2 New Buicks Have GM’s Latest Design Trend: It Really Sucks!

Why, oh why must GM adopt something so stupid as this “emerging design trend?” That’s what it is being called and it appears on both Buick’s 2020 Encore GX and 2021 Envision. Some pundits say it is sure to be adopted by even more GM models in the near future. These two new Buicks feature GM’s latest design trend and it sucks!

And the highly touted feature is Fake Exhaust tips. We’re not kidding. Add it to COVID-19, civil unrest, massive unemployment, and all of the rest of what is bad about 2020. And we’re still not halfway through the year. But we digress…

We guess they should be called “faux exhaust tips.”  GM Authority says it is not just fake exhaust but “faux exhaust design direction.” These days at GM there are three types of exhaust treatments. The “through fascia” exhaust treatment is when the exhaust tips you see are actually exhaust tips.

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The “through fascia” exhaust design trend is considered the best

20201 Buick Envision in silver rear 3/4 view sitting on dock
2021 Buick Envision with fake exhaust | GM

These are tied with the rest of the exhaust system as everyone expects. In GM-land these are considered the top of the GM exhaust trend heap. That is based on where it appears and where it doesn’t.

Then there is the “under exhaust” which many cars have and have had for 100 years or so. The under exhaust ends below the rear fascia under the car. It is usually one or two pipes that sometimes you notice and sometimes you don’t. It is honest, authentic exhaust, and to our minds, they should be the highest GM trend because they’re not tarted-up or fake.

The third treatment is the latest example of GM absurdity called faux exhaust. It’s the best of both of the other exhaust treatments. The fake exhaust becomes a design element while the real exhaust is actually “under exhaust.” Get it?

Cadillac gets the real exhaust while the Buick gets the fake exhaust

man loading up 2020 Buick Encore with camping supplies
Is he happy or is he getting ready to pitch the picnic basket at his fake exhaust? | GM

Both the new 2021 Envision and Cadillac XT4 use GM’s E2 platform. So under the skin, they are relatively the same. Yet the Cadillac has real dual exhaust; that means the exhaust you see in the rear fascia is real. But the Envision only gets the latest GM fake exhaust trend.

So we get confused about GM’s goal here. If the real exhaust is supposed to be more of a premium feature since the Caddy has it, then by having fake exhaust is GM cheapening what it is trying to elevate? In other words, if consumers become conditioned to there being fake exhaust what will it mean when they see it? When looking at “through fascia” exhaust will they dismiss it as fake?

Even though the owner knows it is the latest design trend no one else will

rear view of white 2020 Buick Encore for China
Chinese 2020 Buick Enclave-are those real or fake exhaust? | GM

If that is the case then through fascia exhaust isn’t worth the extra money. Even though the owner knows it is real no one else will. There’s no impressing your boss or the neighbors because they’ll just assume you bought fake exhaust. And think less of you for it. After all, it’s FAKE. 

When did things screwed onto cars that did nothing become a good idea again? Remember the Buick portholes in the hood? Or fake hood scoops that made you look like a Ricky Racer? And how much more will it cost to have to replace a fake exhaust thingie in a rear-end collision? Especially when it served no purpose in the first place.

Is GM going back to the bad old days?

This smells of GM going back to its “bad old days.” Championing fake exhaust as one step above under exhaust but a few steps below through fascia real exhaust. How do these bad ideas get traction within GM as good ideas? Where does the break between reality and stupidity happen? 

We guess we’ll never know for sure.