Gone are the days of sedans and wagons at Buick. Not all that long ago you could still walk in and buy a Regal TourX, but that was the end of an era. The Buick brand has adapted and is completely ready to push forward with an all-SUV lineup that’s slated to get them a bigger slice of the pie.
Buick is one of the most recognizable brands in China, and ironically the new Envision is still built there. Our tester this week was the new front-wheel-drive Avenir trim. While the first generation Envision wasn’t much of a looker, this new one certainly exudes a presence of upscale, forward thinking design. Strong light signatures for both front and rear and a shapely profile stand out. The Envision Avenir shows its curves even better in the optional Rich Garnet Metallic paint; the only hue to get in our opinion. Inside that design carries over with a very driver-centric cockpit with an infotainment screen that’s severely angled away from the passenger. This got mixed reviews all week since everyone liked the interior design, but the usability of that central screen for the passenger was a little awkward.
This new Envision Avenir, and the entire Envision lineup, only features one engine option. It’s a 2.0L turbocharged four cylinder that makes 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. To put it plainly, you’re not going to win any drag races. In fact, we experienced noticeable torque steer when putting the pedal to the floor from a stop in our front-wheel-drive model, so it’s best not to even attempt a drag race. The engine is mated to a nine-speed automatic that shifts imperceptibly smoothly and never upsets the car under any sort of evasive or quick maneuver. However, you’re not going to really be doing any quick maneuvers in the name of sport with the Envision either, since this is a driving experience more tailored towards luxury. We can unequivocally say they totally nailed that aspect of the mission. The continuously adaptive suspension is worlds above anything that competitors are doing in this segment and the double pane windows mean that the ride was extremely quiet on a couple longer rides that we did. The seat bottoms are a little short, but the massaging driver seat helps with any potential for fatigue. Any sort of sporty driving is quickly quelled with the turn of the wheel and the uncertainty as to what the front tires are doing in any sort of fashion; it’s luxury first and foremost with this one.
Inside, that divisive central screen works exceedingly well and offers multiple forms of connectivity. The navigation system was easy to use, and even found a location by just inputting the name of the restaurant instead of the actual street address. A head-up display is still one of my favorite features in any car, and the 360 degree camera system is one of the highest resolution we’ve ever tested. The rear seat room is decent for someone who is six foot or smaller, and the rear cargo room is on par with the Lincoln Corsair we recently drove.
This new Envision is quite a step forward from its predecessor; a step we wished the current Escape was going to take. Packed with luxury features, a quiet and comfortable ride, and surely attractive incentives that will soon arrive, this new Envision may eventually make you a member of the Envision Owners Group on Facebook.
|2021 Buick Envision Avenir FWD||$40,200|
|Technology Package II||$1,965|
|Rich Garnet Metallic||$495|
Categories: Buick, Driven, Scott Villeneuve
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