New 2019 Buick Envision SUV New 2019
Buick Envision SUV

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KBB Editor's Overview

By KBB.com Editorial Staff

Two short years after its introduction, the 2019 Buick Envision adds a host of new features aimed at further increasing the popularity of its 5-passenger upscale SUV. That says a lot, because the Envision was just introduced last year, and has already proven so successful that Buick believes it will soon pass the larger Enclave as its second-best-selling vehicle after the Buick Encore. So what's so great? How about an unexpectedly luxurious interior, plenty of passenger space for five people, tons of cargo room, and a host of features, all for a price starting less than $35,000. Built in China, the Envision goes toe-to-toe with the Acura RDX, Lincoln MKC, and even lower-end models of the Audi Q5. All-wheel drive is available with either the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder or more powerful 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder.

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You'll Like This SUV If...

The 2019 Buick Envision offers a refined and comfortable interior for five. It will reward families looking for an upscale compact SUV with a comfortable ride, plentiful features, and high crash-test scores, including a Top Safety Pick+ from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

You May Not Like This SUV If...

While the Envision is comfy and quiet, athletic handling and off-road capability aren't its strengths. If you're looking for the former, the Audi Q5 and Acura RDX may be more to your liking. If you want to hit the trail, the Jeep Cherokee or Grand Cherokee might be more your speed.

What's New for 2019

The turbocharged 4-cylinder gets more torque, and is now connected to a 9-speed automatic transmission. There are now LED headlights and taillights, and available 19-inch wheels. The start/stop system also now has an off switch.

Driving It

Driving Impressions

There are two things that immediately impress about the 2019 Buick Envision. First is its on-road quiet. Buick's "Quiet Tuning" uses a combination of sound-deadening materials and active noise-cancellation technology, and it does an admirable job of isolating occupants from the harsh outside world, even at highway speeds; the comfortably controlled suspension helps. The other is the sharp steering. While it's no Porsche 911, the Envision's steering was nicely communicative over all sorts of surfaces. However, those aren't the only standouts. If you skip the standard 2.5-liter 4-cylinder and head straight for the turbo, you'll be rewarded with an additional 35 lb-ft of torque. Coupled with the new 9-speed automatic, the turbo is about a half-second quicker from 0-60 mph than before; still not a rocket ship, but noteworthy nonetheless. The 9-speed is a champ, too, with smooth shifts and seamless operation.

Favorite Features

START/STOP DEACTIVATION
For the most part, we think GM's implementation of start/stop technology -- which shuts off the engine at stoplights to save gas -- works better than just about anybody else's. However, Buick has gotten enough customer feedback that it included a deactivation switch, which will leave the engine running.

SAFETY ALERT SEAT
Standard on Premium models, the Safety Alert Seat vibrates the bottom cushion to alert the driver of hazards. It's also directional, that is, the right seat bolster vibrates if the hazard is on the right, or the left if it's on the left. It's more intuitive than the usual array of beeps and buzzes.

Vehicle Details

Interior

The interior story of the 2019 Envision starts under the hood, where Buick cleverly packaged the engine to provide a flat floor in the rear. That means no hump, and comfortable seating for everyone. The seat slides forward to help extend the cargo area a bit, at the expense of legroom, of course. In front are comfortable driver and passenger seats, an interior layout that's easy to understand and use, and generally high-quality-feeling materials. The ergonomic exception would be the climate-control switches, which are touch-sensitive and provide no feedback, real or haptic. We'd prefer real buttons, or at least a "thump" from a haptic feedback system.

Exterior

The 2019 Envision gets a slight update to its exterior, adding the "wings" to the waterfall motif that's seen in other Buick products, and with a slight revision to the lower bumper. The tailgate gets an update as well, with a smaller chrome strip, different surround for the rear glass, and updated lower bumpers with different contouring under the reshaped taillights. It's still conservative, but the sculpted sides, wide, stance and curve of its C-pillar are all details that give the design depth. Buick uses chrome, but keeps it to a minimum, with the most prominent applications around the grille and across the rear hatch. We also like the standard power tailgate that has adjustable lift height and hands-free operation.

Notable Standard Equipment

The base 2019 Buick Envision Preferred model comes standard with front-wheel drive (FWD) and the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine. Beyond that you get keyless entry and start, a rear vision camera and backup sensors, 8-way-power front seats with 4-way lumbar support, and a hands-free power liftgate. That's some solid high-end equipment there already, and to that Buick adds remote start, an 8-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, 18-inch alloy wheels, and 4G LTE Wi-Fi. On the safety front there are 10 airbags, a rear-seat reminder to make sure you're not forgetting anyone, and GM's Teen Driver system, which lets you monitor and limit the driving habits of new drivers.

Notable Optional Equipment

All-wheel drive (AWD) is available across the model lineup, but other features are added as you climb the model ladder. The Essence model adds leather upholstery with memory seats, heated steering wheel and 2nd-row outboard seats, 3-zone automatic climate control, and rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot alert. The Premium model comes standard with the 2.0-liter turbo engine, plus the advanced twin-clutch AWD system, lane-keep assist, automatic wipers, LED headlights and more. The Premium II model includes adjustable thigh support for the driver, parking assist, a head-up display, automatic high beams, and navigation. There's a navigation package that's also available for Essence and Premium models, and the top three trims can also add a panoramic sunroof. However, only Premium II models can add the Driver Confidence package that includes adaptive cruise control, automatic braking and a 360-degree camera.

Under the Hood

Standard in the bottom two 2019 Envision models is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder with 197 horsepower, connected to a 6-speed automatic transmission. It's a solid piece that gets the job done without too much drama, but it's not going to win many drag races, either. For 2019, the upgrade 2.0-liter turbocharged engine gets some enhancements as well; it's the same 252 horsepower, but it gains 35 lb-ft of torque for a peak of 295 lb-ft. More important, it’s now connected to GM's slick 9-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is available for the 2.5-liter engine, while turbo models get a more sophisticated system standard. Fuel economy is pretty solid, with a front-drive Envision with the 2.5-liter estimated to get up to 29 mpg on the highway, and the turbo projected to get 25 mpg on premium fuel.

2.5-liter inline-4
197 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
192 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/29 mpg (FWD); 21/27 mpg (AWD)

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
252 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
295 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000-4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/25 mpg

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Pricing Notes

Surprisingly, prices for the 2019 Buick Envision went down a little bit, with the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) on a base model starting at about $34,000 when you include the $995 destination charge. You'll spend an extra $1,500 on the Preferred model, and tack on an extra $2,300 for the Essence model over that. On all 2.5-liter-powered Envision models, all-wheel drive adds about $1,850. Once you get to the 2.0-liter turbo-powered models all-wheel drive is standard, which helps explain the $42,500 price for the Premium model, and the $45,500 price of the Premium II. A loaded Premium II will come in about $48,000. That's all in line with many of its rivals, including the Acura RDX, Lexus NX, Infiniti QX50, and up to thousands less than the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new Envision. Also be aware that resale value is not one of the Envision's strong suits, being average at best.

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