Buick Envision Test Drive
The Envision is quite a good looking SUV.
If a bit invisible. There is nothing wrong with its design, as far as I am concerned.
It is very pleasant looking but doesn’t stand out.
I think the Enclave looks better and is a bit more original.
Also the waterfall grille seems a bit at odds with the rest of the current Buick models.
They redesigned the rear end for 2019, but kept the “old” grille. Not sure why.
Things are very nice inside as well.
Pretty much everything is high quality and feels good to the tough (Except the cheap turn signal stalk, which is too bad)
The wood trim has an interesting pattern to it.
The main design flaw, in my opinion, is the analog clock. Some old idea of what luxury is.
It doesn’t look good or classy. And the screen gives you the time anyway. So why bother with this thing???
Another bit of design that I really don’t like is the fake chrome vents on each side of the hood.
I know it i supposed to remind you of Buick’s glory days. But it doesn’t.
It just looks cheap and tacky. And other Buicks don’t have it. Again, why???
The was originally designed for the Chinese market. I guess that clock and the cheesy fake vents are “a thing” over there, somehow…
The glass roof option is pretty fantastic.
But, as you can see, the front part starts pretty far back.
So it is actually much nicer from the rear seats. Still, this is a great option.
Rear seat is very roomy and comfortable. It also is adjustable.
There is plenty of trunk space. Although the floor is pretty high.
I actually spend a couple of days in the forest with the Envision and slept in it. The space behind the front seat isn’t very long. So you have to sleep a little bit sideways.
Otherwise, it was just fine. (plus, I really felt more protected from bears…)
The Envision I tested was powered by the great 2.0 Liter turbo and 9 speed auto combo.
Which is great in everything, I think.
Always super smooth and quiet, with plenty of power available all the time. And the 9 speed auto is always smooth and very quick to downshift. It was really a pleasure to drive.
The steering is much sportier than I expected. With a very nice, firm feel.
Same thing with the suspension. Very comfortable all the time. But not soft and even a bit firm.
It might sound weird, but the whole driving experience reminded me of the Honda Accord I tested a while ago.
A very smooth and fast powertrain. A slightly form ride and a good steering feel.
This was all very Honda like.
The Envision 2.0 is rated at 20/25 MPG City/HWY.
I did get about 20MPG in the City (Although it was about 18 most of the time)
But had no problem getting 28/30 on the freeway.
These are not bad numbers for a mid size SUV.
But that same combo, 2.0 Turbo and 9 speed auto, is more efficient in the Regal.
Where I got about the same MPG around town, but at least 37MPG on the freeway. (That’s what a lower car with better aerodynamics will do)
As a matter of fact, while I was driving the Envision, I kept comparing it to the new Regal.
As I prefer cars to SUVs.
The Regal gets better mileage. Has a bit more room in the back seat. A smoother ride.
And it even also has a hatchback.
(I also personally prefer the lower seating position.)
But the Envision will cost you much more. The Regal I tested was loaded except for a sunroof and was a bit over $36 000.
This loaded AWD Envision is about $45 000.
In base trim, the Regal is about $25 000 (Including the 2.0 Turbo/9 speed auto)
While the base Envision (With a much less powerful 2.5 Liter and 6 speed ) is about $32 000.
That’s a big premium for the “SUV” version of things…
Otherwise, it actually competes with the new Acura RDX and Infiniti QX50.
Two very attractive all new SUVs. (The RDX is also basically an Accord 2.0 SUV for a big premium…)
I really enjoyed my week with the Buick Envision.
It was a wonderful travel companion. And a delight to drive around town.
As far as that “Chinese quality” is concerned, I only saw good materials all around.
Everything felt very well put together and very solid.
And the Envision also got a 5 star safety rating from NHTSA.
So no worries there. The rest, (possible 25% tariffs, “Made in America” preferences etc… is a matter of politics. Which I try to avoid on this site)
The Buick Envision should really be on the shopping list of everyone looking for an SUV in that price range. (Roughly $33 000 to $45 000)
But make sure you do NEED an SUV. Otherwise the Regal is a great and less expensive choice.