Since its debut in 2016, it’s been a challenging journey for the Buick Envision because it’s facing so many competitive vehicles in the marketplace.
The Envision does offer an edge because of its affordable pricing – and it’s actually a fine vehicle in many ways – but it’s difficult to convince finicky buyers to buy a “Buick” over cars like the Acura RDX, Lexus NX or Lincoln MKC. As well, the Buick Envision has seen some controversy over the fact that it is an American-branded vehicle that is produced in China. So it’s actually a reverse import in some ways, but in any case not much has changed since the 2019 refresh that saw a new grille, a new stop/start engine, and a 9-speed automatic transmission.
The exterior design is refined, elegant and sporty. Standard LED-accented headlights and taillights give a distinctive look, and no one would have guessed that this is a Buick.
The Buick Envision has seating for up to five, and for larger passengers, the second row can be pushed back to provide an additional 7 inches or 178mm of legroom. Still, the narrow body frame of the Envision may make it difficult for broad-shouldered adult passengers to sit comfortably in the back seats.
As far as the interior goes, a major advantage is the quiet cabin. This is thanks to its QuietTuning technology that offers active noise cancellation through acoustic laminated glass and triple door seals. Soft-touch materials are used throughout the cabin to give an upscale feel, though it’s no match for some of the newer offering from Acura and Lexus. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both offered and the interior is clean and simply styled.
For safety, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety gave the Buick Envision a good rating for each test conducted. Some notable safety features include the Safety Alert Seat, which vibrates the driver’s seat on one side to alert the driver for important safety notifications (supposedly more noticeable than audible alerts). As well, a Rear Seat Reminder lets the driver know to check for children and valuables in the rear seat before leaving the car. There are many more safety features that are standard or optional in the car.
A standard 2.5L engine gives 197 horsepower and 192 lb-ft. of torque. Paired with this engine is a 6-speed automatic transmission. If you wish for more power, opt for the Premium or Premium II trim where the engine is upgraded to a 252 horsepower 2.0L Turbo 4-Cylinder SIDI with 295 lb-ft. of torque. Paired with the Turbo engine is an optional 9-speed automatic transmission that is smooth and refined.
The car is actually quite peppy and feels engaging for a luxury SUV. Once again, the level of refinement falls short of Asian competitors but the Buick does offer more luxury and sportier feel than some domestic rivals.
The fuel economy for the 2.5L engine is 11.1 L/100 km in the city and 8.6 L/100 km on the highway. The fuel economy with the 2.0L Turbo engine is 11.7 L/100 km in the city and 9/4 L/100 km on the highway, not as impressive as with other competitors. Unfortunately, the car also requires premium fuel.
Buick offers four trim levels: Preferred, Essence, Premium and Premium II. Essence brings additional features such as heated rear seats, blind-spot monitors, roof rack, heated steering wheel, rear-seat climate control as well as perforated leather seats. Premium adds on a more powerful engine as well as safety assist features. Finally, Premium II offers heads-up display, heated/cooled front row seats, all-wheel drive, and better GPS navigation. All-wheel-drive is standard.
Pricing for the Envision is very affordable for the market: $38,548 MSRP for the base level Preferred trim and increasing up to $46,098 for the Premium II trim.
With lots of features and options, the Buick Envision provides a great value. Overall, the vehicle delivers a very comfortable and quiet drive with many good driving characters.
Moving forward, Buick will introduce another SUV in the form of Encore GX, joining the Envision along with existing Encore and Enclave models. They show off similar design elements, which are sharp looking and futuristic at the same time.
Let’s see how Buick’s strategy will pay off, though it’s becoming more difficult to deal with tariff from China and continued challenge facing all car companies these days.
I would however say that if you are looking for bargains and you have some fond memories of the Buick brand from the past, this could be your ticket. Buick dealers are likely incentivized to offer lots of discount on this car because of its low popularity.
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- written by David Chao