Buick’s newest SUV offering comes in the form of the Envision, a mid-size luxury crossover made in China but designed and engineered in the U.S. It is designed to take head-on the Audi Q5 and Acura RDX, et al.
I fell in love with my test Envision, right off the bat. It handles like a dream, seems to be just the right size, and offers good ride and visibility while generating little road noise. Buick has positioned the classy, analog clock angled towards the driver but to the right of the dashboard middle so that others can easily peek at it from elsewhere in the cabin. A little thing, no doubt, but when you add up a lot of little things a great motoring experience generally unfolds.
My test Buick carried an M.S.R.P. of $47,525.00, including a panoramic moon roof for $1475.00, Ebony Twilight metallic paint for $395.00, and freight for $925.00. Base price was $44,710.00. The Ebony (black) paint was offset by an interior with light neutral perforated leather seating (for five), front buckets (both heated and ventilated), and a 60/40 back seat with fore/aft and reclining feature.
Interior equipment included GPS navigation with 8″ touch screen, Bose 7-speaker stereo with satellite radio, OnStar 4G LTE and built-in WiFi hotspot, head-up display, remote/push button starter, and memory driver seating. I liked the support of the driver seat and thought visibility was good.
Wheels on the Envision are 19″, ten-spoke alloy with Manoogian silver finish and they have Hankook Ventus S1 Noble2, 235/50R19 mud and snow radials installed. The tires selected are biased toward traction first, ride quality second, and economy third. Styling of the Buick stacks up well with the competitors mentioned earlier and the grill is designed in the company “waterfall” design that is seen on Veranos, etc. Overall length of the Envision is 184″, wheelbase is 108″, and the car weighs 3,800 lbs. Of course it fits in between the Buick Enclave and the Encore in terms of size and pricing.
The lone power option for the all-wheel drive Envision is a 2.0 liter, 4 cylinder engine with a turbocharger and 252 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 260 lb. ft. of torque at 2,000 rpm. I found the car to be quite peppy – transmission is a six-speed 6T70 electronically controlled automatic with floor shift. Fuel economy ratings are 22 combined, 20 city, and 26 highway miles per gallon. Premium fuel is burned in the car and it is stored in a 17.3 gallon tank.
General Motors says it wasn’t even sure about bringing the Envision to the United States when it made plans to build it in China years ago. The vehicle was designed for the Chinese market, where Buick is a sales leader and is General Motors’ top brand. The company has sold nearly 150,000 units there since the Envision went on sale about 12 months ago, even though the target was 100,000 so it was natural to take a shot at our market, where I think the car will be well-received.