Straight Outta China, the 2019 Buick Envision Undergoes a Makeover

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
straight outta china the 2019 buick envision undergoes a makeover

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]

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5 of 18 comments
  • 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!

  • Jeanbaptiste Any variant of “pizza” flavored combos. I only eat these on car trips and they are just my special gut wrenching treat.
  • Nrd515 Usually for me it's been Arby's for pretty much forever, except when the one near my house dosed me with food poisoning twice in about a year. Both times were horrible, but the second time was just so terrible it's up near the top of my medical horror stories, and I have a few of those. Obviously, I never went to that one again. I'm still pissed at Arby's for dropping Potato Cakes, and Culver's is truly better anyway. It will be Arby's fish for my "cheat day", when I eat what I want. No tartar sauce and no lettuce on mine, please. And if I get a fish and a French Dip & Swiss? Keep the Swiss, and the dip, too salty. Just the meat and the bread for me, thanks. The odds are about 25% that they will screw one or both of them up and I will have to drive through again to get replacement sandwiches. Culver's seems to get my order right many times in a row, but if I hurry and don't check my order, that's when it's screwed up and garbage to me. My best friend lives on Starbucks coffee. I don't understand coffee's appeal at all. Both my sister and I hate anything it's in. It's like green peppers, they ruin everything they touch. About the only things I hate more than coffee are most condiments, ranked from most hated to..who cares..[list=1][*]Tartar sauce. Just thinking about it makes me smell it in my head. A nod to Ranch here too. Disgusting. [/*][*]Mayo. JEEEEZUS! WTF?[/*][*]Ketchup. Sweet puke tasting sludge. On my fries? Salt. [/*][*]Mustard. Yikes. Brown, yellow, whatever, it's just awful.[/*][*]Pickles. Just ruin it from the pickle juice. No. [/*][*]Horsey, Secret, whatever sauce. Gross. [/*][*]American Cheese. American Sleeze. Any cheese, I don't want it.[/*][*]Shredded lettuce. I don't hate it, but it's warm and what's the point?[/*][*]Raw onion. Totally OK, but not something I really want. Grilled onions is a whole nother thing, I WANT those on a burger.[/*][*]Any of that "juice" that Subway and other sandwich places want to put on. NO, HELL NO! Actually, move this up to #5. [/*][/list=1]
  • SPPPP It seems like a really nice car that's just still trying to find its customer.
  • MRF 95 T-Bird I owned an 87 Thunderbird aka the second generation aero bird. It was a fine driving comfortable and very reliable car. Quite underrated compared to the GM G-body mid sized coupes since unlike them they had rack and pinion steering and struts on all four wheels plus fuel injection which GM was a bit late to the game on their mid and full sized cars. When I sold it I considered a Mark VII LSC which like many had its trouble prone air suspension deleted and replaced with coils and struts. Instead I went for a MN-12 Thunderbird.
  • SCE to AUX Somebody got the bill of material mixed up and never caught it.Maybe the stud was for a different version (like the 4xe) which might use a different fuel tank.