The Car Connection Buick Envision Overview
The Buick Envision is a five-seat mid-size crossover SUV. With the Envision, Buick has a crossover SUV that slots between the bigger Enclave and the smaller Encore.
Introduced late in the 2016 model year with a limited lineup, the Envision range grew for 2017 to include a new base engine and five trim levels and a choice of powertrains. For 2019, Buick beefed up the turbo-4's torque figure and swapped in a 9-speed automatic transmission. The 2019 Envision also received new headlights and bumpers. For 2020, Buick reskinned the Envision's infotainment interface.
The Envision is the first Chinese-built vehicle to be sold by an American brand in the U.S. and its future is tenuous in the States. The Envision may be caught in trade-wars crossfire between the U.S. and China.
MORE: Read our 2020 Buick Envision review
The Envision fills a void in the Buick lineup and suits up to take on some important and successful rivals such as the Mercedes GLC-Class, the Audi Q5, the Acura RDX, and the Lincoln MKC.
Styling fits in the crossover-SUV mainstream, with a small Buick grille dressing a front end without any truck-like SUV lines. It's quite a car-like vehicle, with muscular fenders flowing into a sideview that's clearly influenced by the BMW X5. Inside, the Envision's cockpit has a curvaceous and dramatic look, with big swaths of woodgrain trim and ambient lighting on some versions.
The sole powertrain for the 2016 Envision was a 2.0-liter turbo-4. It's rated at 252 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. A 6-speed automatic is the only transmission paired with the turbo-4. The Envision is sold in both front- and all-wheel-drive form; the all-wheel-drive system is a new twin-clutch system.
For the 2017 model year, an inline-4 joined the lineup. A mid-cycle update for 2019 swapped in a 9-speed automatic and boosted torque to 295 lb-ft on the turbo-4 version only.
Other mechanical details include electric power assist that factors in counter-steering measures to mitigate crosswinds and road surface variations, and front and rear disc brakes. The suspension is designed for comfort, with front struts isolated with hydraulic bushings, and a four-link independent rear.
The Envision is somewhat smaller than GM's current compact to mid-size SUVs: the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain. It's about two inches shorter than those vehicles, at 183.7 inches long, and has a wheelbase about four inches shorter, at 107.9 inches. It shares a useful feature with Terrain and Equinox: a sliding second-row seat that allows more flexibility when carrying passengers and cargo. Behind the rear seat, the Envision can carry 26.9 cubic feet of cargo.
The IIHS calls the Envision a Top Safety Pick after it received top "Good" scores in testing and its front crash prevention systems earned an "Advanced" rating. The Envision comes standard with a rearview camera and active lane control. Other standard features include power heated front seats; automatic climate control; Bose audio; an infotainment system controlled via an 8.0-inch touchscreen; and remote start.
Major options include remote keyless ignition; ventilated front seats; surround-view cameras; a hands-free power tailgate; automatic parking assistance; OnStar with 4G LTE connectivity and an in-car wireless hotspot; and a panoramic sunroof.
Fuel economy figures are competitive, and the Envision comes with active grille shutters and stop-start to improve gas mileage. It also weighs in at about 4,000 pounds and is rated to tow up to 1,500 pounds.