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- Highs Classy styling, comfortable and quiet cabin, value-priced compared to luxury rivals.
- Lows Poor acceleration from entry-level engine, staid driving dynamics, zero off-road potential.
- Verdict With its quiet ride, conservative design, and lack of sporting pretensions, the unassuming Envision will mostly appeal to introverts.
Envision fills the gap between the Enclave mid-size three-row SUV and the subcompact Encore as Buick’s entry in the white-hot compact sport-utility segment. After General Motors revived its storied, semi-premium Buick brand in China, it began importing the Envision into the U.S. late in the 2016 model year, powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four. Buick expanded Envision’s lineup in the 2017 model year by adding a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter I-4 in base, Preferred, and Essence trim levels, which are available with front- or all-wheel-drive. Premiums I and II come standard with Active Twin-Clutch AWD, and Buick’s HiPer Strut front suspension. Competitors include the Acura RDX, Audi Q5, and Lincoln MKC.
What's New for 2018?
After expansion of the trim levels for the 2017 Buick Envision, the only change for 2018 is the addition of all-weather floor mats as a dealer-installed accessory.
- Base: $34,990
- Preferred: $36,865
- Essence: $38,715
- Premium: $43,315
- Premium II: $45,955
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Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The anemic 197-horsepower 2.5-liter four with six-speed automatic standard in the Envision base, Preferred, and Essence trims, is an engine designed to help GM’s corporate average fuel economy numbers, while offering a lower price point for the compact Buick SUV. The 252-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo four with nine-speed automatic in the higher trim levels more appropriately offers the kind of guts needed to move an SUV of this size. The Active Twin Clutch AWD, standard in the top two trim levels, comes with a locking rear differential for better off-roadability. But make no mistake, the Envision is a tall, premium station wagon, not a Jeep competitor. This Buick also is unpretentious about any contrived handling characteristics, though the HiPer Strut front suspension in the two Premium trims is added to eliminate torque steer and improve steering feel. Mostly, the Envision is like every other Buick: designed to be a cushy, comfortable, extra-quiet ride.
EPA fuel-economy testing and reporting procedures have changed over time. For the latest numbers on current and older vehicles, visit the EPA’s website and select Find & Compare Cars.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
With five trim levels, the Envision covers the range from Chevrolet-plus to a cut under Cadillac, though even the Premium II edition falls a bit short of European competitors’ levels of luxury. Heated front seats are standard on all trims, though, and heated outboard rear seats, and a heated steering wheel are standard on Essence and Premium trims. With such typical Buick touches as active noise cancellation, the Envision excels in its ability to isolate you from the outside world. That leaves no sport in the equation, whether for twisty canyon roads or two-track mountain dirt paths. The sporting part may be its ability to carry bicycles and other outdoor equipment with a generous 57.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the front row.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, as well as 4G connectivity are standard. All models come with a color 8.0-inch infotainment screen. Navigation is optional at extra cost on Premium I and comes standard on Premium II. A head-up display also is standard with the Premium II package.
Safety Features and Crash Test Ratings
Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA)
Some older vehicles are still eligible for coverage under a manufacturer's Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program. For more information visit our guide to every manufacturer's CPO program.