Road Test: 2019 Buick Envision

We’ve awaited the opportunity to get behind the wheel of Buick’s midsize crossover for some time, and we’re so glad we finally did. Not only is this the middle child in Buick’s crossover line up, between the smaller Encore and larger Enclave, but it’s the best executed. 

Everything, from ride comfort to tech is well thought out, with an incredible attention to detail that we’ve come to expect from Buick. A refresh for 2019 helps keep the design current while also adding new features that keep it competitive in the segment.

Envision gets a new grille, bumper covers, and lighting. It all looks fresher, more modern, and cohesive than before. Our Envision had LED lighting on both ends with automatic high-beams that worked very well, illuminating bright and far.

Ride comfort impressed us significantly; the 2019 Envision rides and handles more like a Regal TourX wagon than a higher crossover even with the large 19″ wheels and tires. 

Buick engineers found the perfect balance for a relaxing ride that is still engaging for the driver.

Under the hood, the 2.0L turbo engine is huge favorite of ours; it packs a lot of punch at any speed and the 9-speed automatic transmission is quick to downshift, then shift imperceptibly as speed increases. Total output is 252 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, and with the 2019 engine and transmission updates, acceleration to 60 mph is about a half-second quicker. It feels fast and we never once looked for more power.

The auto start/stop system works smoothly, and Buick even added a switch to turn it off for those who don’t like it. Efficiency-enhancing features including active grille shutters and an aluminum hood intelligent enhancements.

Our loaded tester came with the Active Twin Clutch AWD system. We didn’t have the weather to evaluate the system but believe it’ll perform admirably compared to other AWD systems.

Inside, Buick really worked to perfect the Envision. It’s a beautiful interior that remains functional, with a panoramic glass roof that allows endless light in.

The front seats are extremely comfortable and supportive. They cocoon the front occupants without being aggressive on the sides. The top trim includes ventilated seats in addition to heating (front and rear) and a heated steering wheel. The seat heaters also work faster in 2019 models, and can be programmed to come on automatically with the standard remote starter.

According to Buick, a host of tech updates and refinements were brought to the 2019 Envision.

Driver’s can now switch between Adaptive Cruise Control and conventional Cruise Control. The Adaptive Cruise Control system worked beautifully on the highway, in stop and go traffic, as well as higher speeds. The Safety Alert Seat which vibrates instead of beeping for alerts, is so much better.

Lane Keep Assist works well, and we appreciate the rear cross traffic and blind zone assist systems.

The view all around is superb thanks to the Surround View monitor, which gives a birds-eye view of the Envision and makes parking spots and parallel parking a breeze. Parking sensors front and rear help gauge distance even better.

Bose sound fills the cabin and sounds rich. Buick updated the microphone for better call quality and voice recognition too. Additional microphones are in the cabin for the noise cancellation system, much like Bose’s headphones are known for. The infotainment system is sleekly integrated into the dash adjacent to an elegant analog clock. The touchscreen spans 8-inches diagonally and includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Devices not plugged in for infotainment benefit from the more powerful Qi wireless charging system which now charges phones at a higher wattage.

The high tech continues with the Head-up display system. It’s color and displays all relevant info the driver needs to stay focused on the road.

Breathing inside is better thanks to an air ionizer to help eliminate odors, reduce bacteria and provide better air quality. We definitely felt better for many reasons as we spent time in the Envision.

The flexibility of the rear of the Envision is just as important as every other aspect, this is a crossover after all. The sliding, 60/40-split seat offers the flexibility of more legroom or more cargo room. Kneeling bottom cushions allow for a flatter load floor when the seat is folded.

For maintenance convenience, Buick added a tire fill alert system like other automakers offer. It alerts visually and audibly from the outside of the Envision as the tires are filled, indicating that the correct pressure was reached.

Summary Scorecard (1-10)

Ride and Handling 9
Braking 10
Powertrain and Fuel Economy 10
Noise 10
Headlights 10
Interior Fit and Finish 9
Seating 9
Visibility 9
Gauges and Controls 9
Infotainment 9
Crash-Avoidance 9
Total Score 94

Make: Buick
Model: Envision
Trim Level: AWD Premium II
Engine: 2.0L Turbo
Transmission: 9-Speed Auto
Options: Driver Confidence

Base Price: $43,600
As-Tested Price: $46,835

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