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2019 Buick Envision: Comfortable Luxury

By Lynn Walford, March 9th, 2019

The 2019 Buick Envision is a spirited, five-seat midsize crossover utility vehicle that embodies luxury and comfort. It delivers available connected car, high-tech, and safety features through different packages for all types of driving needs.

The Envision is available in five trim levels -- Base, Preferred, Essence, Premium I, and Premium II with starting prices from $33,190 up to $44,795. Envision is powered by either a 197-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, or a 252-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Transmissions can be either a six-speed automatic transmission with Driver Shift Control or a new nine-speed automatic.

I had a "wow, how nice" reaction when entering the Envision Premium II, because the interior is so beautifully designed. The model has a light neutral interior with beige cream color lounge-chair-style soft leather seats. The dash is sculpted with a shiny patina in a deep brown with long streaks of gold, engulfing a large 8-inch touchscreen within easy reach.

The exterior has a finely portioned front with angles that glide upward. The sculpted front has a new grille with a horizontal chrome bar making a stronger statement.

I drove the Buick Envision in the pouring rain on surface streets and freeways in Los Angeles for several days. It proved to be comfortable, safe, responsive, and had robust pickup. The HiPer Strut front suspension and Active Twin Clutch differential AWD system provide sharp handling and aid traction. I drove through gutters flooded as deep as 7 inches without any problems. The brakes have a firm strong feel.

During very cold rainstorms, the seats heated up very quickly. The air ionizer kept the vehicle smelling fresh and clean. The surround view camera showed an excellent view of the areas around the vehicle and parking lot lines.

The parking assist made it very easy to parallel park on the street in fairly small parking spaces. All I had to do was press the park assist button, drive up to the front vehicle and I was automatically guided into the parking space while I powered the accelerator. I found these features convenient and compelling.

The safety features of forward automatic braking (with pedestrian detection), lane departure warning, and front/rear detection alerts can be setup for either audio warnings or vibrations in the Safety Alert seat. The cabin is kept quiet with noise canceling technology, sound-deadening materials, and acoustic laminated glass. However, while listening to the radio, the audio alerts didn't seem as effective to alerting me as the vibrating safety seat. Also when there are passengers in the vehicle, only the driver knows that s/he is veering out of the lane or too close another vehicle through the vibration. The safety functions can be shut off through buttons on the right side of the touchscreen.

The head-up display (HUD) that showed the speed and other safety features directly on the field of view of the windshield was very helpful. I didn't take my eyes off the road as long as I looking at the instrument cluster.

A switch activates the engine start/stop system to help save fuel. This feature worked well in a drive-through lane and in stop-and-go traffic, but it did startle me once, when the engine was shut off and the ignition engaged to re-start the vehicle.

For smartphone users who like to wirelessly charge, between the two front seats is a pocket to place your device for charging. I mistakenly placed a tin of mints in the pocket and received a warning notice in the instrument cluster. A reminder can be enabled to warn you if you leave things or a child in the backseat. The automatic lift gate to the trunk (with a spare tire) came in handy loading packages in the rain. I had a gallon bottle of water in the trunk that clunked during turns, so I would recommend a cargo net to keep things in place.

Overall, the Envision offers premium features, personalized safety, a luxurious interior, and a lovely, quiet, efficient, and enjoyable driving experience.

Specifications

Base price $43,600 (as tested: $48,030)
Curb weight 4,083 lbs.
Displacement 2.0-liter
Engine type DOHC turbocharged 4-cyl. w/DI
Epa mileage rating 22 mpg city, 25 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 17.3 gal.
Horsepower (net) 252 at 5500 rpm
Overall length 183.7 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 292 at 3000 rpm
Transmission 9-speed automatic
Vehicle type 5-passenger AWD midsize CUV
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