2019 Buick Envision Quick Take
The 2019 Buick Envision is one of those quietly competent vehicles that deserves more attention than it gets. Comfortable, quiet, powerful (with the turbo engine at least), and blessed with a luxury-biased ride and handling balance, the Envision has slowly climbed the sales charts at Buick since its introduction two years ago, and is now poised to overtake the Encore as the brand's second best-selling vehicle.
Thanks to a small but meaningful handful of revisions to the drivetrain, brakes, and styling this year, the 2019 Envision makes its case a little more forcefully. There's more torque from the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo, enough to generate a bit more acceleration without any hot-rod like antics; the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter 4-cylinder is unchanged. That engine is now connected to a 9-speed automatic, replacing last year's 6-speed. The brakes get a new booster that increases responsiveness. Elsewhere there are other changes, such as an "off" switch for the start/stop function, a toggle between active and regular cruise control, and a better backup camera. Finally, there are a few tweaks to the exterior styling, with the nose and tail getting subtle but classy updates.
Little tweaks add up
None of this is groundbreaking stuff, but it makes a competent vehicle even better. The torquier engine delivers its power through the new 9-speed promptly in the kind of seat-of-the-pants difference that's hard to miss. The steering feels good as well, enough so that we were wishing for a bit more bite to the suspension, although considering the sales success Buick is enjoying with the Envision the way it is, the comfort-biased ride and handling is probably a good call. It certainly meshes well with the car's quiet highway ride, which is one of the 2019 Envision's strongest points. When equipped with active cruise control and other driver aids, this is the kind of premium SUV that begs for road trips.
The other stuff is subtler, and more a reflection of Buick's ability to incorporate customer feedback in a rapid manner. The off-switch for the start-stop system is a good example. Since it was already available in China (where the Envision is made), Buick easily incorporated it for those who dislike the system, even though we think it's one of the better ones out there. The same is true for toggling between regular and active cruise. Finally, there's price, with each model of the new Envision getting a noteworthy price cut. More stuff, better looks, and a lower price. Sounds like a winning combination to us.