By on February 23, 2018

Image: GM China

As the first Chinese-built vehicle offered domestically by an American manufacturer, the Buick Envision didn’t do itself any favors by launching as a truncated 2016 model year vehicle available only in uplevel trims. Its entry price shrunk as 2017s arrived, and sales rose accordingly, though not to the levels enjoyed by less-premium compact GM crossovers.

Still, the Envision fulfills a vital role at Buick, and the automaker shows no sign of second thoughts. To keep things fresh, the Envision undergoes a significant refresh for the 2019 model year.

While the updated Envision is already on sale in China, American buyers will have to wait until April. Official U.S. details remain scarce, but it’s expected that the existing engines — a 2.5-liter four-cylinder and turbocharged 2.0-liter — carry over unchanged, with a nine-speed automatic joining the spec sheet.

According to Automotive News, buyers of the 2019 model can switch off the vehicle’s start/stop system, should they desire to do so.

Image: GM China

The most obvious difference between new and old is the corporate waterfall grille, flanked by headlights that offer available LED illumination. No one’s going to lose their minds over a slightly remolded lower fascia, but the foglights now feature chrome trim that, to be frank, looks less chintzy.

Out back, the liftgate, taillights, and fascia see a heavy reworking, making the Envision look less pedestrian when viewed from behind. Like the changes made to the front, these tweaks move the vehicle’s appearance every so slightly upmarket — an identity helped by new rectangular exhausts ringed in chrome. (See the previous model below for comparison.)

Buick sold 41,040 Envisions in 2017, making it the brand’s third-best-selling vehicle. While that’s less volume than some premium compact crossovers (not that the Envision fully belongs in that segment), it’s better than others. Consider that Acura moved 35,487 RDX crossovers last year, while Lincoln sold 27,000 MKCs.

Look elsewhere in the GM lineup and it’s a different story. The mass-market-focused Chevrolet Equinox, which started 2017 with new powertrains and a smaller, redesigned body, sold over 290,000 units in 2017. Still, it’s safe to say the Envision, while not the most well-received model in TTAC’s history, performed in the manner Buick intended.

Envision sales rose 13.7 percent, year over year, in January.

[Image: General Motors China]

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