Envisioning a New Space in the Lineup

2017 Buick Envision: high expectations/low performance

BYJim Prueter
Buick has done surprisingly well when it comes to the sale of crossover utility vehicles, with the Enclave on the larger end and the Encore on the smaller end. But those shopping for something in between had to look elsewhere.
 
For 2017, Buick has introduced the Envision, a two-row, five-passenger compact crossover utility vehicle that fits between the Enclave and Encore, and competes with vehicles like the Lincoln MKC, Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLC, and BMW X3.
 
Perhaps the biggest news is that Buick, a well-known American brand, is building and importing the new Envision from China. At this time, it’s unclear whether consumers are concerned about this development.
 
The Envision comes standard with a 197-horsepower, 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine on the Preferred and Essence trim levels, and a 252-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder on Premium trim levels. A 6-speed automatic transmission is standard on all trim levels.
 
Inside, the Envision is roomy, comfortable, and looks upscale, clad with premium leather seating, soft-touch surfaces, and attractive, wood-like accent trim. Standard equipment includes a Bose stereo, as well as a heated steering wheel and front and rear seats.
 
On the road, the Envision delivers a quiet cabin but handling feels imprecise, with road imperfections and bumps noticeably disrupting the ride comfort. While power was adequate in our Premium trim test Envision, we found the transmission didn’t shift as smoothly as the 8- and 9-speed transmissions on competitor vehicles we have tested.
 
We had high expectations for the Envision, but were disappointed overall, especially with the ride and handling quality, and value for the money.
JIM PRUETER, an automotive writer based in Phoenix, has provided reviews and advice about cars for more than 20 years.

2017 Buick Envision

Vehicle Type: 
Crossover
Base Price: 
$34,065
Price as Tested: 
$45,630
Fuel Economy: 
21 MPG City
28 MPG Highway
Key Safety Features: 
  • 10 standard airbags
  • Lane-keep assist with lane-departure warning is standard on Premium trims
  • Side blind zone alert with lane change alert is standard on Essence and Premium trims
  • Rear cross-traffic alert is standard on Premium trims
The Good: 
  • Premium interior
  • QuietTuning® active noise cancellation
  • Teen driver parenting controls
The Bad: 
  • Disappointing ride and handling quality
  • Price to value rating
  • Not much wow factor
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