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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

2019 Buick Envision Preview

The 2019 Buick Envision’s more powerful engine, improved transmission, and lower price tag pique our interest.

The 2019 Buick Envision doesn’t look all that much different than last year’s model, except where it counts. Across the line, Buick has dropped the 2019 Envision’s price tag by four figures, while adding more features, power, and technology.

Like its predecessor, which arrived in the U.S. for an abbreviated 2016 model year as first Detroit-badged vehicle built in China, the 2019 Envision is a five-seat crossover that bridges the gap between mainstream and luxury. It’s available in base, Preferred, Essence, Premium, and Premium II trim levels, with a choice of two 4-cylinder engines.

We haven’t driven the 2019 Envision yet. We'll update this preview into a full review as soon as we have.

For 2019, the Envision’s mildly revised exterior styling is joined by a new 9-speed automatic transmission for the more powerful 2.0-liter turbo-4 that’s fitted to the Premium and Premium II trim levels. The turbocharged engine is now rated at 252 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, a 35 lb-ft improvement over the 2018 version.

A 2.5-liter non-turbo 4-cylinder is standard and it remains rated at 197 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque. With that engine, Buick uses a 6-speed automatic.

The turbo comes exclusively with all-wheel drive, while the non-turbo comes standard with front-wheel drive and can be equipped with all-wheel drive. Both engines are now fitted with an on/off switch for the standard stop/start system.

Buick has not yet announced fuel economy for the 2019 Envision.

2019 Buick Envision styling, value
Though it may come from China—Buick’s largest market—the Envision’s styling fits in well between the pint-size Encore and the three-row Enclave. This year, Buick has revised its head- and taillights, the former of which are now HID or LED units depending on the trim level rather than halogens. Additionally, the Envision’s grille design has been revised, discarding last year’s waterfall look for a big chrome wing.

It’s a pleasing, if conservative take on a five-seat compact crossover. Inside, the Envision is unchanged aside from a few feature updates. Its seat heaters are said to work faster and it now includes an air ionizer to keep the outside world, well, out.

The Envision comes standard with an 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment that’s Apple CarPlay- and Android Auto-ready. Additionally, the automaker’s OnStar concierge and safety services are standard—albeit with a fee for services after a trial period. Major safety gear like automatic emergency braking is still on the options list, although a rearview camera, 10 airbags, park assist, and a rear-seat reminder that sounds an alarm if it thinks a child or pet might be in the back seat, are all standard. The 2018 model scored a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS and five stars overall from the NHTSA, so the 2019 model should score well in crash tests, too.

Buick hasn’t detailed specifications for the Envision, which now starts at about $34,000—roughly $2,000 less than last year. Turbo versions run about $1,500 cheaper, topping out around $44,600 for the Premium II. That’s well into Volvo XC60 territory, and we’re not totally confident that the 2019 changes will be enough to sway customers, but we’ll reserve full judgement until we’ve driven one.

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