All-New Body. The 2021 Buick Envision has been hitting the gym. Buick’s compact crossover gets a full redesign this year, and the biggest change is a sculpted body. The new generation is slightly shorter than the last, and in our opinion, it looks much better. A wider grille is balanced by sleek curves and muscular haunches, with a few tasteful angles and creases to keep things interesting.

Looks aside, the Envision uses its space well. Passengers in both rows have ample room to stretch, and the center console hides a generous storage bin. The optional panoramic sunroof cuts into head room — we’d recommend skipping it.

Cargo space starts at 25.2 cu ft and maxes out at 52.7. That’s on the low side for the class — you’ll find more space in a BMW X3 or Volvo XC60. This is one area where the shorter proportions hurt the Envision, but it’s still a reasonably practical pick.

Upgraded Performance. The 2021 Envision gets a new powertrain to match its exterior. The turbo four-cylinder engine makes 228 horsepower, which is enough to make the Envision feel perky in most circumstances. The nine-speed automatic transmission is smooth and confident.

The new Envision also gets a more sophisticated suspension. The thin steering wheel doesn’t offer much feedback, but the chassis is composed and comfortable over rough pavement. The optional adaptive dampers are even more plush, but they don’t play well with the top-trip Avenir’s 20-inch wheels.

Not all the news is good. Towing capacity maxes out at 1,500 pounds, which is low even for a compact crossover. Combined fuel economy is a mediocre 26 mpg, and unlike many rivals, the Envision offers no hybrid or plug-in options.

Buick Envision

Budget Luxury. The Envision occupies an odd place in the price spectrum. It’s more expensive than mainstream models like the Honda CR-V, but cheaper than luxury titans like the BMW X3.

For the price, it feels pleasantly premium inside. Material quality is high, and the design is minimalist but attractive. Seats are supportive in both rows, and upholstered in either synthetic or genuine leather. The infotainment screen is tilted more than we’d like, but otherwise, it’s hard to fault the interior.

Upgrade to the Avenir trim and you’ll be treated to quilted leather, ventilated front seats, and a massage-capable driver’s seat. It’s a compelling luxury cruiser, although it adds nearly $10,000 to the starting price.

Pricey Packages. Including the Avenir, the Envision lineup comprises only three trims. In the base Preferred trim, standard features are good: automatic emergency braking, synthetic upholstery, and an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen with smartphone compatibility.

Stray into the package list, and the price rises in a hurry. Upgraded tech like a head-up display and Bose sound adds thousands to the price, denting the Envision’s budget-lux appeal. Another sore spot: a three-year/36,000-mile warranty is worse than some rivals.

If you want more creature comforts, we’d skip the packages and look to the mid-range Essence trim. It gets real leather upholstery, heated front seats, and a larger touchscreen while keeping the price well under $40,000.

Final Thoughts. The 2021 Envision is a significant upgrade over the previous generation. It could use a better warranty and more cargo space, but it feels premium inside and looks the part. As a cheaper alternative to the luxury establishment, it’s worth a long look.

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