Forget what you know about the Buick Envision. The 2021 Buick Envision is a two-row, five-passenger SUV with almost nothing in common with its predecessors except its 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine. Engineers have completely rethought and reconfigured the Envision, certainly since its 2016 U.S. debut. When the Chinese-built, GM-name-plated Envision debuted in the U.S. that year, it was a spunky but small crossover that competed with the Kia Sportage and Honda CR-V. Buick’s 2021 Envision takes direct aim at the more upscale buyer who might consider the Lexus NX and Lincoln Corsair.
One oddity, though. Engineers designed the early concept Envision as a hybrid with a solar roof. There’s no hybrid version of the 2021 model. Still, it’s not a stretch to predict younger drivers will gravitate toward the Envision’s classic yet aggressive exterior curves. Opt for the top-of-the-line Avenir trim, and you’ll have a stylized grille, chrome trim, and 20-inch wheels instead of the 18-inch standard ones.
Once drivers take a look inside the tech-filled cabin, we expect they’ll find a lot to love, including:
Available Amazon Alexa.
Standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Updated infotainment system with an available 10.2-inch-diagonal color touchscreen.
Hands-free programmable power liftgate, standard on the top trims (Essence and Avenir) and available on the Preferred trim.
Optional creature comforts including a heated steering wheel; heated, perforated leather seats; heated rear seats; and ventilated and massaging quilted front seats.
You’re right to think some of these Buick ballyhooed features are fairly standard these days, especially on upscale models. But Buick takes their technology to a new level with some gee-whiz inducing extras. Consider the optional Air Ionizer that allows occupants to monitor air quality in the cabin. It’s standard on the Essence and Avenir trims but also available on the entry-level Preferred models. It’s tough to imagine that won’t be a hit for urban drivers.
We predict city slickers will also like the standard-on-all-trim levels “Quiet Tuning” that Buick describes as a combination of noise cancellation features and “strategically placed” acoustic materials.
Another modern touch is the Electronic Precision Shift. It replaces the conventional mechanical shift lever with push-pull buttons. That design does double duty by freeing up space under the console. That’s where you’ll find a covered storage compartment that houses the optional wireless charging pad, S.D. card slot, USB ports, and cubbies to toss your extra stuff. It also houses the optional Alexa app and some Buick-exclusive apps, including Reese’s Book Club (curated by Reese Witherspoon, of course) and an available NCAA March Madness app too.
2021 Buick Envision: Engine & Powertrain
As we mentioned, the 2021 Buick Envision has the same turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine as last year’s model. This year the engine is rated at 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft. of torque. Not surprisingly, it’s built with direct injection and the almost-too-common Stop/Start technology.
You probably recall that last year Buick offered the Envision with two engine choices. The base engine, the same as this year, was only rated at 197 horsepower, though. Still, in 2020 you could opt for the 2.0-liter turbo with 252 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque.
Disappointed a more powerful engine isn’t available? So were our friends at MotorTrend. Buick engineers predicted the 2021 Envision would win the magazine’s reviewers’ over, though. They told MotorTrend that the engine reaches peak torque faster with the flat torque curve, so the drive is (or should be) powerful and responsive. We hear almost no one outside of the automaker has driven this new Envision, so we’ll see what the test drives yield.
Models come standard with a nine-speed automatic transmission with shift control and front-wheel drive. If you pony up $1,800, you can opt for an all-wheel drive Envision with an electronically controlled twin-clutch. According to the government figures, fuel efficiency clocks in at 24/31 city/highway for front-wheel drive models and 22/29 city/highway for all-wheel drive models.
Although the Envision is an SUV, it’s not what you want for any heavy-duty hauling. The towing capacity is 1,500 lbs., and the maximum payload tops out between 1,164 lbs. and 1,318 lbs. Yet those figures match up with the Envision’s competitors, the Lexus NX (1,500 to 2,000 lbs. towing capacity) and the Lincoln Corsair at a 2,000 lbs. max towing capacity.
Chassis & Suspension
Buick engineers also told Motor Trend the enhanced ride of the 2021 Envision is due in part to the new architecture. This year’s model has a 30 percent stiffer body structure and a suspension that goes from four to a five-link in the rear. Buick’s Continuous Damping Control suspension is available. All of that means you’re in for fewer bumps and jostles when you hit nasty potholes or falling-apart roadways.
If you opt for the higher trim levels, you’ll get some snazzy extras and options, including leather front seats (ventilated and heated), massaging front seats, heated rear seats, and textured wood designs on the doors. Standard is the second-row 60/40 split seat. It folds flat, creating 52.7 cubic feet of storage space. There’s also a dual-wing armrest with under-armrest storage the driver can access without bumping the front passenger’s arm.
Wireless smartphone charging and navigation are also standard.
2021 Buick Envision Safety Features
The Buick Envision is standard with the Driver Confidence Plus package which includes automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, front pedestrian braking, and lane-keeping assist with lane departure warning, among other safety features. GM’s Rear Seat Reminder is also standard for the 2021 Envision. You can opt for a host of extras, including H.D. Surround Vision and Enhanced Automatic Parking Assist.
2021 Buick Envision Trim Levels
As we mentioned, the 2021 Envision has three trim levels: The Preferred, Essence, and Avenir. Each trim level has specific design features. The good news is the standard features on all models are relatively elegant. They include LED headlamps and taillamps and daytime running light signatures, as well as a welcome/walkaway lighting animation, which activates when using the key fob. Optional packages vary by trim. Here’s a rundown:
A $1,750 Comfort & Convenience Package is available only on the base Buick Envision, the Preferred. It comes with heated seats, a heated steering wheel, dual-zone air conditioning, an interior air ionizer, a 10-inch infotainment touchscreen, and a seven-speaker audio system.
Preferred & Essence Trims
You can opt for the $1,450 Sport Touring package. It has dark 20-inch alloy wheels, a mesh grille, and a black roof rail; the package includes body-color door handles, S.T. badging, and new wheel-arch trim.
If you choose the mid-level trim, you can also opt for the $2,500 Technology Package I. It includes front and rear park assist, a 360-degree overhead-view camera, a heads-up display, and the nine-speaker Bose audio system.
Essence & Avenir Trims
A $1,965 Technology Package II is available for the top two trims. In addition to enhanced versions of the automatic emergency braking and parking assist features, this package has active suspension damping, adaptive cruise control, articulating headlamps, and a video rearview mirror.
All-wheel drive is available for $1,800, while a panoramic moonroof ($1,450) is available for the Essence and Avenir trim levels.
2021 Buick Envision Warranty
The Buick Envision comes with a three-year, 36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty along with a five-year, 60,000-mile powertrain warranty. If you anticipate putting more miles on your Envision than usual, an extended warranty may benefit you. This guide to Buick’s extended warranty will help you decided the best course of action.
Pricing & Availability
The 2021 Buick Envision is available for a starting MSRP of $31,800 for the Preferred trim level. The Essence starts at $35,800 while the Avenir begins at $40,200.
If you are in the market for a new Envision, this free and helpful search tool* will show you dealer inventory in your area. That tool will also help you secure the invoice price, which is beneficial to have if you are negotiating with the dealership.
Nancy Dunham is a life-long journalist whose work appears in many national automotive and general interest magazines and accompanying websites. Her dad was an executive with Western Auto Supply Co. (sold to Sears), so the smell of tires still brings back a flood of childhood memories. She lives in Austin, Texas with her cat Prudence.
2021 Buick Envision Gallery
Photos & Source: Buick.
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