Buick brings its Chinese-built crossover to the United States for the first time

Starting at $35,000

Crossovers are a very important part of Buick's portfolio. Right now, the Encore and Enclave represent 60 percent of the company's sales in North America. Thus, it makes sense that the company would attempt to capture the cultural crossover zeitgeist by making sure every segment is represented, and the 2016 Envision is the missing puzzle piece.

Stylistically, the Envision looks like a blend between the brand's other crossovers. Nothing too crazy here.

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Aimed to compete against crossovers like the Acura RDX, Lincoln MKC and Audi Q5, the Envision is wildly popular in China. It's already amassed over 100,000 sales and won Motor Trend's SUV of the Year award in the Middle Kingdom. When it comes to North America, it will continue to be built in Yantai, China.

As Buick spokesman Stuart Fowle explained, the Envision is, "Like a Regal without Brembo brakes." Much of the underpinnings are similar. The Envision is powered by a 252-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, mated to a six-speed automatic and standard all-wheel drive. It also sports similar efficiency features, including active grille shutters and start-stop technology.

The Envision's interior borrows a few bits of switchgear -- for example, the climate control -- from the Regal sedan.

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In keeping with the brand's focus on premium accouterments, the Envision will come with plenty of equipment. Standard safety equipment includes lane-keep assist and GM's vibrating driver's seat, which is used in lieu of annoying beeps. Other tech bits include remote start, power front seats, heated seats and steering wheel, tri-zone climate control. All Envisions will come standard with Buick's IntelliLink 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

The 2016 Buick Envision will go on sale some time in 2016, but its public unveiling is set for the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit this coming January. Buick did not release any pricing or fuel-economy information.

The Envision will be GM's first Chinese-built vehicle sold in the United States.

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