In China, a blingy SUV isn't the only way to impress the neighbors.
Last year, Buick introduced the GL8 Avenir luxury minivan in China. Although it may seem pointless admiring a vehicle that won't ultimately be sold in the United States, motoring fans aren't bound by what's accessible or not. It's also interesting to compare the vastly different tastes from one country to the next.
So, while minivans like the Chrysler Pacifica here are primarily thought of as people movers, they're lavishly equipped and something of a status symbol in China. The 2022 GL8 Avenir has just been launched and it now comes with 48-volt mild-hybrid technology, another gentle step towards full electrification as GM hopes to eliminate combustion engines entirely by 2035.
The combination of a 48-volt electrical system and a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine help to improve fuel efficiency by 6% over the previous model. The hybrid minivan also features braking energy regeneration and E-idling. A nine-speed automatic transmission is fitted, which Buick says is unique in its segment.
"The 2022 GL8 Avenir not only provides better fuel efficiency but also a more luxurious and intelligent in-vehicle experience," said Molly Peck, executive director of Buick sales and marketing at SAIC-GM. While Buick SUVs like the Enclave offer an attractive and luxurious interior, the GL8 Avenir takes opulence to the next level.
Features like connected navigation with a 3D display, soundproof glass, vehicle-to-everything (V2X) connectivity, and the eConnect infotainment system ensure that the minivan can compete with many full-size luxury sedans. A flagship variant that seats four in incredible comfort offers lounge-like space, a Whisper Beige cabin, and 13-mm premium carpeting. A striking Bordeaux Red and Jade White interior has been introduced on six- and seven-seater models.
In China, the 2022 GL8 Avenir starts at RMB 463,900 (the equivalent of $71,436) and goes up to RMB 533,900 ($82,375). While full-size SUVs like the Cadillac Escalade and large sedans like the Mercedes S-Class dominate in the US, the GL8 Avenir is a refreshingly different take on luxury motoring.