By on May 29, 2020

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]

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67 Comments on “2021 Buick Envision: Let’s Try This Again...”


  • avatar

    besides what appears to be side body damage, an ugly front end resembling an Asian Carp, and only half a grill, the larger concern and deal breaker is Chinese production.

    Stop the Invasion, Boycott Envision!

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      I actually think it looks pretty good for what it is. Also, I am and always have been a pretty firm believer in having my cars and other goods built by people who can lose their jobs if they do $hitty work as I am sure would be the case in China. Not really all that confidence inspiring when an auto worker can come to work high and drunk and get continuous pay raises/bonuses just for showing up despite any performance issues especially when we are talking about something you hurl down the freeway at 80 mph with your family inside along side a bunch of other people who may or may not be suited to duties behind the wheel. Those missing screws, bolts and welds can really matter.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        Wow dude that was cold. Not saying I’m disagreeing, but man.

        Cars and car parts have been built in China for some time. Do you know of any studies comparing quality to that of the same vehicles made in North America?

        You can buy crap audio made in China, but you can also buy some really good, high end gear at reasonable prices. Just depends on who’s making it and the level of QC.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Yeah, given the current state of the world I’m sure it being a Chinese import will have no effect on it when there are a plethora of equally and better options available elsewhere that are built in nations that didn’t try to cover up the fact that they made the planet sick and aren’t lying commies cut from the mold of the USSR. But hey, they work for cheap and the UAW sucks, right? Whatever, hard pass.

        • 0 avatar
          phxmotor

          They are hardly cut from the same cloth as the USSR. Dude wake up to nonfoc”news” reality. It’s called state capitalism. Communism is just a word to keep the nonidustrializednon industrialize masses in China compliant. Nothing in China is communist any more. It ain’t our form of capitalism though. The rich don’t get to export jobs and factories as is just fine in our country.
          Wake up. They are not our enemy unless you make them our enemy. They didn’t steal the factories. Our American rich stole them from American workers. So who’s really at fault? Come on now. Wake up.
          BTW I’m not some blending heart liberal. Far from it.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            I didn’t know being a realist was thought to be equivalent to a “blending” heart liberal, but ok

          • 0 avatar
            bd2

            No country was ever truly “communist” (they all had their privileged class) and these days, the PRC is more of a Fascist state (same as Russia) where govt. and business interests are intertwined w/ businesses having to heed the dictates of the oligarch (something that the Orange Clown is trying to copy).

            Walmart spearheaded the mass movement of manufacturing to China.

            The result was that it grew the Chinese middle class (while depleting the American middle class) and made billionaires and millionaires out of a growing # of individuals (this alone, shows that its the masses that create immense wealth for the few and not that they are the “job creators”).

            All while enabling the Chinese military to become an increasing threat, resulting in the PRC throwing its weight around the region and beyond.

      • 0 avatar

        thegamper…dumbest post I’ve read here in years.

        • 0 avatar
          thegamper

          Is it because the UAW is known for their complete dedication to their employer and end product? Or maybe because UAW workers would never sabotage production lines like was “rumored” with the new Explorer/Aviator launch?

          Just sayin, its a bad environment for quality. I admit it is a generalization, but I have met literally thousands of UAW workers and know that there are plenty of rank and file that give zero #ucks because they don’t have to and will never be removed from their position. On the flip side of that coin, I also know there are plenty of people doing a fine job. Still doesn’t change the fact that it is not a great environment for quality when accountability is not in your job description.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        @Gamper, Your generalization is based on incorrect assumptions. The Oshawa GM plant won numerous quality awards for years. Yet despite assembling vehicles with outstanding build quality it was still closed down.

        Auto workers generally have to pass an extended probationary period before they are afforded union ‘protection’. Even then a unionized worked can be dismissed, if HR/management does its job and documents the ongoing problems. There are great many of these cases posted in accessible websites addressing employment and human resources issues.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      You’ll sell everyone that you can to make a buck!

      • 0 avatar

        I’ve never sold one and have shifted hundreds of clients away from it.

        crawl back under your rock.

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          Buickman, we just purchased a brand new 2018 Cadillac CT6E with 500 miles on it made in…Chi-Na!(with a thick Trump accent)

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            A “brand new 2018”? Wow, Cadillac is in worse shape then I thought selling 2-year old cars as “brand new”

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            It was sitting in garage at head quarters as a program car that never made it to the GM executive. It had 300 miles when the dealership received it. At half price who cares what year it is!

            Being that it was purchased end of March 2020 untitled it was applicable for what was left of the Federal tax credit that ended days later.

    • 0 avatar
      Daniel J

      I test drove the current generation in the 2.0T Premium II trim.

      It really is a nice CUV. Its actually much nicer than the Caddy XT4. The problem I have, is why would I buy this over a Mazda CX-5 Reserve or Signature at a much less price? Why does it take they highest trim just to get features that are standard on other vehicles?

      • 0 avatar
        backtees

        Can’t compare Apple v Apple on the safety features vs a cx5 but
        the Envision I had as a loaner few years back was one of the most comfortable rides I have experienced. Seats rival Volvo. Overpriced with potential spotty quality is a turn off but may be a great depreciation bomb purchase 2-3 years out.

    • 0 avatar
      CKNSLS Sierra SLT

      Buickman-we get it. You don’t like products made in China. But never the less you own them in various forms and are oblivious to this fact (maybe).

      As far as the creases in the side sheet metal-there are some really sharp ones on Hyundai, Toyotas and others.

      Vehicles manufactures are creasing sheet metal this way because technology has made it possible.

    • 0 avatar
      phxmotor

      Boycott this nvasion? Hahahaha you see kiddng … right?
      Dude… the invasion started 18 years ago. Take apart any 2002 or newer American made Buick. 34% of the parts are from China.
      Invasion? It’s already being done.
      Deal beaker? Why? The Chinese parts are better built.
      Ask me how I know.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      “what appears to be side body damage”

      Hey, she did say “striking styling”! (as in “to hit forcibly and deliberately”)

      :-)

    • 0 avatar
      texasjack

      Tell Mazda someone is stealing their designs.

  • avatar
    SSJeep

    Given that GM was appropriately slapped with a 25% tariff on the China-made Envision, it made sense to launch a new version that does not rely on the Shanghai SAIC factory for production. GM should drop the Envision name as the damage is already done though. Consumers in the US will continue to associate the name with China production and poor reliability even when the manufacturing location changes.

    • 0 avatar

      Envasion

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        And sales increased 3,000 units year over year for the Envision. And that was with increases or steady sales in Equinox and Terrain along with introduction of same platform XT4. Somebody likes them more than the decline of the Acura RDX.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          Buick Envision Sales Figures – By Year
          Year sold
          2016 14,193
          2017 41,040
          2018 30,153
          2019 33,230
          2020 6,933

          https://www.goodcarbadcar.net/usa-canada-buick-envision-sales-stats-monthly-yearly/

          Not THAT great :(

          • 0 avatar
            SSJeep

            GM could probably triple those numbers by manufacturing the Envision elsewhere and advertising it as such.

            Id also be curious as to where exactly those sales came from. Were they wholesale to rental car companies, or consumer (higher margin) purchases?

            For a while, GM was replacing other model buybacks with Envisions. Does that also count as a “sale”?

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            The 2017 Envisions sales were rising until the platform sharing and same sized Equinox and Terrain were redesigned that also offer 2.0T engine option. And now Cadillac XT4 is here too.

            Combined the platforms and GM Delta ll platform is one the largest in the segment in sales.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Most people who would buy the Envision have no idea that it is made in China. The new Envision looks good but I don’t want to buy anymore Chinese made products than I have to. Seems most of the electronics, clothes, and small appliances are made in China. Even outdoor power equipment is being made in China.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Plenty of electronics made in places like Japan and South Korea. My Computer is pretty much all Taiwanese inside. Granted, I’d prefer American but at least those nations are democratic. It is a myth that you have to buy Chinese stuff, though you will spend more, but sadly you can’t always buy American no matter what you have to spend.

    • 0 avatar

      I know people who learned after delivery it was made in China. the look on their faces is one of displeasure and embarrassment.

      • 0 avatar
        RHD

        The country of assembly information is on the Monroney sticker. Most likely the salesman directs the customer’s attention elsewhere. Since it’s labeled a Buick, being sold by GM, it’s safe to assume that it must be American, right?

        Some sellers, Amazon in particular, never make the country of origin known to the buyer. That information should be included in EVERY listing.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “but I don’t want to buy anymore Chinese made products than I have to.”

      That’s where I’m at. I understand there is basically no way that I could avoid Chinese-built products 100% of the time, but I’m certainly going to do anything I can do to stay away.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Definitely not a flop like the Lexus UX.

    “…Buick Envision sales during the fourth quarter of 2019 were overtaken by a German rival – the Audi Q3, which is an all-new model that is now coming into the prime of its launch cadence. Leading the pack are the Lexus NX in first place and Acura RDX in second, followed by the aforementioned Audi Q3 in third and the Envision’s corporate cousin – the Cadillac XT4 (see Cadillac XT4 sales) in fourth. The Envision followed the XT4 in fifth place in its competitive set.

    The Envision managed to outsell the rest of its competitors, including the BMW X1 and X2, the all-new 2020 Lincoln Corsair, which replaces the now-discontinued Lincoln MKC, as well as the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, Volvo XC40, and Infiniti QX30…”

    https://gmauthority.com/blog/2020/03/buick-envision-sales-numbers-figures-results-fourth-quarter-2019-q4/

  • avatar
    marc

    An absolute counterpoint to yesterday’s Acura TLX. Though any enthusiast should naturally gravitate to the TLX, and while this may or may not be anyone here’s cup of tea, it is right on the mark. just money.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    “2021 Buick Envision: Let’s Try This Again”

    Why?

    • 0 avatar

      bu hao

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Envision sales were up about 3,000 units over previous year. Maybe TTAC needs Tim back for what is selling and what is not.

      Looks like Baruth’s Buick Deathwatch is over…

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Not really (see my post above)

        Buick Envision Sales Figures – By Year
        Year sold
        2016 14,193
        2017 41,040
        2018 30,153
        2019 33,230
        2020 6,933

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          How can Lexus RX decrease in a hot sales segment in 2019?

          The 2017 Envisions sales were rising until the platform sharing and same sized Equinox and Terrain were redesigned that also offer 2.0T engine option. And now Cadillac XT4 is here too.

          Combined the platforms and GM Delta ll platform is one the largest in the segment in sales.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Final assembly in China really doesn’t matter that much. The industry’s (and the world’s) real China problem is the number of components that can no longer be manufactured anywhere else because the Pearl River Delta region has become an electronics manufacturing monopoly. You’ll find those components in any car no matter where it is put together.

    That problem is not one you can expect even a company as big as a car company to address on its own. It’s a strategic policy matter that non-China-aligned governments need to solve.

  • avatar
    redapple

    I try to avoid China made things. I would NEVER look at a China made vehicle. China is evil. They are a threat to the western world.

    – belt and road policy
    – spralty islands.
    – during the height of the China Plague, flights out of Wuhan to other china cities were banned. flights out of Wuhan to the world went unfettered. Intent = SPREAD IT TO THE outside WORLD SO THEIR ECONOMIES CRUMBLE AND NOT GET AHEAD OF CHINA.
    – China Plague was made in a lab. It got out. Protein strings are too mutated to happen naturally.
    – Copy and copyright violations.
    – China student spies sent to USA for deep cover theft from universities.

    The have 100 Million spare – extra military age men. (more men than women.) They are eager for war.

    Putting a nickel in China’s pocket is a contribution to YOUR destruction.

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    redapple-

    China Plague was made in a lab. It got out. Protein strings are too mutated to happen naturally.
    This (above) statement has never been conclusively proven.

    I love the keyboard warrior epidemiologists that have come out of the woodwork during this COVID thing.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    China keeps the previous generation. So where is this generation assembled? Weren’t the engines for the previous generation Equinox also assembled or manufactured in China?

    Personally I have resisted purchasing Chinese manufactured products since they became common. Perhaps costing myself considerable money, but perhaps not if what I purchased from other nations proved more reliable/robust.

    Also refuse to purchase fruit, vegetables and processed food, and dog treats from China. Pay more for local produce in season. But you must be extra careful and closely read the labels or stickers.

    China is controlled by a regime that does not follow international rules. Industrial espionage, hacking attacks, building of fortified islands, illegal incarceration of dissidents, suppression of an independent press or judiciary.

    Unfortunately capitalism is based solely on profit. And unless governments interfere in the free market, China is currently the least expensive/most efficient producer of many essential products. And multi-national corporations want access to the Chinese market and manufacturing/distribution facilities.

    Unless consumers close their wallets to Chinese products and are willing to pay more, or they elect politicians who do not worship at the altar of the free market, or they eliminate corporate lobbying including SuperPacs, then the Chinese will win this economic war.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      @Arthur Dailey, no, a free market economy is not based solely on profit. It also depends on private property, free enterprise, and a consistent legal system.

      There have already been instances of companies who tried to relocate their production out of China, but were unable to move the equipment they bought and paid for, the government claiming it’s part of the physical plant that stays behind.

      The failure of China to respect intellectual property, and now investment in machinery, along with a shaky legal system subject to government changing the rules without notice, makes a free market/free enterprise system untenable. There’s no profit in having your business confiscated.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Real Buicks are made in Flint, Michigan:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buick_City

    (Winner of J. D. Power’s Platinum Award for assembly plant quality in 1999. Plant was closed… in 1999.)

  • avatar
    stuki

    I like the way it looks, as far as a CUV goes. Like Chris Bangle’s personal Mazda…

    If only it wasn’t so pointlessly tall…..

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    An interior pic or two would have been nice. Growing up so long ago, anything made in Japan was considered junk. Then ditto for Korea. Then China. The truth is they’ve all made quality items as well. I’ll buy quality regardless of where it’s made. When we bought my daughter’s Rogue a few months ago, a “J” VIN was our preference over a “K” or a “1”.

  • avatar
    80Cadillac

    This is a terrible-looking car. Nose overhang is too long/high, rear overhang too short, wheels too large, doors appear to be pre-damaged. It’s indistinguishable from a Mazda or a Nissan Rogue, but somehow worse.
    Why does GM try to copy Toyota/Lexus on their terrible front bumper covers?! This is not a car that a gentleman (or woman) would drive or aspire to own. And yet another 2.0 turbo, with too many gears in the transmission to make any sense. Fake blackouts on the C-pillar, with a tiny rear window. This car looks so bad, it really makes me mad. The ubiquitous visor over the rear window is especially poorly executed here.
    This car is so badly wrought that it is actually offensive.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    “Personally I have resisted purchasing Chinese manufactured products since they became common. Perhaps costing myself considerable money, but perhaps not if what I purchased from other nations proved more reliable/robust.”

    Disagree, you might have saved yourself considerable money not having to buy several replacement items instead of one good product that will last. Don’t assume that something cheaper will save you money when it doesn’t last.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      I’ve been getting into 3D printing lately. Sure, every part of the printer was from the Shenzen, but I’ve been able to crank out small plastic items that I normally would have bought from Chinese companies. My daughter now searches a site called thingiverse.com when she needs something and sends me a link. You can also modify the designs. I’m working on some of my own designs. Like custom cases for the field programmable gate array systems I use. There’s even some cool stuff like model transmissions. You also have control over the quality of the item, but it does take some skill.

      It’s not for everything you buy yet and it isn’t always easy to learn to do, but it’s a way for the average person to do something small to combat chinese manufacturers.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    huge tariff increases will put the end of these

    Buick is a dead brand, they are what GEO was, a bunch of junk under a marketing label to disguise its origin

    GM’s plan was to close US factories and import Chinese commerce w/ US names – and now it looks like that was a bad bet

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Now we get to see if Mary Barra has a Plan B. GM could lose it all in China, with Chinese troops moving to the border with India, a high-ranking official bringing up military action to “prevent” Taiwan from being “independent”, and further moves against Hong Kong on the way.

      The situation could get hot in a hurry if somebody miscalculates, and it won’t just be Buicks exported from China getting scarce, but automotive parts used by multiple automakers, not just GM. The parts problem will be irrelevant if the flash point is with India, a nuclear power.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Honda is already on it..and they’ll save 20% the production cost of assembling RDX’s in China.

      The new Chinese-made Acura RDX will be produced by Guangzhou Automobile Group and Dongfeng Motor Group located southeastern China.

      Production of the new RDX started late summer at the Guangzhou Automobile plant. Previous versions of the car sold in China were imported from the US, a blow to Acura’s manufacturing facilities stateside that could experience a tremendous slowdown in production.  Zerohedge

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @Lorenzo–My nephew who is retired from the Coast Guard is concerned about the very things you mentioned. I doubt we will get in an all out war with China but we will end up sending more of our naval fleet to the area. We need to become less dependent on China for our manufacturing. Under Barra’s leadership GM has been declining rapidly and as for Buick it only exists for the Chinese market otherwise it is a dead brand in the US that sells 3 crossovers.

  • avatar
    teddyc73

    BUICK: Hi Mazda. Buick here, hey guys…question. Can we use your CX-5 tailgate on our new Envision?
    MAZDA: Hey Buick. Um, sure, go ahead.
    BUICK: Thanks!
    MAZDA: Before you go, you still have that loon Buickman working for you?
    BUICK: Don’t remind us. That dude has issues. He spells “invasion” with an ‘E’.
    MAZDA and BUICK: hahahahhahahahaha

  • avatar
    teddyc73

    There is the now ubiquitous trapezoid around the license plate. That shape is now on the vast majority of SUVs and crossovers on the market right now. It’s stunning how designers from every automaker are using that same detail. Even adding it to older models in mid-cycle refreshes. And it’s hideous!

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    A suggestion for a new name if the Envision is made in Mexico–the Buick Evasion. Avoid the tariffs and the costly union labor buy an Evasion.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    Thing looks like Eeyore from the front, one of those squashed-roof Mercedes lease-special mini CUVs from the side, and…REALLY good in the rear three-quarter view. Back dat azz up.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    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.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    Shame..the last one was actually decent looking!

    This is just another fugly blob!

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