Entering its first full model year in the Buick lineup, the Envision crossover offers upscale appointments and character in a package that sits neatly between the tiny Encore and the hulking Enclave CUVs.

Pricing and Equipment

The roster starts with the $34,990 (including a $925 destination charge) model, simply called Envision on Buick's consumer website, which offers a lot of standard equipment, but no options or color choices (seriously, white is the only available color). The $36,795 Preferred serves as the entry point for most buyers. All-wheel drive is available, as are a few trim choices. All Envisions carry convenience features like:

  • A hands-free power liftgate
  • Heated, powered front seats
  • Remote start
  • A universal garage door opener
  • Rear parking sensors

The $38,645 Essence trim provides more interior features, including leather upholstery, and blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. Priced at $43,245, the Premium I adds standard all-wheel drive and extra safety technology. The plusher Premium II ($45,885) is available with a $1,545 Driver Confidence package that includes adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking.

The Buick Envision offers a choice of two four-cylinder engines, both mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission:

  • The bottom three trim levels – Envision, Preferred, and Essence – use a 2.5-liter, non-turbocharged four-cylinder that develops 197 horsepower. Front-drive is standard with this engine, and all-wheel drive is available, except on the base model. The 2.5-liter achieves a commendable 25 mpg in combined city and highway driving, according to the EPA.
  • The Premium I and II get a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that provide a boost to 252 hp and comes exclusively with all-wheel drive. It's a better match for a family vehicle of this size, though efficiency drops by about 3 mpg.

Performance Pros

Buick Envision
  • The Envision's soft, supple suspension handles bumps and potholes beautifully. If winter routinely destroys your roads, the Envision's ability to isolate its driver from the worst imperfections is a valuable feature.
  • The 2.5-liter base engine is fine for simple commuting, but the 2.0-liter turbo just brings so much more to the table. It's quick off the line, and while turbocharged engines generally lose steam at higher engine speeds, the sportier Envision's grunt is consistent and reliable.

Performance Cons

  • While most buyers will feel more comfortable with the turbocharged engine, it's only available on the pricey Premium models.
  • Even with all-wheel drive, the most the Envision can tow is 1,500 pounds, less than half of what we expected.

Interior Pros

  • Thanks to its squeak-free construction and active noise cancellation, the Buick Envision is extremely quiet inside, even at highway speeds.
  • From our position behind the wheel, the Envision felt like a no-excuses luxury vehicle, with an inspired dash design and nicely assembled materials of fine quality.

Interior Cons

  • The Envision is narrower than most family-oriented crossovers. We found ourselves wishing for more shoulder, elbow, and head room during long driving spells.
  • We understand the Envision is smaller and nimbler than GM's seven-passenger crossovers, but it probably succeeds too well in that regard. With 57.3 cubic feet of maximum cargo space, the Envision holds half as much as Buick's own Enclave.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

Comfort and convenience are high priorities for the Envision, which is evident in the list of standard equipment. Even drivers of the base model could feel pampered.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

Advanced safety technology is limited to the top trim levels, and even then the most desirable features cost extra.

The Bottom Line

The Buick Envision is every bit as quiet and relaxing as it should should be, and more expensive than it should be when fully equipped.