You need to live in China for this one.
As many Americans have fallen out of love with the minivan in favor of crossovers, the world's largest auto market remains committed to the segment. In China, minivans are as popular as ever and one of the country's most popular brands refuses to miss out. Introducing the 2021 Buick GL6, a refreshed six-seat MPV with a 2+2+2 layout that's been on sale exclusively for China since 2017. One of its many highlights is the standard mild-hybrid powertrain consisting of a turbocharged 1.3-liter engine paired to a 48-volt electrical system.
Additional fuel-saving features include a start-stop system, electric power assist, intelligent charging, and energy regeneration. Two of the most popular minivans sold in the US, the Chrysler Pacific and Toyota Sienna, now sport hybrid powertrains, the latter exclusively.
Notable standard features on the new model include a 10.25-inch LED instrument cluster and Buick's updated eConnect 3.0 connectivity system, which now boasts over-the-air updates and mini-programs for greater functionality. There's also voice recognition and cloud-based data sharing. Compared to last year's model, Buick claims there's a 7.6 percent improvement in fuel economy.
Minivans have not always been the most stylish of the bunch, but Buick makes some great efforts here with chrome trim, rear privacy glass, and a standard panoramic sunroof. The new model years brings a newly redesigned steering wheel, an air-purifying air conditioning system, and the Buick Live Sound surround audio system.
There are over 40 storage spaces throughout the interior to accommodate items big and small. With the second and third row seats folded flat, there's a total of 53.7 cubic feet of space. A Buick Envision, to compare, has 57.3 cubic feet with its rear seats tucked away. Some standard safety includes forward collision alert, lane departure warning, and side blind zone alert.
Buick's popularity in China remains solid and there's zero chance the GL6 or the brand's larger minivan, the GL8, will be sold elsewhere.