2017 Buick Envision
by John Davis
Buick, like just about every other automotive brand, has seen sedan sales fall of late, while consumer demand for utility vehicles of all varieties soars. So, in the spirit of giving buyers what they want, for 2017 Buick adds a 3rd arrow to their crossover quiver, the Envision.
The Envision is a two-row crossover that takes aim at the likes of Acura RDX and Lincoln MKC. So, it’s smaller than Enclave, but nowhere near Encore small; close to traditional midsize, with plenty of room for putting adults comfortably in all five seating positions.
Addressing the elephant in the room right off the bat, the Envision is the first “Made in China” light duty passenger vehicle to go on sale in the United States. From our observations, consumers have nothing to worry about when it comes to fit-and-finish and overall quality. In addition, all design and development work on the Envision took place here.
On the road, the Buick Envision feels quite competent. While smooth, ride quality is more Chevrolet-firm than Lexus-plush; and the seats are a little harder than we’d like, but are adequate for the long haul.
While there aren’t any actual bells or whistles inside, there are more than enough creature comforts and amenities to ensure it is fully up to date with buyer expectations. Indeed, feel and placement of controls seem more Euro-inspired than traditional domestic. There’s a very comprehensive and handsome instrument panel with configurable TFT screen, and full connectivity from Buick’s IntelliLink.
All Envisions come well equipped with features like 8.0-inch touchscreen, heated seats, and a programmable-height power lift gate standard. Available safety systems include GM’s Safety Alert Seat, Surround Vision, and Front Automatic Braking which we found to work perfectly every time.
As for functionality, rear seats fold almost completely flat with just a pull of the cargo area-mounted levers. Everything seemed a little stiff in operation, but we weren’t sure if that was a build quality issue, or things just needing to get broken in a little. Maximum cargo capacity is 57.3 cu.-ft.
Standard Envision power is a 197-horsepower naturally aspirated 2.5-liter I4 for front-wheel-drive models. The upgrade is a 2.0-liter turbo I4 that makes 252-horsepower and comes with all-wheel-drive. Both work through a 6-speed automatic transmission.
While styling is always subjective, we found Envision exterior design to be rather beautiful, with a smooth shape and hefty proportions, even as body lines are very pronounced. Standard wheels are 18s, though most trims ride on 19s.
For our complete test of the 2017 Buick Envision, be sure to catch MotorWeek episode #3624 that begins airing on February 17, 2017. For a listing of the public television stations that broadcast MotorWeek, go to motorweek.org and click the “About The Show” tab at the top. MotorWeek is also seen Tuesday evenings on the Velocity cable network.
It’s hard to imagine a luxurious middle weight crossover not being a success at this point and time, and Buick has already proven they can be very successful with big and small ones. So, this 2017 Buick Envision is the very definition of the right way to give the people what they want.