THE PROS & CONS
- What’s Best: The turbo engine gives the Envision the right amount of oomph.
- What’s Worst: The forward collision alert system can be too sensitive.
- What’s Interesting: Besides the rear-view camera a bird’s eye view camera follows the car as it reverses showing the driver just what is in the area.
I haven’t driven too many Buicks in my life.
My perception was the brand was for older drivers who are looking for comfort and style and couldn’t afford a Cadillac.
It was a car my dad would drive but not me. I wanted something sportier, something with more get up and go.
I just turned 55 and after a week in the Buick Envision and I can see why drivers of all ages are drawn to the model.
GM and Buick have made great strides in bringing drivers of all ages back to the brand and the Envision is a crossover that will continue to help with that.
My tester for the week was the top of the line Premium II with all-wheel drive.
The crossover caught my eye from the moment I saw it at in the lot at GM in Oshawa. It was well designed with crisp lines and the Buick emblem proudly sitting front and center.
Going back a number of years GM was criticized for its lack of finesse and style with its vehicles but that isn’t true anymore. The company makes some of the nicest looking vehicles and the Envision is right up there.
My tester came with a 2.0-litre dual overhead cam turbo engine (252 hp, 260 lb/ft of torque), mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The turbo was quiet and for the first few days I didn’t even realize I was driving a turbo.
That’s a far cry from the 1986 Sunbird I use to own with a turbo that whined to let you know it had kicked in.
Lower trim models feature a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine that likely doesn’t provide as much oomph but would be a bit better on gas.
Despite being a crossover with plenty of room for five adults, the Envision was quick on the highway and easy to keep up with traffic flow.
Also Read: Top 10 CUVs for 2017
Among the many safety features in my Envision was a driver safety alert seat and forward collision alert. Like some other reviews I have read, I would agree the collision alert is a little sensitive. I don’t need to be informed every time another car enters my lane in front of me. I’m sure that can be adjusted but with just a week in the vehicle, I left it to see if I would get use to the system. I didn’t.
The safety alert seat is a nice engineering touch. Instead of a warning beep or alarm, the seat vibrates when you might be entering a lane that is already occupied by another car. It vibrates either on the left or right side, depending on where the danger is sensed.
We have a large bush between our driveway and garage and whenever I would park near the bush, the seat would vibrate to let me know there was an obstacle near me.
Other safety features on my Envision Premium included automatic park assist, lane keep assist, lane departure warning and a rear vision camera.
It’s no wonder the Envision earned a five-star safety rating from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The vehicle also earned the highest rating possible from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
So we have established it is a safe vehicle to drive.
The Envision comes with a heads up display that felt very different than the display I recall from earlier GM vans. Then, it was very bright and a distraction. This display is muted and can easily be turned off or moved to a location that isn’t so in your face.
Like many GM vehicles, the Envision features 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity through OnStar. I had tried the system with a recent Cruze so didn’t try it again. That connectivity was one of the best things my kids liked about the Cruze.
Inside, the Envision is stylish with controls in all the right places and enough space for anything you might be carrying.
The Envision slots in between the larger Enclave and smaller Encore to give Buick an SUV for all family sizes.
The Envision may not be as recognizable a name as some compact CUVs but it deserves a chance to show you what it can do if you are looking for a crossover vehicle the whole family would enjoy.
2017 Buick Envision Premium
BODY STYLE: Four-door compact crossover
DRIVE METHOD: Front-engine, all-wheel-drive
ENGINE: 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbo (252 hp, 260 lb-ft of torque); six-speed automatic transmission.
FUEL ECONOMY: 2.0-litre turbo, 11.8/9.5L/100 km city/highway; 2.5-litre non turbo 11.1/8.4/100 km city/highway.
CARGO: 761 litres
TOW RATING: 1,500 lb
PRICE: Base: $49,565; Driver confidence package which includes adaptive cruise control and front automatic braking $1,975; Surround Vision power moonroof $1,695; midnight metallic paint $495 Total: $55,530.