2017 Buick Envision offers comfort, tech without massive price
Lets say you're in the market for a crossover.
Lets say you also want something a bit fancier then your average plastic-fantastic mall crawler.
But you don't wanna break the bank.
There are a handful of premium tiered crossovers available.
But now there is a new one.
This is the 2017 Buick Envision, and it's meant for the family that has some, but not a ton, of coin to drop.
It's loaded with technology, and it provides a softer, more pleasurable driving experience through suburbia than many of its competitors.
There are a few peccadilloes which I'll explain later, but let's get one thing out of the way first.
Yes, it's built in China so it is half the crap in your house.
I can assure you after spending time in the Envision that, it's not made of wet tissue paper.
In fact, the same build quality that's in the other Buick which is largely a good thing.
The Envision started life with the Chinese market vehicle, as well.
Of course, it would be built there.
That makes sense right?
Okay, on with the show.
Driving the Envision is quite nice.
Buick did a great job with its interior noise mitigation.
The drive is nearly Lexus levels of quiet, which is actually high praise.
And generally, interior's well laid out, it's easy to access everything, and it feels positively premium.
Color me pleasantly surprised.
Speaking of pleasant surprises, let's talk about the engine This Envision features the higher output 2.0 liter turbo four cylinder.
With 252 horsepower and 260 pound feet of torque on tap, acceleration arrives in spades, especially when it's mated with the optional all wheel drive system.
The transmission, on the other hand, is largely invisible, doing its job without making a big deal of it.
The suspension smooths out over bumps and doesn't pretend to be a stiff mess hopping about the road like some German crossover with rocks for dampers.
It's actually one of the smoother rides in it's segment.
And forward thrusts aside, the Envision should absolutely appeal to buyers both new and old.
That being said, most of my issues with the 2017 Envision actually revolve around it's attempts to appeal to buyers of all shapes and sizes.
As technology makes it's way into every vehicle, Buick is making an earnest attempt to capture younger buyers' attention.
But there are still touches of the vintage Buick that appeal to the old cars.
For example, there is a nice but generally unreadable analog clock, and approximately one inch to its left is.
A digital clock?
What do you know.
Totally need both.
Just beneath that there's a touch pad that lets you change the temperature and heat or cool the seats.
The design is nice and the touch pad element is clever, but in practice it's pretty distracting.
It's hard to actually use without taking your full attention off the road, if the touch pad even works when you tap it The most hilarious vestige of Buick's appeal to old school buyers is the turn signal.
The turn signal is loud enough to serve as a metronome for in-car a capella and the side markers are bright enough to guide wayward ships back to land.
At night, it's honestly pretty distracting, even if the goal is to prevent you from leaving the turn signal on for five days straight.
Since it's a GM product, the Envision is positively lousy with tech.
Our tester comes standard with a whole bunch of kit including lane keep assist, Ford collision warning.
Rear parking sensors.
Teen driver mode.
And a neat little system that gauges your following distance to the next car.
Buick Mylink lives inside the eight inch infotainment touch screen.
It includes Applecar Play, Android auto, and GM's always excellent 4G LTE WiFi Hotspot which requires a subscription after a trail period.
The infotainment screen is suitably snappy with major functions on a quick access dock across the top of the screen.
Navigation inputs can be done with both voice and touch.
There's also a secondary information display taking up most of the gauge cluster.
You get a traditional speedometer, but it's digital, and you can cycle between different pieces of information to live inside the middle of that Pixel circle thingiemajigger.
Out tester also included a color head up display which was bright and easy to manipulate using the three rocker switches to the left of the steering wheel.
The EPA estimates the Envision's fuel economy at 20 MPG city and 26 MPG highway.
The turbo motor loves to rev, so it'll be a constant battle to forward thrust and any semblance of thrift.
If you fancy a light foot, though, you should meet and beat the EPA numbers with ease.
Competitors abound, from Germany to Japan.
It rides softer than the BMW X3.
It's complementive tech is better than the Acura RDX and it's significantly less expensive than the comparatively equipped Mercedes Benz GLC class.
I hate to roll out the tired old Goldilocks analogy, so I won't, but you know what I'm getting at.
The price leaves a lot to be desired though.
While the Envision starts around $35,000, this tester is the fully loaded premium II model, which runs a shade under 50 grand out the door.
[SOUND] You can't even get the two liter engine without spending 43 at the minimum.
But that's the trim I'd recommend.
Going for Premium over Premium 2 means you lose ventilated seats, the head up display, navigation system, HID headlights, and automatic high beams.
But you save about $2,600 in doing so.
I would also cut out the $1,500 panoramic moon roof, cuz it cuts into your headroom a bit.
While Apple CarPlay and Android are standard with the non-navigational infotainment system, it costs just us about $500 bucks to add it to the premium trim, which is what I would recommend.
But, then again, Apple Naps has never really been my favorite.
You can add the $1500 dollar package that includes adaptive cruise control and autonomous emergency braking if you want a little bit of extra safety, but I wouldn't necessarily call that mandatory.
That leaves you with a comfortable family hauler for just under $44,000 before taxes and all of that good stuff.
The two row crossover segment has been thick for some time.
So you'd be forgiven for assuming the Envision might not have a place to call its own.
But the envision carves out its own little niche quite nicely, with the focus on comfort and tech.
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