Buick to add Avenir upscale trim levels to 2018 models

Concept Buick Avenir

Buick is set to turn the name of one of its most recent concept cars into an upscale trim level that will become the brand’s “highest expression of luxury.”

A page at Buick Canada’s website says its new Avenir-trimmed models will get exclusive styling details — like mesh grille (borrowed from the Avista concept), chrome accents and unique wheels — to set them apart from lesser versions of the cars. Inside, Buick says the Avenir package will bring contrasting seat accents, and embossed sill plates, headrests and floor mats.

Buick isn’t the first GM brand to unite its top-trim models under a single banner; GMC began doing something similar a few years ago with its Denali variants. Industry trade book Automotive News suggests that Denali operates as a sub-brand of GMC, and that the Avenir project is a similar effort by Buick’s shop, but we wouldn’t quite call it that; to us, a sub-brand implies unique vehicles, while Denali and Avenir build on, and add features to, existing models.

Confused as this might be from a marketing standpoint, we’d love to see the beautiful Avista concept become a Buick flagship called Avenir whose upscale touches could trickle down to the rest of the lineup.

Still, Buick feels there’s room for growth within its existing model ranges, saying in a statement issued today that “90 percent of Enclave buyers (presumably in the U.S.) choose one of the two top trim levels.”

Over at GMC, the Yukon Denali gets an upgraded drivetrain built around a 6.2L V8 not offered in lesser versions of that full-size SUV. Our first question about Buick’s Avenir range is whether these cars will get trim-exclusive powertrains, but Buick says we’ll have to wait for “additional details and product specifics,” which will be announced later.

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Chris Chase

Chris Chase

As a child, Chris spent much of his time playing with toy cars in his parents’ basement; when his mother would tell him to go play outside, he made car sounds while riding his bicycle or dug roads for his toys in the flower garden. Now he gets to indulge his obsession playing with real cars that make their own cool noises, and gets paid for it.