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Actual rating will vary with options, driving conditions, habits and vehicle condition.
The standard features of the Buick Envision Base include 2.5L I-4 197hp engine, 6-speed automatic transmission with overdrive, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), side seat mounted airbags, curtain 1st and 2nd row overhead airbags, rear side-impact airbag, driver and passenger knee airbag, airbag occupancy sensor, automatic air conditioning, 18" aluminum wheels, cruise control, ABS and driveline traction control, StabiliTrak electronic stability.
Starting at: $35,870
|Preferred||$35,870||197-hp 2.5L 4-cyl||6-spd auto||22 / 29|
|Essence||$37,720||197-hp 2.5L 4-cyl||6-spd auto||22 / 29|
|Preferred||$37,720||197-hp 2.5L 4-cyl||6-spd auto||21 / 28|
|Essence||$39,570||197-hp 2.5L 4-cyl||6-spd auto||21 / 28|
|Premium I||$42,320||252-hp 2.0L 4-cyl||6-spd auto||20 / 26|
|Premium II||$44,960||252-hp 2.0L 4-cyl||6-spd auto||20 / 26|
What the Envision does best is smooth out choppy roads. Even with the bigger 19-inch alloy wheels and all-season tires, there’s not much road noise.
Even though we haven’t driven the 2.5-liter engine in the Envision, we have seat time in other GM cars with this engine, and we can’t say it feels exactly upmarket. Its 197 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque sound too low to move this 3800-pound vehicle with authority.
The turbo’s exhaust note is muffled and distant, releasing a light thrum under hard acceleration. There’s some turbo lag before the power comes on smoothly, while the 6-speed automatic is always smooth, with either engine.
We got an all-wheel-drive Premium on gravel roads, and had no problems with grip. The system is front-wheel-drive based, but sends power to the rear when traction is needed there.
Despite the image of the sporty steering wheel, the Envision isn’t into spirited cornering. Still, there isn’t much body lean, and the steering system keeps the car on a steady track whether in a sweeper or switchback. The turbocharged Envisions come equipped with Buick’s sophisticated HiPer strut front suspension that counters torque steer mainly on front-wheel-drive models.
The Envision styling isn’t bold like for example the Nissan Murano, but that means it’s safe from being ugly like the Murano. The Envision is pleasing enough to the eye, if not anything your eyes are compelled to look twice at.
A deep shoulder line and rear roof pillar are vaguely European, with a line of thin chrome trim around the windows that’s suggestive of the BMW 3. At the front, a petite waterfall grille is flanked by LED daytime running lamps that flow upward into fenders with iconic faux portholes.
The rear taillamps are like blobs floating in space. LED accent lights are connected by a wide metallic bar studded with a Buick logo. It’s inoffensive but uninteresting.
You can see the instrument panel as either a dramatic and asymmetric sweep of controls, or a mish-mash of GM corporate switchgear. A climate control panel uses capacitive touch switches. There’s a sporty three-spoke steering wheel suggesting capability that doesn’t exist. Fabric upholstery comes on the two lower models, with faux wood trim, while the others get leather in brown, black or tan, which doesn’t feel particularly nice. Big swaths of real wood trim and ambient lighting beautify the cabin on these models.
The 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen sits high on the dash. Although its graphics are a bit busy, Buick’s IntelliLink is one of our favorite systems, for its simple menus and plug-and-go Apple CarPlay.
The Envision is a bit narrower than GM’s Terrain and Equinox, so it feels a bit more confining in the rear compared to some competitors. But there’s still room for three in the rear seat, which slides on a track like those models; and there’s plenty of headroom, as well as available heating and reclining backrests. There’s an excellent 26.9 cubic feet of space behind the rear seat, and 57.3 cubic feet with the rear seat folded.
It’s very quiet inside. We pushed it over some of the worst asphalt we’ve seen in a while, and didn’t hear one creak or rattle. Its doors slammed with the solid thunk we’ve come to expect from GM.
We can’t find anything exceptional about the Envision. Nice cabin, good ride, solid 2.0-liter turbo, excellent automatic transmission, average handling, forgettable styling, unimpressive fuel mileage, eyebrow-raising price. Plus you can’t get away from the Made in China thing.
Sam Moses contributed to this report.
2017 Buick Envision ($34,065) comes standard with power and heated cloth seats and rearview camera. (Prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.) The 2.5-liter engine comes on base, Preferred ($35,870) and Envision Essence ($37,720) models. Front-wheel drive is standard, all-wheel drive is available.
The 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and all-wheel drive are standard on Envision Premium ($42,320) models. Envision Premium II ($44,960) gets air conditioned leather seats, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control. The Driver Confidence Package, with automatic braking and adaptive cruise control, is available only on the Premium II.