Buick is making changes and dropping prices to better compete in the compact crossover field.
Since hitting the market in spring 2016, the Buick Envision has carved out a nice little niche for itself. No doubt Buick would have loved similar success for its Encore subcompact, which is a top-five player in the subcompact crossover segment, but it's not quite there. In its first full year on the US market, Envision has followed more in the Enclave’s tracks, with 41,040 sales and like the Enclave in its segment, helps push combined GM triplets sales (Chevy Equinox’s 290K, Terrain’s 85K) into the top spot in the compact crossover races (beating RAV4’s 407K).
For the 2019 model year, GM has tried to improve its appeal and fix some trouble spots noted by early adopters. The changes are a refreshed design, upgraded performance and new tech, but in each case it is a list of subtle improvements than any headline news. You likely won’t be able to spot the design changes unless you look at the two models side-by-side with a magnifying glass, but it’s a perfectly reasonable bland design appropriate for the segment already. The 2.0L turbo four-cylinder powertrain is bumped up to 295 lb-ft of torque (from 260) and gets a new nine-speed transmission, while horsepower remains the same at 252 hp.
On the inefficiency side, Buick has added a switch to deactivate the engine stop/start, though it has been refined to address customer feedback. So maybe owners won't want to turn it off at the very first stoplight they hit. In the tech and convenience departments, the Envision has a range of upgrades, including its voice recognition, warmer seat heaters, better back-up camera, air ionizer, better headlights, the ability to use conventional cruise control on models with adaptive cruise, and the wireless charging is improved and now compatible even with the latest iPhoneX.
Perhaps the biggest news is pricing, which drops a thousand to start at $32,990 compared to the 2018 Envision’s $33,995, and higher trims include Preferred ($34,495), Essence ($36,795), Premium ($41,695) and Premium II ($44,595), each trim about $1500-$2000 lower than 2018 prices. None of the prices above include destination fees.