2017 Buick Envision
It’s been evident for some time that crossover SUVs are where the action is in the U.S. market. The selection at Buick, however, has been slow to grow. True, the large, three-row Enclave has been around since the 2008 model year, and in 2013 Buick was one of the first to field a subcompact crossover, the pint-size Encore, which turned into a surprise hit. But in the vast space between those bookends, Buick’s shelf was empty. That situation finally ended earlier this year with the arrival of the Envision. That new model made some waves with the news that it would be assembled and imported from China—a first for a domestic-brand car sold in the United States (the first made-in-China car to come here was the long-wheelbase version of the Volvo S60, called Inscription).
Between Big and Little
Size-wise, the Envision could be considered a compact: Its 107.9-inch wheelbase is some two inches larger than that of the Acura RDX or the Lincoln MKC but less than the span between the axles of the Volvo XC60 or the Audi Q5. At 183.7 inches overall, the Envision is 4.5 inches longer than the Lincoln, fractionally longer than the Audi and the Volvo, and just shy of the Acura. With herds of crossovers populating the nation’s roadways, and the barrage of advertising that accompanies them, the Envision probably can’t help but look at once familiar and forgettable. If it has a distinguishing exterior design element, it’s the Buick-family waterfall grille.
The platform the Envision rides on serves also as the foundation for the recently unveiled 2018 Chevrolet Equinox (and presumably the next GMC Terrain). The Envision snuck in at the tail end of the 2016 model year wearing its best duds—a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, all-wheel drive, and the Premium trim level—but for 2017 the lineup has been fleshed out. That means the arrival of a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder base engine, three lower-priced trim levels, and available front-wheel drive. Read more...