The Buick Envision is the right car at the right time for Buick. Their sedan sales are down but dealers can't get enough of the crossovers.
So why is the attention mostly centered on the fact the Envision is imported from China?
The Envision is really the right size for what people consider a luxury crossover to be. While it looks small externally, the interior is extremely spacious. Seating is upright and there's lots of rear legroom, with a seat that slides for more cargo space – although there's plenty of that in the first place.
There are flaws, however, but none that could be blamed on the Buick's built-in-China status. The Envision doesn't feel particularly upscale after my poking and prodding. Plastics are of a good quality, but nothing significantly better than what Chevrolet is putting into their new sedans. It's also not quite up to what you'd find in an Audi Q5 or Volvo XC60. This will matter more when we find out how much it's going to cost, because the Envision would win an opulence race against a Ford Escape Titanium or Honda CR-V, for example. Nevertheless, it's all put together well enough.
And then there's the look of the whole thing. It's not unattractive, but the Envision seems to lack anything particularly distinctive or detailed. The styling may be too conservative on the outside. And inside, the clearly fake wood and purple accents on one example I got into were a bit much.
I'll reserve final judgement until I get behind the wheel of one, with the hope it doesn't feel as slow as an Encore but is more spry than an Enclave. Other than its point of origin, however, the Envision breaks no new ground.
But because it's the right size and will probably be priced in a sweet spot, those in the market for a plush two-row crossover will find a lot to like in the Envision. So much, in fact, they won't care about its birthplace.
Photos: Zac Estrada / Carscoops