Straight Outta China, the 2019 Buick Envision Undergoes a Makeover

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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.

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]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Buickman Buickman on Feb 23, 2018

    we send Enclave to China, they add 30% while allowing their production here for free. Stop the Invasion - Boycott Envision.

    • See 1 previous
    • Threeer Threeer on Feb 26, 2018

      Buickman, don't forget the forced JV if we decide to build product there and the "sharing" of technological know-how (or just outright theft, if not willingly handed over). But let's keep believing that trade with China is fair and that $300B year over year in trade deficits are a good thing as long as the consumer can by something on the cheap. I believe the economic imbalance and resulting debt obligation to China is a far, far bigger threat to America than Iran and Russia combined. But I apparently am in the minority, as I suspect most consumers simply don't care where their goods are made.

  • Superdessucke Superdessucke on Feb 23, 2018

    Can't imagine good Americans buying a Chinese Buick. WTF?

    • Sgeffe Sgeffe on Feb 24, 2018

      The shame of it is that it’s not a bad looking car! But I sat in one at the auto show a couple weeks ago. YUK!

  • ToolGuy Personally I have no idea what anyone in this video is talking about, perhaps someone can explain it to me.
  • ToolGuy Friendly reminder of two indisputable facts: A) Winners buy new vehicles (only losers buy used), and B) New vehicle buyers are geniuses (their vehicle choices prove it):
  • Groza George Stellantis live off the back of cheap V8 cars with old technology and suffers from lack of new product development. Now that regulations killed this market, they have to ditch the outdated overhead.They are not ready to face the tsunami of cheap Chinese EVs or ready to even go hybrid and will be left in the dust. I expect most of their US offerings to be made in Mexico in the future for good tariff protection and lower costs of labor instead of overpriced and inflexible union labor.
  • MaintenanceCosts This is delaying an oil change for my Highlander by a couple of weeks, as it prevented me from getting an appointment before a business trip out of town. Oh well, much worse things have happened.I also just got a dealership oil change for my BMW (thanks, loss-leader prepaid plans!) and this didn't seem to affect them at all.
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X Gonna need more EV fuel.