2017 Buick Envision

HOUSTON — In our modern driving society, crossovers are the station wagons of the seventies. Fortunately for us, shape, power, and fuel efficiency have all improved since then, and you don’t get the two kids making awkward faces at you from their rear-facing back seat. I only make the station wagon comparison to say, they’re everywhere. People with or without kids, men and women of all ages and demographics, are driving crossovers.

Enter the Buick Envision. The Envision is an all-new luxury compact crossover with segment-challenging driving dynamics, advanced technology, connectivity and Buick’s trademark interior acoustics. The Envision is designed from the ground up as a global vehicle. Already in China the vehicle is wildly popular.  Introduced earlier this year, it falls somewhere on the size spectrum between the Enclave and Encore, though it’s closer to the Enclave.

The Envision, which shares the same yet thoroughly modernized platform with the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain, is everything you expect a Buick to be. Its lines are clean and simple, with its best feature being the waterfall grille. Chrome accents add a little flair and it rides on either 18- or 19-inch wheels.

Inside, more of the Buick-ness comes through with soft-touch surfaces, leather seats with contrast stitching, and dash full of shiny gadgets. The Envision’s interior features a “floating,” wraparound instrument panel that sweeps into the door panels, for a flowing, organic and inviting appearance that complements the exterior. The large center console storage bin features damped dual wing-type doors that provide easier, less-obstructed access
and allow the driver or passengers – even those in the rear – to access the storage bin without disturbing the other. With such luxury, it’s easy to see, or envision, yourself driving one!

This crossover is loaded with all the technology you expect, including a standard 8-inch Buick IntelliLink screen, as well as available OnStar with 4G LTE with a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot.

The Envision exemplifies what Buick does a best: providing a whisper-soft ride - even with the panoramic sunroof open. Whether driving through the suburbs or cruising the freeway, the ride is as pleasant as it can be from within the cabin. It’s great to just sit back, relax, and drive. Steering is easy, but don’t expect sport-like performance. When this crossover first came off the line, there weren’t too many options available.

It came outfitted with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, all-wheel drive, and the Premium trim level. For 2017, you get the additional option of a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine as the base engine, available front-wheel drive, and three lower-priced trim levels. The turbo isn’t short on power, delivering 252 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque - an excellent pairing with the standard all-wheel drive. Depending on engine type, you’ll get anywhere from 20-29 mpg.

If you’re going to drive a modern station wagon, the Envision is a good place to start.

— Kelly Foss (MyCarData)