According to Duncan Aldred, vice president, Global Buick and GMC, the Buick brand has been doing an excellent job of bringing in new customers, with 72% of those opting to buy from what is now an all-crossover lineup—Enclave, Encore, Encore GX and Envision—being new to the brand.
The 2021 Envision is the launch of the second generation of the compact crossover; it is competing in what Aldred describes as “one of the industry’s most competitive segments.”
Helen Emsley, executive director, Global Buick and GMC Design, says, “The new Envision has a more athletic presence that is full of character.”
Which is sort of the thing that one would say. After all, who wants a crossover that has a couch-potato presence with an undifferentiated persona?
That said, the designers took what is become a familiar shape (“most competitive segments” means that one hell of a lot of vehicles of this type are being sold) and put in some nice character lines on the bodyside as well created a highly styled but not fussy front fascia that provides differentiation.
What’s more, Emsley points out that the new Envision is lower and wider than the model it replaces, and while that, again, is the sort of thing that is often said, she really means it.
The first generation Envision is 72.4 inches wide and 66.8 inches high. The new one is 74.1 inches wide and 64.6 inches high, which is a visible, and substantial, difference, making the new vehicle look much more planted than its predecessor.
The vehicle is being offered in three trims: Preferred, Essence and Avenir, with the latter being the most luxe of the three and the preceding two being offered with a Sport Touring package.
The Avenir variant brings 20-inch wheels that have a Pearl Nickel finish. The Sport Touring versions of the other trims have darkened 20 inch wheels. That is a telegraphing cue of the approach. (There are also grille differences, but let’s face it: the wheels are a clear statement.)
The Envision comes with one powertrain choice: a 228-hp, turbocharged I4 mated to a nine-speed automatic. There are both FWD and AWD.
On the inside, there is Buick’s first 10.2-inch-diagonal color touch screen because, well, this is a new model and it would be unthinkable to go with something smaller.
One dimension is probably more notable to people who are going to take their Envision on a road trip, which is that for the cargo space. If the second row is in use, then there’s 25.2 cubic feet behind it. If the second row seatback is folded, then there’s 52.7 cubic feet. Nicely utile.
Here’s a feature that seems most timely: an air ionizer that includes an “air quality indicator.” It is standard on Essence and Avenir and available on Preferred. Here’s guessing it will be more engaging for Envision drivers than the Buick-exclusive Reese’s Book Club app. Were this, say, January 2020, it would probably be just the opposite.
But now. . . .–gsv