

    I mean literally the only reason these things sold in the first place was they were cheap leases, then because they were the only thing you could get. Take both of those things away, and that leaves the octogenarian boome-wait, nope. They’re buying … uh, hang on a sec.

    … Buick’s trying to launch an ultra-luxe into this shitshow?
    The segment, by the way, is down over 20% YoY and the decline is accelerating. First half of 1H22 with all the supply problems resolved saw the entire segment down 28% compared to 1H21.

  5. I can’t help it, but when I see the headline pic, all I can think is “it’s a slightly heightened Chevy Cruze hatchback.”

    Guess as a car guy I’m just sad that it really does seem people would actually be plenty happy with a regular car…if it just had a hatchback. But nope, we can’t have those anymore, we get crossovers.

  6. I know this is a sarcastic article, but several of the commenters are right. If Buick would simply have kept the encore which is an entry level vehicle in reality they would do much better. I’ve had one for 3 years and it’s done very well for me believe it or not 38 miles to the gallon on Highway. My only complaint about all of these mini SUVs whether they’re entry level or high-end like a so-called Buick essence model is they leave off certain options that every other better car has such as passenger side power seats and the simple fact that the driver side not have a power recliner. Further a lot of these cars have switched to a rotary dial for a transmission selection, and I know a lot of people like having the stick shift Style in the center so that they can downshift easier. Another thing most of their demand analyst do not have is light colored Interiors and they always stick to the black or black or black for an interior fabric color well they may have 10 body colors and four trims but they don’t give me a decent selection of color on the inside. Well they’re shooting themselves in the foot with half of America that never has winter and has a deep burning Sun all year long. Just my two cents I’m sure no management of any company gives a darn about my letter

    1. Well, there’s talk of the Envista coming to the states to replace the departing Encore. It’s an entry level model that’s a sister to the new Trax, and personally I think they look great. It would be a smart move on Buick’s part. However, GM and smart rarely go hand in hand

  7. Avenir – French for future.

    Does anyone at Buick not get the irony? Buick has been, much like their clientele, knocking on death’s door since the 2000s… I wish GM would just put the brand out of its misery, or change the brand name for these awful vehicles, as they don’t really seem to fit the historical image of Buick, nor do they seem to be something that nearly anyone actually wants.

  8. Obviously some very opinionated people out there. We have an Enclave and love it. So when we decided to get a subcompact car we tried out 4 different name brand vehicles and the GX was by far the best. We are only kicking out selves for not upgrading the features like power seat and hatch. We love it so much I’ve not driven the Enclave in a month. So all you opinionated people out there, there are lots of us who love the size, gas milage and performance not to mention the looks of the 2022 GX. To each their own. For us it’s the GX!!

  9. Would I buy this? No, I would not. Would I accept this as a gift? No, I would not. The entire concept of this thing is an anathema to me. I suppose it’s too late to kill them before they breed; they’re already everywhere!

  10. I’d buy the current Encore GX if it didn’t get trash gas mileage while also making no power. It’s a shame that GM can’t compete powertrain-wise in this area, because it’s otherwise a perfect-size commuter car for us. I don’t understand why all small cars need to be cheap penalty boxes. I want a nice small car.

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