By on July 31, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Bolt - Image: Chevrolet

When you think about it, it all adds up. There was no way the powertrain of the Chevrolet Bolt, America’s first reasonably priced long-range electric vehicle, was ever going to remain solely the domain of one vehicle. General Motor’s CEO, Mary Barra, alluded to as much following the Bolt’s introduction.

While the 238-mile Bolt is already sold in Europe as the Opel Ampera-e, and in China as the Buick Velite 5, those vehicles don’t amount to much more than simple badge swaps. However, a new report claims U.S. buyers could see a Buick crossover based on the Bolt, and soon.

After attending a California focus group, a “trusted” source told InsideEVs that the group was presented with a Buick-badged electric crossover based on the Bolt. Participants were given a list of specifications, then asked to compare the unnamed vehicle with electrified offerings from other brands, including the Hyundai Ioniq and Kia Niro plug-in hybrid. The organizers threw the Bolt in the mix, too.

According to the source, participants were asked if the vehicle changed their perception of the Buick brand.

The mystery vehicle, which reportedly boasts styling akin to a future Buick Encore, was more than just a rebadged Bolt, albeit dimensionally similar. The front-drive vehicle carries an unchanged Bolt drivetrain, driving the front wheels only, but offers three inches more rear legroom. Inside and out, premium flourishes abound, and the vehicle’s price tag is pegged at $3,000 more than a Bolt. This would push the vehicle’s MSRP just above the $40,000 marker (before a federal tax credit).

Other notable additions to the crossover include a push-button gearshift, tall console, and large touchscreen. While range wasn’t discussed, it’s assumed the extra weight and/or drag (which lengthens the vehicle’s 0-60 time by 0.4 seconds, the source claimed) also reduces driving distance per charge.

Barra claimed the Bolt’s unique platform would go on to spawn numerous vehicles, and it’s silly to think GM would try a second in the U.S. market. Still, there’s no confirmation of a new Bolt-based Buick. Not that there won’t be ample room to built the vehicle should it receive a thumbs up.

The Bolt’s Orion, Michigan assembly plant, which previously jettisoned the declining Buick Verano sedan, now appears ready to spit out the Chevrolet Sonic, if dwindling sales numbers, ballooning inventories, and rumors of three soon-to-be-killed Chevys tell us anything. The addition of an electric Buick crossover would make Orion an EV-only plant.

Will GM pull the trigger on the greenest Buick in history? Stay tuned.

[Image: General Motors]

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14 Comments on “GM Testing a Bolt-based Buick Crossover with Focus Groups: Report...”


  • avatar
    dwford

    I just sat in a Bolt today. Pretty cheap feeling inside – especially the door panels, even with the leather interior. There’s definitely room for improvement.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Another Niro-like FWD crossover. I approve.

    Increasing rear legroom is a big plus.

  • avatar
    Syke

    When the day comes to trade my Fiat (shortly after the Gold Wing is paid off), I’d be one of those people who could potentially be interested in a Buick electric. And yeah, I wouldn’t mind paying a bit more for something not as bargain basement as the Bolt.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      I’ve sat in a Bolt. didn’t get to drive it, but I could see owning one. yes, the interior trim is on the lower-cost side, but I’m well aware a lot of money was spent on the battery.

  • avatar
    RS

    EV’s would sell better if they were CUV/SUV’s.

    • 0 avatar
      turbosasquatch

      Yeah, I’m not sure why this is a complicated concept with manufacturers.

      $35k hatchback? No way
      $35k crossover? No big deal, hell even $45k isn’t crazy

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Now all they need is a Cadillac version, lol.

  • avatar
    deanst

    Enough with the clown car EVs. Let the guys who did the Buick Avista have a shot at building a sexy electric vehicle.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    If it came to pass by mid-2019 (doubtful) this would be an excellent candidate to replace our C-Max Energi when it comes off lease. As is, the Bolt is a strong candidate, but the interior does feel very cheap.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    A very expensive high technology small car does not fit with the Chevrolet image, and the Bolt and the Volt are therefore not good fits for Chevy’s cheap/value portfolio. Both models should have been introduced as a Buick and/or Cadillac models with $500 worth of interior upgrades and a $3-5,000 higher price to fit an “upscale” image and come a bit closer to profitability. Let Chevy keep the cheap and cheerful Cruze and Sonic, etc and leave the image cars to the higher price brands, and only release a Chevy version when the battery costs have come down enough to support an economy price. GM just hasn’t practiced good brand portfolio management since at least the 1960s, which is kind of strange since Sloan practically invented the concept.

  • avatar
    bd2

    Well, it’s about time.

    Been saying from the start that the first Voltec model should have been a crossover and sold as a Buick (bring back the “Electra” nameplate).

    Even if this is only in EV form, has to be large enough to be suitable for families of a certain size.


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