Buick pulled the covers off its latest Velite Concept at the Auto Guangzhou 2016 show in China. We say latest because this is actually the second time Buick has used the Velite name for a concept, the previous having been shown at the 2004 New York Auto Show. The first Velite concept was a two-door convertible; the second Velite is a four-door crossover.
Enough about the name, what about the concept? Well, it’s very highly stylized, and we don’t really mean that in a good way. There’s nothing about the Velite that screams Buick, except for its badges, of course. At the front is a compressed version of Buick’s traditional waterfall-like fascia. It’s flanked by slit-like LED lighting elements. The rest of the face looks to our eyes like it draws inspiration from the latest Toyota Prius. There isn’t a single flat element to the Velite Concept’s bodysides, in a way that resembles recent concepts from Infiniti. The last bit of styling flourish are deep recesses just ahead of the rear wheels, a look that is reminiscent of BMW’s i-series of vehicles.
There aren’t any images showing the Velite’s hind quarters, but from what we can see, that also has a QX-ish look about it. There are no shots yet of the Velite’s interior, but Buick says it’s “elegant” and “includes recycled materials.” We wish we could see what it looks like, because the automaker says it “[points] to design trends for upcoming new energy vehicles.”
So, the Buick Velite Concept is a nondescript mashup of design elements that we’ve already seen. Under the skin, however, things are more interesting. It’s a plug-in hybrid with a modular lithium ion battery. That doesn’t tell us much – it could be a variant of the Chevy Volt, or it could be a different system altogether. We look forward to finding out. In the meantime, have a look at the high-res image gallery up above. Oh, and if you’re wondering, the word velite traces its roots back to a lightly armored military division in ancient Rome.