The 2019 Buick Envision stands apart from the compact competition in one particular way. It’s the first crossover SUV that wears an American badge, but is manufactured in China.
The five-passenger Envision first came to North America as a 2016 model. It sees several changes for the 2019 model year. It gets a new grille; a new 9-speed automatic goes into models with the 2.0-liter turbo-4; and that engine gets stop/start.
Five trim levels are available: Base (1SV), Preferred, Essence, Premium, and Premium II. In 1SV, Preferred, and Essence models, a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder produces 197 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque. A 6-speed automatic transmission sends that power to standard front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional for Preferred and Essence trim levels.
Both Premium trim levels upgrade to a more muscular 2.0-liter turbo-4 that generates 252 horsepower and 295 pound-feet. That turbocharged engine transmits power to all four wheels, also through a 9-speed automatic.
The IIHS scores the 2019 Envision at â€œGood” in the tests it’s completed. The NHTSA gives all-wheel-drive 2019 Envisions five stars overall.
Buick restricts most active-safety technology to the top Premium II trim level. Even then, automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control are part of a $1,545 option package. Blind-spot monitors are included with Essence and higher trim levels. Turbocharged Envisions add active lane control and forward-collision warnings.
Prices do not include $1,195 destination charge.
Base (1SV) Envision ($31,995) has front-wheel drive and the 2.5-liter engine. Standard equipment includes cloth/synthetic leather upholstery, heated power front seats, slide/recline second-row seats, a hands-free power liftgate, HID headlights, keyless ignition, and 18-inch wheels. The 8.0-inch touchscreen works with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Preferred ($33,500 with front-wheel drive, $35,250 with all-wheel drive) is equipped like 1SV, but makes a number of options available, including a choice of five body colors.
Essence ($35,800 with FWD, $37,550 with AWD) includes perforated leather upholstery, heated outboard rear seats, rear-seat climate controls, blind-spot monitors, driver’s seat memory, roof rack, heated steering wheel, and lane-departure warnings.
Premium ($40,700) upgrades to the 2.0-liter turbo-4 with all-wheel drive. Safety features include forward-collision and lane-departure warnings and lane-keep assist.
Premium II ($43,600) has the turbo-4 and all-wheel drive, plus navigation, a head-up display, and heated/cooled front seats. Only Premium II can be equipped with all available active-safety technology, including adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking.
The 2019 Buick Envision’s clean, fluid design contrasts with its simple interior. Several styling updates give the 2019 Envision a subtly more expensive appearance.
At 184 inches long, the Envision is on the short side for a compact crossover SUV. Short overhangs give it a crisp profile. Swoopy lines make an Envision look larger than its dimensions suggest; its porthole-style add-ons don’t function and don’t do much for its shape.
Compared to some crossover SUVs that have grown wider lately, the Envision has a relatively narrow cabin. However, assembly quality feels solid. A wide expanse of simulated wood on the dashboard pairs with leather upholstery in Essence and higher trims. The dash is simply styled; its excellent infotainment system provides Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
Heated front seats are firm, with 8-way power adjustment (including lumbar). Premium II trim gives the driver extendable thigh support. Extensive sound deadening measures make the Envision pleasantly quiet.
Second-row seating is more snug because of the relatively narrow body. Three adults sitting abreast will rub shoulders, though their backrests recline.
Opening the standard power liftgate reveals about 27 cubic feet of space, with the rear seatbacks upright. Volume expands to 57 cubic feet with the seatbacks folded. Though well-shaped, the cargo floor sits higher than in some rivals.
The Envision isn’t outfitted for athletics; it’s a straightforward crossover meant for commuter duty. Base-model acceleration is acceptable, but we prefer the turbo-4, which works well with the smooth-shifting 9-speed automatic.
Most Envisions ride on 18-inch alloy wheels that give a firm, but not stiff, ride. Optional 19-inch tires with shorter sidewalls stiffen the ride on rutted surfaces. Direct, nicely-weighted steering ensures capable handling, complemented by a polished feel.
Envisions aren’t among the thriftiest compact crossovers. With front-wheel drive, the 2019 Envision is EPA-rated at 22/29 mpg City/Highway, or 25 mpg Combined. Substituting all-wheel drive dents those figures a bit, to 21/27/24 mpg. Turbocharged Envisions are EPA-rated at 20/25 mpg City/Highway, or 22 mpg Combined. The turbo engine needs premium fuel, but the base engine runs on regular.
The 2019 Buick Envision impresses us with its comfortable front seats and decent cargo space. We wish advanced safety features were less expensive and more widely available.
Driving impressions by Andrew Ganz, TheCarConnection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.