Buick Envision: test drive…

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The second-generation Buick Envision looks much better than its predecessor. 
I think it is one of the best SUV designs out there and looks great from pretty much any angle.
It has a very nice and friendly personality. Nothing too aggressive like so many designs these days.

Same thing inside. It is a truly very modern-looking interior. With high-quality materials everywhere and nice design touches. I do like the “wood-looking” trim on the doors. (Not sure if that is real wood or not). And the satin metal trim everywhere in the car looks great.
There are a couple of things that aren’t working for me though. Like the angle of the screen. It is sharply tilted towards the driver, which can be odd for the front passenger. And it is a bit flatter than usual and can catch some more sunlight than other setups.
The most annoying thing is the volume knob placement. Which is almost right behind the steering wheel, and again, much too far from the passenger. 
The Bose stereo in my top-of-the-line Avenir test car sounded very good. But, not as great as the system in the similarly priced Acura RDX. 
And, while the seats are very comfortable, the headrests only have the usual 2-way adjustments. (GM used to offer 4-way adjusting headrests in almost everything just a few years ago). 
So they are usually positioned too far back no matter what…

The Envision is very roomy. The cargo area is well finished and the real seats ford completely flat. 

The first thing I noticed when starting up the car is the small engine “4 cylinder buzz”. It is always there at idle. Although it is quiet and the engine refined, older 2.0 Liter Turbos from GM used to be totally quiet when idling. I have been noticing this in the past couple of years. 
Otherwise, the engine is quiet and smooth, with plenty of power all the time.
When pushed harder, I did feel a little bit of torque steer. Very little, and very manageable.
(My test car was a FWD model)

The 2nd thing I noticed was how super smooth the ride is. Even with 20-inch wheels. The “continuous damping control” system (part of the $1995 Tech package) is fantastic.
The sports mode firms up things a little bit, but there isn’t much difference.
It is just super comfortable all the time, no matter how bad the road gets.
The stop/start system is also very smooth, and I left it on most of the time. Which is unusual.

The 9-speed automatic is very smooth and willing to downshift whenever you need it to. 
The Avenir is rated at 24/31 MPG. 
Not sure on what planet it is supposed to be getting 24MPG around town, but here on earth, I was never able to get over 20. Which is still OK.
I got a bit over 32 on the freeway.
The new Buick Avenir is a fantastic choice in a crowded segment. 
I cannot compare it to the new Lexus NX, but the Lexus seems to be more expensive. And desperately wants to be “sporty”…
 I still like the Envision design better. It is quick and doesn’t try to be overly sporty like almost everything else. It just wants to be comfortable and it is.
Compared to a loaded FWD Acura RDX, the Avenir version is a few thousand cheaper. (The Acura is about $49 000 but includes AWD on the Advance version.
While the RDX is very comfortable, it isn’t as smooth as the Buick (Although I hear some changes were made for 2022)
But the ELS Studio sound system on the RDX is unbeatable. 
No matter what, the Envision would be a great choice. (It also starts at a bit above $32 000!
Basically competing with a RAV-4 or CR-V…)


Conversation 11 comments

  1. Not usually impressed by the latest "Whatever" – This here though is a unusually attractive design.
    Bravo to GM style section or whatever it's called these day.

  2. so a $32K envision is a competitor to a $26K cr-v?

    and a loaded avenir trim is just a few thousand cheaper than a loaded bigger 3 row fwd acura mdx?

    you are not doing the envision any favors with these comparisons.

  3. Vince, you wrote in your review that you left the start-stop system on. Just want to be sure – can it be shut off? Thank you.

  4. I know what you mean. It used to be possible. But it seems blogger changed a bunch of stuff and the size stays small when you drag it onto your desktop, even though the original is much larger…

    I am still working on this.

  5. It doesn’t matter how nice looking or well made this is, Acura and Lexus shoppers won’t consider it. Brand is everything and for GM, other than maybe the Corvette and full size pickups and SUV’s, the brand is nowheresville man.

  6. Mazda should be looking at this and wi seeing why their design language has become so squared-off. This Envision is well done. With Mazdas better driving dynamics and their new 6cyl platform (+hybrid?), they could take the market

  7. Its beautiful. There are two things that I noticed that remind me of my test drive of a Buick TourX – same issues. 1. The engine was buzzy and underpowered, and I had to stomp on it to get it to move – like slotting in with light traffic. 2. The interior wasn't very special – and was kind of monochromatic, and low rent in certain spots. For $40+k for an Avenir, I shouldn't look at it and think "Chevy"

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