2021 Buick Envision: Let's Try This Again
A seldom-mentioned player in the compact crossover arena, the Chinese-built Buick Envision had a complicated introduction to the U.S. market, landing in the middle of the 2016 model year with only pricey uplevel trims in tow.
Buick quickly rectified the problem, adding lower-tier fare and sinking the Envision’s entry price to a more palatable level. Still, the model failed to make a big splash in a hugely competitive segment, with sales peaking in 2017, its first full year on the market. Can this second-generation model make up for a bad first impression?
Time will tell on that front, but the 2021 Envision revealed Friday certainly looks better than its predecessor (which gained a very mild styling refresh for 2019).
Said to ride on the same platform as the Cadillac XT4, the new Envision sources power from a sole 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, mated to a nine-speed automatic. Gone is the previous-gen model’s base 2.5-liter four-banger and six-speed auto.
In a bid to lend all Envisions a premium aura, Buick outfitted all trims with a healthy suite of safety aids, including automatic emergency braking, pedestrian braking, forward collision alert, following distance indicator, rear park assist, GM’s safety alert seat system, and an HD rear vision camera. Available features include blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert (GM seems incapable of making these two features standard, regardless of model), enhanced automatic parking assist, front park assist, and rear camera mirror.
A 10-inch touchscreen will be found in the new model, replacing the current CUV’s 8-inch unit.
Also joining the Envision for the first time is Buick’s lofty Avenir sub-brand, which should help boost the model’s standing among some consumers.
With a front end that shares much with the soon-to-be-dead Regal and a body whose flanks mirror that of the new Encore GX, the Envision certainly makes its brand DNA known. The previous Envision? Not so much. Out back, the L-shaped tail lights play homage to the current model.
Helen Emsley, executive director, Global Buick and GMC Design, described the model as “lower and wider, with premium proportions and striking styling designed to combine the expressiveness of a car with the practicality of an SUV.”
It appears the current-gen Envision will soldier on in China with a heavier facelift. The Envision you see here is expected to slot above that model, probably with a “GX” added to its name. While Buick adopted that same strategy in North America with the Encore and new, larger Encore GX, the brand makes no mention of pairing up the current model and this new addition.
We’re still waiting to hear back from Buick about these diverging sales strategies.
As for power specs, dimensions, and pricing, details will have to wait until later in the year. The 2021 Envision doesn’t go on sale until early next year.
[Images: General Motors]
Jeff S on Jun 02, 2020
Looks are subjective. I don’t mind the looks so much as the fact that it is a Chinese made vehicle with a premium price. The looks are not polarizing but they are nothing to write home about–meh, meh, meh. Most of today’s vehicles have blah styling and are offered in blah colors. Reminds me of the song “Little Boxes” all are ticky tacky like. Not offensive but you could put a Kia name or a BMW/Mercedes name on them at it is hard to tell the difference.
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