The Buick Envision is a genuinely nice car, and that’s the biggest impression it leaves.
Memorable, not so much, but Buick does best when it builds cars that are just… nice. Of course, this impression is attached to one of the most controversial cars to land in the U.S. (for point of assembly reasons I’ll mention later), so the Envision is actually a lot of other things than nice. Have I used my “nice” quota for the year?
I’ve been driving the 2017 Buick Envision. Here are some initial thoughts.
So good looking you’ll miss it
As in, miss it in a parking lot. The Envision looks like a good mix of Enclave cues on a smaller body, but escaping the oddness that encompasses the little Encore. But at first glance, you’ll honestly walk past it without noticing – or thinking it’s a Nissan Rogue, as many people thought it was.
Compact SUVs have evolved into being pretty much the perfect size for most people, so it’s little surprise this compact Buick SUV is pretty well-packaged. In addition to a nicely shaped and finished cargo area, the rear seat slides and reclines, as well as boasts a flat floor – something a lot of rivals aren’t able to manage.
Most materials and fits are very nice in this Buick, right up there with other premium-ish compact SUVs.
Still, there are more than a few curiosities. Why is there a huge slab of obviously fake “wood” in front of the passenger? Why are both of the clocks facing the front passenger? Why is the sound the turn signal makes so damn loud? Pretty much everyone who rode with me in the Envision brought at least one of these things up.
The non-turbo turbo
The more robust of the two four-cylinders offered on the Envision, the 2.0-liter turbo with 252 horsepower is very, very nice. Mated to a six-speed automatic and a slick stop-start system, you often forget the engine up front is boosted, which is a departure from the last turbo’d Buick Regal I drove.
And being a Buick, it’s amazingly quiet inside. The only way you know a downshift just happened is by watching the tach.
Fall into place
This Envision Premium all-wheel drive, the least expensive way to get the 2.0T engine, goes for $43,640. Add $495 for navigation and $1,500 for a sunroof, which I'd likely go for. At $45,500-ish, it’s right on the money with an Acura RDX or Volvo XC60 of similar equipment – and well below the marks set by the Audi Q5 and BMW X3.
But I can’t help but remember the 2017 Honda CR-V Touring I drove a month ago and how that, at less than $37,000 all in, feels nearly as good as this Envision. And it’s also the perfect size. And is built in North America, unlike this Buick that is built in China. Yes, I waited until now to bring that up.
What else would you like to know about the Buick Envision? Sound off in the comments.
Photos: Zac Estrada/Carscoops