Cascada not for Canada, but its powertrain is worth a second look, while the Avenir is a striking design study for a large Buick sedan.

You won’t be able to buy one, but you can probably rent it: the new Buick Cascada convertible looks sharp, but don’t expect to see it in Canadian dealerships. Oh, come on – it’s not like we don’t have toques.

Still, there are a few interesting things about this compact drop-top, including its 200-hp 1.6L turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Immediately, enthusiasts have to wonder if GM won’t drop this in a hotter version of the Sonic, Trax or other compact offering. It’s pure conjecture, but taking the fight to Ford’s Fiesta ST might be a way to capture the attention of the youth market.

However, when it comes to the direction Buick is taking, it’s all eyes on the East. In a surprise reveal, the long and luxurious Avenir concept was rolled out to show the future of Buick design. Draped in a liquid silver paint, the Avenir is really quite good looking, and its long-wheelbase profile seems tailor-made to the tastes of the Chinese market.

A few sales figures showed just how important that market is for Buick. Overseas sales totalled nearly 1.2M for Buick last year and nearly all of them – 900,000 cars – were sold in China. With just 250,000 cars moved in North America, the East is Buick’s major market. While there are no production plans for the Avenir, it’s interesting to draw comparisons between its long, chrome-laden splendour and the American land yachts of the burgeoning 1950s and 1960s. Meantime, expect design elements from the Avenir to start showing up in the crossovers that we North Americans buy.

Buick Cascada


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