As Holden rolls out what is likely to be the final update to its now streamlined Captiva range, the SUV that may be its replacement has debuted at the 2016 Detroit auto show.
That model is the 2017 Buick Envision, revealed for the Chinese market early last year and confirmed for an American debut in just months later.
The Envision claims the honour of being the first car that GM has imported into the US from China, but it could also be a preview of what’s in store for buyers shopping in Holden’s SUV range in the next couple of years.
A replacement for the now 10 year-old Captiva (badged Captiva 7 until recently) can only be that far away, but a glance across GM’s global SUV catalogue reveals the Envision as a likely starter.
Holden has said however that it will source one third of its future line-up from European stablemate Opel, where a number of Buick models are also developed and sourced.
Opel has no large SUV in its range, however, and it is believed that the clearly Opel-inspired and related Envision will make its way to Europe in the near future. (The Opel-developed Captiva 5, soon to exit Australia, is still sold in the UK as a Vauxhall Antara.)
Good enough for Europe... good enough for Australia?
All signs suggest then that the Captiva’s replacement will be either this Buick, or an as-yet unrevealed Chevrolet model built on the same D2XX platform that underpins the Envision, the upcoming new Holden Astra and the new Cruze.
Failing the appearance of a new export-ready Chevrolet SUV (possibly the next Equinox) in the near future, the Envision would seem a clear choice.
There’s a catch, however: the Envision, despite riding on a 33mm longer wheelbase, seats only five while the current Holden Captiva seats seven.
Given its longer footprint, it would be no great stretch to repackage the Envision for a seven-seat option, but GM has yet to offer any hints on that front.
It's worth noting, however, that the Captiva 7 and 5 are built on the same platform and share the same wheelbase, again suggesting a seven-seat version of the Envision could appear.
Power in the Envision is provided by a turbocharged 186kW/353Nm 2.0-litre petrol four-cylinder engine, matched to a six-speed automatic and the same twin-clutch all-wheel drive system that features in the new LaCrosse.
By comparison, the Captiva 7 has been offered with 123kW/230Nm 2.4-litre four-cylinder and 190kW/288Nm 3.0-litre V6 petrol engines, in two- and all-wheel drive configurations respectively and with a six-speed auto each.
In the US, the Buick Envision’s standard feature set will include 19-inch alloy wheels, heated seats in both rows, a heated steering wheel, tri-zone climate control with rear controls, and Bose premium audio.
Optional extras will include cooled front seats, a panoramic glass sunroof and a hands-free powered tailgate.
If the Envision comes to Australia, it would take on another mystery replacement: this time for Ford's Territory. But, just as the Envision appears likely for Australia, the new Ford Edge SUV remains a firm favourite to be Ford's next large SUV.
For its part, Holden has yet to reveal specific plans for a Captiva successor, although it has confirmed an SUV range makeover between now and 2020. Likewise, Ford is sharing nothing about its SUV plans.
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