2021 Buick Envision

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2021 Buick Envision Test Drive Review: Mainstream Luxury

We'd forgive anyone for forgetting that the Buick Envision exists. While competent, the first-generation Envision was never a headline-generating vehicle. Buick has released a second-generation Envision for the 2021 model year, making notable improvements from the previous model. It still won't capture headlines like other recent GM product reveals, but the 2021 Envision is quietly a very luxurious vehicle with a pretty attractive price.

The Buick Envision is a premium compact crossover that straddles the line between mainstream and luxury. It loosely competes with higher trim versions of the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 as well as other premium options such as the Acura RDX, Lincoln Corsair, and Lexus NX. Regardless of trim, it packs a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder developing 228 horsepower, while utilizing the latest nine-speed automatic transmission. Buick's Goldilocks approach may appeal to value-conscious buyers, though it may also put off brand-loyalists who place an emphasis on premium labels. To find out more about the 2021 Buick Envision, CarBuzz spent a week driving a mid-level Essence model.

2021 Buick Envision Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2020 Buick Envision?

The 2021 Buick Envision is an all-new model, replacing the rather uninspired previous-generation model. It's a far more appealingly styled vehicle than before, being both lower and wider than the crossover it replaces. A new interior makes use of the brand's upgraded infotainment system which boasts a new 10.2-inch touchscreen (standard on the top two trims) and a center panel that is tilted towards the driver for easier access. Last year's base 2.5-liter engine has fallen away, so the 2021 Envision is powered solely by a 2.0-liter turbo-four with 228 horsepower. We were keen to see if these changes were successful in our Buick Envision review.

Pros and Cons

  • Posh styling
  • Absorbent, comfortable ride
  • Hushed cabin
  • Many features
  • Good value for the money
  • Not as premium as German rivals
  • Unexciting to drive
  • Disappointing cargo space
  • Some sub-par interior materials
  • Less power than last year's model

Best Deals on 2021 Buick Envision

2021 Buick Envision Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Preferred
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$31,800
Essence
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$36,000
Avenir
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$40,400
Base
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
TBC
See All 2021 Buick Envision Trims and Specs

2021 Envision Exterior

2021 Buick Envision Front View CarBuzz
2021 Buick Envision Rear View CarBuzz
2021 Buick Envision Front Angle View CarBuzz
See All 2021 Buick Envision Exterior Photos

Dimensions

  • Length 182.5 in
  • Wheelbase 109.4 in
  • Height 63.3 in
  • Max Width 74.1 in
  • Front Width 63.3 in
  • Rear Width 63.3 in
  • Curb Weight 3,692.0 lbs

2021 Envision Performance

2021 Buick Envision Rear Angle View CarBuzz
2021 Buick Envision Gauge Cluster CarBuzz
2021 Buick Envision Engine CarBuzz

Engine and Transmission

  • Engine
    2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    9-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The new Envision ditches the previous model's General Motors Delta II underpinnings in favor of the more modern Epsilon platform. This architecture is shared with the Cadillac XT4 and offers a stiffer body structure. While it's not a sporty vehicle, the new Envision feels more athletic and luxurious than the model it replaces. Buick placed a heavy emphasis on comfort here, so the Envision feels quiet, supple, and relaxing even at highway speeds. The cabin feels quieter than similarly-priced mainstream options, and the standard non-adjustable suspension soaks up road imperfections well. We didn't have a chance to sample the optional continuous damping control suspension to see if it's any softer than the standard springs.

We couldn't find much to hate about the Envision's driving manners, but there's also not much to rave about. The outgoing model packed more power and torque from its 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, and the decrease is noticeable. This new model isn't sluggish, but the power delivery feels less serene than it did in the previous generation. Buick includes a few drive modes, including Tour, Snow/Ice, and Sport, but the differences between them aren't that noticeable. Buyers looking at mainstream options like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 should be pleased by the Envision's output, but Acura and Lexus shoppers might be less impressed.

2021 Envision Interior

2021 Buick Envision Dashboard CarBuzz
2021 Buick Envision Steering Wheel Design CarBuzz
2021 Buick Envision Front Seats CarBuzz
See All 2021 Buick Envision Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 40.4 in
  • Front Head Room 39.6 in
  • Rear Leg Room 39.3 in
  • Rear Head Room 38.9 in

2021 Envision Trunk and Cargo Space

2021 Buick Envision Back Seats CarBuzz
2021 Buick Envision Back Seats Folded CarBuzz
2021 Buick Envision Trunk Space CarBuzz

2021 Envision Safety and Reliability

Warranty

  • Warranty Note:
    Preliminary 2021 Warranty \ 
  • 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

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

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

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2021 Buick Envision a good car?

We are ready to chalk the second-generation Buick Envision up as a victory for General Motors, but not a groundbreaking one. Competing in the highly competitive compact segment, the Envision has the potential to overtake the Encore GX as Buick's best-selling model, but a relative lack of awareness and the complicated nature of where it's built could stymie those hopes. While most consumers may never know or care that their "American" Buick was actually built in China, the uncertain future of trade between the US and China may stop Buick from heavily marketing the Envision and making it a huge sales success.

The 2021 Buick Envision is a far more attractive vehicle than the model it replaces, but we aren't sure if those handsome looks will bring in enough new buyers. Shoppers may stumble upon the Envision when looking for a solid mid-point between a Chevrolet Equinox and a Cadillac XT4, but we can't envision anyone trading in their Audi, BMW, or Mercedes for one. The Envision could be perfect for shoppers looking at the highest trim Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 who want a bit more power, luxury, and prestige since it offers more features at a comparable price.

2021 Buick Envision Comparisons

Buick Enclave Buick
Chevrolet Equinox Chevrolet
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Buick Envision228 hp24/31 mpg$31,500
Buick Enclave 310 hp18/26 mpg$42,800
Chevrolet Equinox 170 hp26/31 mpg$26,300

2021 Buick Envision vs Buick Enclave

The larger Buick Enclave offers more space for customers who require seating for seven. There's far more cargo space as well; in fact, the Enclave offers nearly as much space behind its third row as the Envision does behind its second row. In the Enclave, you get a bigger and more powerful V6 engine with 310 hp, making this the easy choice for towing - the Enclave can tow 5,000 lbs compared with the Envision's measly 1,500 lbs. At $40,000, the entry-level Enclave will cost roughly the same as the well-equipped Envision Avenir. Both of these SUVs are refined, but if you don't need the extra space and power, the more stylish Envision will do the job just fine.

See Buick Enclave Review

2021 Buick Envision vs Chevrolet Equinox

The Chevrolet Equinox is a more appealing compact SUV than the Buick Envision for one main reason: price. It starts at a wallet-friendly $23,800, but at that price, you'll miss out on features like an HD rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, rear park assist, and a power-adjustable driver's seat - these are all standard on the base Envision. The Equinox also has just 170 hp from its 1.5-liter turbo-four engine and a more dated six-speed automatic transmission. We did find the Chevy pretty good to drive, though, but it isn't as quiet as the Buick. The Equinox wins for economy and has a larger trunk, but it doesn't feel as luxurious as the Envision. If value is the primary concern, the Equinox makes a strong case for itself, but the Envision is simply a nicer SUV.

See Chevrolet Equinox Review

2021 Buick Envision Popular Comparisons

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2021 Buick Envision Video Review

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