2020 Buick Envision

2020 Buick Envision Review: Affordable Luxury

by Aiden Eksteen

If you're looking to compete against the BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class, you're going to have to pull off something special. Sadly for the Buick Envision, this isn't the case, blending with the crowd and doing little to stand out. That's not to say it isn't a good package; with a smooth ride and decent driving dynamics, there's much to enjoy. In true GM form, the Envision is loaded with infotainment features and develops impressive gas mileage estimates from either of its two engine options. Shoppers get the choice of a base 2.5-liter or an optional 2.0-liter turbo, the latter churning out 252 horsepower and paired with all-wheel-drive and a locking rear differential. Is that enough to secure the Buick a spot in the garages of hundreds of thousands of Americans, though?

2020 Buick Envision Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2019 Envision?

Buick hasn't made any significant alterations to the Envision for the 2020 model year, only deleting the previously available Galaxy Silver and Bronze Alloy paint colors from the exterior color palette and replacing them with Espresso and Dark Moon Blue hues. It's otherwise business as usual for the Buick Envision.

Pros and Cons

  • Peppy turbo-four engine
  • Compliant and comfortable ride quality
  • Commodious and refined cabin
  • Packed with features as standard
  • Comprehensive infotainment system
  • Mundane drive and handling dynamics
  • Unimpressive fuel economy figures
  • Unattractive bug-like exterior design
  • Low-quality touchscreen visuals

2020 Buick Envision Trims

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
1SV
2.5-liter Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$31,995
Preferred
2.5-liter Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$33,500
Essence
2.5-liter Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$35,800
Premium
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$40,700
Premium II
2.0-liter Inline-4 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$43,600

Envision Exterior

The Buick Envision doesn't offer mindblowing styling; its appearance and silhouette are almost aphid-like because of its rounded hood, which wears large headlights on either side of Buick's fairly nondescript grille, which is underscored by a slim trapezoidal air intake. 18-inch alloy wheels prop up the 1SV, Preferred, and Essence, although the latter to are painted silver and boast a ten-spoke design. All trims are fitted with auto on/off HID projector-beam headlights, LED DRLs, fog lights, LED taillamps, and with a hands-free power liftgate. The Premium and Premium II ride atop 19-inch 12-spoke alloy wheels and feature bi-LED headlights.

2020 Buick Envision Front View Buick
2020 Buick Envision Rear View Buick
2020 Buick Envision Right Side View Buick
See All 2020 Buick Envision Exterior Photos

Dimensions

While the Envision does classify as a compact luxury SUV, it generally measures a little shorter than its main rivals. In comparison with the BMW X3, the Envision's overall body length of 183.7 inches makes it less lengthy than the X3, and its 108.3-inch wheelbase is quite a bit shorter. An overall height of 66.8 inches has the Envision stand 0.8 inches taller than the X3, and its width of 72.4 inches makes it two inches narrower. Curb weights range from 3,755 lbs to 4,083 lbs within the Envision lineup, making the Envision, on average, lighter than most other vehicles in the class.

  • Length 183.7 in
  • Wheelbase 108.3 in
  • Height 66.8 in
  • Max Width 72.4 in
  • Front Width 62.0 in
  • Rear Width 62.0 in

Exterior Colors

While the Envision 1SV trim is solely available in the standard exterior color Summit White, all the other trims have availability to five other extra-cost metallic colors. Those include Chili Red, Ebony Twilight, Satin Steel, Espresso, and Dark Moon Blue Metallic, all of which carry an additional cost of $495. Either the Satin Steel or Dark Moon Blue fit the Envision's aesthetic, both enhancing the Envision's chrome exterior accents. Only the top-of-the-line Premium II can pull-off the Chili Red or Ebony Twilight because of its chrome front and rear trim, which simply complement the hues in just the right way.

Envision Performance

Many manufacturers accord their compact crossover SUVs with some level of sportiness - this is especially evident in the BMW X3 and Audi Q5, for example. Buick, on the other hand, has placed almost all of its emphasis on the Envision's ride quality, aiming for a consummate level of comfort above all else. That's not to say that the Envision is extraordinarily slow; if anything, it's sensibly pragmatic in getting up to speed. It'll take around seven seconds for the Envision to move from 0-60 mph with either of the powertrains, according to independent tests, with the turbocharged engine's extra grunt offset by the addition of all-wheel-drive in place of the standard FWD system. The 2.0-liter turbo-four will, of course, be the superior performing engine out in the real world, giving the Envision greater consistency in its power delivery. However, rivals are still vastly sportier, and if you're looking for something a little more thrilling in the performance category, both the BMW X3 and the Audi Q5 would be better alternatives, with the X3 completing the 0-60 mph sprint in six seconds flat, and the Q5 in just under six seconds. With the optional trailer hitch fitted, the Envision is afforded a maximum towing capacity of 1,500 lbs, but both the X3 and the Q5 squash the Envision here too, offering up to a 4,400-pound maximum towing capacity.

2020 Buick Envision Front Angle View Buick
2020 Buick Envision Rear Angle View Buick
2020 Buick Envision Wheel Buick

Engine and Transmission

There are two unique powertrains offered within the Envision lineup - the base motor comprises a naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder that's mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox for outputs of 197 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque. Those outputs are sent to a front-wheel-drivetrain as standard, or optionally to an available all-wheel-drivetrain for the Preferred and Essence trims. The Premium and Premium II trims are equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-banger that's coupled to a nine-speed automatic gearbox for outputs of 252 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, which are, in this case, delivered exclusively to a standard all-wheel-drivetrain.

The 2.5-liter flat-four and six-speed auto make for a competent pairing in the Envision; acceleration is gradual and power delivery nothing more than adequate for motoring the Envision around town, though getting up to highway speeds can be a rather unenthusiastic endeavor. The Envision drives best with the turbo-four and nine-speed auto though, with more power and torque at hand, acceleration off-the-line and getting up to highway speeds is much easier, while overtaking is a swift affair. The nine-speed auto is slick shifting and delivers intuitive downshifts when required, which is not often thanks to the engine's oodles of torque.

  • Engines
    2.0-liter Inline-4 Gas, 2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas, 2.5-liter Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmissions
    6-Speed Automatic, 9-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

In terms of ride quality, the Buick Envision is at the front of its class - in fact, it's utterly about comfort and solitude. It's here where Buick's decision to prioritize ride quality over performance has resulted in something that just makes so much sense, especially within a class that's flooded with "sportified" SUVs. Its softly-tuned suspension smooths over road imperfections and absorbs undulations nearly imperceptibly, which along with its supple chassis keeps the cabin almost completely isolated of reverberations. This doesn't mean that the Envision falters when slung through a bend at speed, but it actually handles most scenarios with an adequate level of composure. Obviously, both the BMW X3 and the Audi Q5 will deliver a far more driver-oriented experience with greater performance capability and handling poise, but there are very few rivals that match up to the Envision in the terms of its focus on comfort over all else.

Cabin noise insulation levels are exceptional too, no engine or outside noises infiltrate the cabin even at highway speeds. Steering in the Envision is a little vague but isn't nearly as light or unengaging as a few other compact SUVs in the class. Its brake pedal is firm and delivers reassuring responses and levels of stopping power.

Envision Gas Mileage

Gas mileage returns from the Buick Envision are decent but are not the best in the segment. With the base 2.5-liter engine, six-speed automatic, and FWD system, the Envision returns figures of 22/29/25 mpg city/highway/combined. With the AWD system equipped, those figures drop to 21/27/24 mpg on those same cycles. The Premium trims, with the 2.0-liter turbo-four, nine-speed auto, and AWD system return figures of 20/25/22 mpg. While the Envision's highway performance isn't too bad, the BMW X3's gas mileage figures are simply more consistent throughout, with RWD-equipped trims returning 25/29/27 mpg and AWD trims returning 24/29/26 mpg. The Envision's 17.3-gallon gas tank, when topped up, will avail the FWD trims of the Envision with a range of around 432 miles before running empty.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    17.3 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 22/29 mpg
* 2020 Buick Envision 1SV FWD

Envision Interior

The cabin of the Buick Envision is not quite as exquisite or as premium as either the BMW X3's or the Audi Q5's, but it's pleasant nonetheless and comprised of a well-blended mix of both high-quality soft-touch and lower-grade hard-touch materials. The layout of the driver's controls, infotainment buttons, and AC controls are ergonomic and easy to gauge, but the buttons themselves are somewhat tacky and chunky. The seats, which come standard with heating and eight-way power-adjustability from the base level, offer exceptional all-day comfort and adequate levels of support. The cloth/leatherette seating upholstery in the base trim is suitable, but the perforated leather seating upholstery in the Essence trim and onward is preferable. Nothing really stands out in the way of infotainment, but the head-up display in the Premium II trim is a nice touch.

2020 Buick Envision Dashboard Buick
2020 Buick Envision Infotainment System Buick
2020 Buick Envision Central Console Buick
See All 2020 Buick Envision Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

No more than five passengers will fit into the compact Buick Envision, but overall passenger room is abundant throughout the cabin, though shoulder room does get quite tight in the rear seats with the three adults. The middle rear seat is best left reserved for small children only, especially at full occupancy. Head and legroom are otherwise plentiful and the front seats both feature eight-way power-adjustability, which means just about anybody will be able to find a comfortable seating position. The driver, in specific, is seated intuitively behind the controls, though outward visibility is hindered by the Envision's thick roof pillars. Stepping into and out of the Envision, whether it's the front or rear cabin, is as natural as can be thanks to moderate step-in and seating height.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 40.9 in
  • Front Head Room 40.0 in
  • Rear Leg Room 37.5 in
  • Rear Head Room 38.5 in

Interior Colors and Materials

As standard, every Envision trim comes outfitted with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob; chrome in-cabin accents are featured throughout the lineup as well, along with ambient cabin lighting. In the 1SV and Preferred, seats are upholstered in Light Neutral, cloth/leatherette upholstery with no other options available. Seats in the Essence, Premium, and Premium II can be upholstered in either Light Neutral, Ebony, or Dark Galvanized perforated leather upholstery.

Envision Trunk and Cargo Space

For a compact SUV, the Envision offers up quite a decent amount of cargo room behind the rear seats. It's not quite as expansive as the BMW X3's 28.7 cubic foot trunk, but its 26.9 cubes are perfectly fine for an entire month's worth of grocery shopping. The rear seats fold down flat in a 60/40 split, expanding cargo room to 57.3 cubic feet, that way, you won't have to hire a truck to get that 82-inch flat-screen back home. The standard hands-free power liftgate and rear seat release-handles located near the front of the trunk are major benefits to convenience.

In-cabin storage solutions are bountiful, in the front, there's a driver-side small items storage cubby, a small-items center console bin, cavernous center armrest storage bin, two large cupholders, a smallish glovebox, and door integrated bottle holders. In the rear, there are large door-side bottle holders, a seatback map pocket behind each front seat, and two cupholders in the center seat armrest.

2020 Buick Envision 12V Charging Ports Buick
2020 Buick Envision Rear Angle View 1 Buick
2020 Buick Envision Rear Angle View 2 Buick

Envision Infotainment and Features

Features

Despite being purposefully stripped down to act as an affordable entry point to the lineup, the 1SV still comes outfitted with a more than decent selection of features. Buyers here will receive remote start capabilities, keyless access with push-button start, a 4.2-inch driver info center, leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated and eight-way power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, universal home remote, and a hands-free power liftgate. There's also a rearview camera, cruise control, rear park assist, and teen driver settings. Opting for the Preferred trim will allow for further customization and options. Upgrading to the Essence sees the inclusion of driver memory settings, a heated steering wheel, heated rear outboard seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, and lane change alert with side blind-zone alert and rear cross-traffic alert. In the Premium, there's an eight-inch driver information center, a following distance indicator, forward collision alert, front and rear park assist, and lane-keep assist with lane departure warning. A head-up display, heated and ventilated front seats, and driver seat manual thigh support come in on the Premium II.

Infotainment

An eight-inch Buick color LCD touchscreen display graces the center dash of every Envision trim, and it comes standard with comprehensive functionality in Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Siri Eyes Free, Natural Voice Recognition for radio and phone, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot capability, and Bluetooth hands-free smartphone operation and audio streaming. A stock six-speaker sound system is standard in the 1SV, Preferred, and Essence, while a seven-speaker Bose sound system is installed into the Premium and Premium II. There are two USB ports up front for device connectivity and charging, a single auxiliary input jack, a 12-volt power outlet, and another two USB ports are located in the rear of the center console for charging only. The Premium II comes exclusively fitted with a wireless smartphone charging pad. SiriusXM and HD Radio connectivity are optional for all trims.

Envision Problems and Reliability

There have been no recalls commissioned for the Buick Envision since the 2017 model year - an impressive three-year-long clean slate. Moreover, that consistency in reliability is backed by J.D. Power, with the independent body giving the Envision a great Quality and Reliability rating of 89 out of 100, a rating that tops even some Toyota nameplates. Buick adds further peace of mind by covering the Envision with a three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Warranty

  • Warranty Note:
    Preliminary 2020 Warranty Note \ 
  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Rust-Through:
    6 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Maintenance Note:
    1 Year \ 1 Visit

Envision Safety

Despite its relatively expansive allotment of safety and driver-assist features, safety ratings for the 2020 Buick Envision are rather average at best. The NHTSA did give the Envision a top-notch overall safety rating of five stars (on FWD models only, as AWD models have not been evaluated in full). The IIHS gave the Envision top ratings of Good for five specified crash evaluations but neglected an assessment of the headlights. Optional front crash prevention systems also scored only Basic in IIHS evaluations.

US NHTSA crash test result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Key Safety Features

Every Envision trim comes loaded with a number of passive and active driver-assist features. At the base level, a consignment of ten airbags are standard, the grouping comprising a driver and front passenger knee airbag, too. Standard driver-assist tech includes a rearview camera, cruise control, rear park assist, and teen driver settings. In the Essence, there's also lane change alert with side blind-zone alert and rear cross-traffic alert. The Premium and Premium II come further equipped with a following distance indicator, forward collision alert, front and rear park assist, and lane-keep assist with lane departure warning.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2020 Buick Envision a good SUV?

It's clear that Buick had a vision for the Envision, one of affordable luxury above all else, nothing more and nothing less. And that's exactly what the Envision delivers, so it's fair to say that Buick successfully manufactured a vehicle that complies with its intentions. But while it achieved what it set out to do, it misses out on several key elements necessary to truly succeed in the segment. Styling is a sore point, or rather an unmemorable one, and there's not much involvement for the driver. Material quality also feels subpar compared to the German contingent, and the engines aren't exactly anything spectacular. The Envision is good, but its entirely unmemorable, and that's a cardinal sin in the luxury world.

🚘What's the Price of the 2020 Buick Envision?

Buick has carried over the pricing of last year's trims through to the 2020 Envision lineup. The 1SV comes in at an MSRP of $31,995, followed by the Preferred with its price of $33,500, and then the Essence which is priced at $35,800. Optioning either the Preferred or the Essence with the available AWD system will add an additional $1,750 to the base price. Next up in the lineup is the Premium, which carries a sticker price of $40,700, the Premium II tops off the lineup at an MSRP of $43,600. All prices are exclusive of any tax, registration, or licensing fees, and Buick's destination and delivery charge of $1,195.

2020 Buick Envision Models

There are five trim variations of the 2020 Buick Envision: the 1SV, Preferred, Essence, Premium, and Premium II. A 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic gearbox service the base models, which are equipped with FWD as standard. The Premium and Premium II are powered by a 2.0-liter turbo-four engine that's coupled to a nine-speed automatic gearbox to drive outputs to an AWD setup.

The 1SV rides atop 18-inch ten-spoke alloy wheels and is fitted with auto on/off HID projector-beam headlights, LED DRLs, and boasts a hands-free power liftgate. Standard features include remote start, keyless access with push-button start, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated and eight-way power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and leatherette seating surfaces. For infotainment, there's an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen and six-speaker sound system, with functionality in Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot capability. Safety isn't forgotten about either, with a rearview camera, cruise control, rear park assist, and teen driver settings all standard.

There's nothing much else in the Preferred in the way of features with the trim simply getting a few more amenities and extended eligibility to the lineups available options and packages.

Propping up the Essence are 18-inch polished alloy wheels, and on the inside, it features upgrades including driver memory settings, a heated steering wheel, heated rear outboard seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, and perforated leatherette seating. The driver-assist consignment is augmented with lane change alert with side blind-zone alert, and rear cross-traffic alert.

On the Premium are 19-inch 12-spoke alloy wheels and bi-LED headlights. An eight-inch driver information center replaces the smaller 4.2-inch unit, and a following distance indicator, forward collision alert, front and rear park assist, lane keep assist with lane departure warning join the driver-assist selection. The infotainment system is enhanced with a seven-speaker Bose sound system.

Upgrading to the Premium II sees the installation of Intellibeam headlights, a head-up display, heated and ventilated front seats, driver seat manual thigh support, automatic parking assist, and a wireless smartphone charger.

See All 2020 Buick Envision Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

Optional packages are few and far between for the Envision lineup, though there are a few worth mentioning.

Moving away from the 1SV trim to the Preferred sees the availability of the Interior Luxury Package, which, for $565, throws in illuminated front door sill plates and premium carpeted floor mats. A $695 Active Package equips the Envision with a trailer hitch for a 1,500 lbs capacity, with a wiring harness, and with an integrated cargo liner.

For the Essence trim, there's a $1,995 Buick Experience Package which equips the Essence with 19-inch bright alloy wheels with silver painted pockets, with a panoramic power moonroof, and with an onboard navigation system.

The onboard GPS navigation system is available for the Essence as a standalone option for $495.

There's a Driver Confidence Package available for the Premium II trim which for $1,545 throws in advanced adaptive cruise control, a surround-view camera, and enhanced automatic emergency braking.

🚗What Buick Envision Model Should I Buy?

We feel as though the Envision Essence is the most sensible trim from the lineup, though it doesn't come equipped with the turbo engine; although the trims that do are priced at the same level as some of the more premium nameplates, particularly the BMW X3. However, even with the base engine you can opt for all-wheel-drive if you live in a cold-weather state, and you still get a handful of upgrades that make it better value for money than lesser trims. Features like heated seats, heated steering wheel, genuine leather upholstery, heated rear seats, and tri-zone climate control, along with a handful of additional driver assists all ensure the Essence strikes an excellent balance of value for money.

2020 Buick Envision Comparisons

Buick Encore Buick
Buick Enclave Buick
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Buick Envision197 hp22/29 mpg$31,995
Buick Encore 138 hp25/30 mpg$23,200
Buick Enclave 310 hp18/26 mpg$40,000

2020 Buick Envision vs Buick Encore

The Buick Encore fits into the subcompact SUV classification with a wheelbase of 100.6 inches, and boasting an MSRP of $23,200 - it's more of the urbanite than the Envision is. Its little 1.4-liter turbo-four is significantly underpowered with only 138 hp and 148 lb-ft at hand, motoring the Encore from 0-60 mph in around a slow ten seconds, but it's more frugal than both the Envision's four cylinders, delivering gas mileage estimates of 25/30/27 mpg in FWD and 24/29/26 mpg in AWD form. In terms of creature comforts, the more expensive Envision is obviously the more comprehensive package, though both vehicles share the same infotainment system with all the functionality. As the smaller vehicle, the Encore will naturally have less passenger room and less cargo space, the trunk offering only 18.8 cubes of usable space. While the Envision is the more luxurious option, you get what you pay for in this comparison, so while the Encore isn't as premium, it is a lot more affordable. But the Encore isn't a truly premium package, and for that reason alone, we feel the Envision is the better Buick product.

See Buick Encore Review

2020 Buick Envision vs Buick Enclave

If the subcompact and compact Buick SUVs don't catch your eye, then maybe the three-row midsize SUV, the Buick Enclave, will adhere to your needs. It comes equipped with a potent V6 engine with outputs of 310 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque, it's slower than the Envision, though, accelerating from 0-60 mph in around 7.2 seconds, and it's less frugal too, returning gas mileage estimates of 18/26/21 mpg. Despite being the larger vehicle, the Enclave offers less cargo room than the Envision, with only 23.6 cubes on offer, most of its added dimensions are given to the cabin, however, with seating for up to seven passengers. Moreover, the Enclave is capable of towing up to 5,000 pounds. The Enclave is almost $10k more than the Envision, but if you need seating for seven, then it's the way to go, if not, then the Envision is worth saving the additional clams.

See Buick Enclave Review

Buick Envision Popular Comparisons

2020 Buick Envision Video Review

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