Buick tried to rejuvenate its brand perception by crafting vehicles that appeal younger buyers. A great example of this is the 2017 Buick Envision. The Envision’s captivating interior design, coupled with its sleek, exterior profile attracts the eyes of the modern buyer.
At the same time, the Buick Envision has a starting price of $34,065, placing it on the higher end of the spectrum price wise for the midsize segment–the average cost per model is $35,970. Sure you can save almost $2,000 relative to what others in its class ballpark, but what do you receive for the cost?
What the Envision Offers
Let’s start with the Envision’s offerings. With the base model, you receive some luxury features such as cloth with leatherette seat trim, ebony interior accents, and 18-inch 10-spoke aluminum wheels. From a stylistic standpoint, even the base model exudes refinement.
Along with a stylish interior, you receive adequate performance. The standard engine offering for the Envision is the 2.5-liter, four-cylinder, generating 197-horsepower. To be fair, this is more than enough power for regular commuters. However, if you wanted to crank up the power a bit, you can elect for the Premium or Premium II trim. Both trims feature the 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine. This engine generates 252-horsepower. To demonstrate its power, it can propel the SUV from 0 to 60 mph in 7.1 seconds. An added bonus for both of these trims is the all-wheel-drive system which features the torque-vectoring rear axle. This axle distributes thrust side-to-side to aid in the rotation when cornering.
Speaking of performance, the Envision’s stopping power was one of its most surprising features. Car and Driver tested the Envision by measuring how fast it came to a complete stop from 70 mph. The Envision’s 159-foot stop was 10 feet shorter than what other SUVs averaged, according to Car and Driver. And those extra feet could come in handy if you have to stop promptly due to traffic or other road obstructions.
Other safety equipment standard for the Envision include 10 airbags and a rear camera. The camera offers convenience by providing a surrounding view of the conditions behind you, making parking simpler.
On the tech side of things, the Envision comes fully functional with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities. To keep your passengers connected during commutes, Buick offers WiFi connectivity through OnStar. Now, you’ll have to pay for a subscription to access it, but considering it transforms your SUV into a WiFi hotspot, it could be worth the cost if you have to conduct business remotely.
The Buick Envision also delivers in comfort features. It comes standard with dual-zone automatic climate control and heated front seats. These touches of luxury help the SUV compete with some of the luxurious offerings other brands in its segment possess.
How the Buick Envision Competes
It doesn’t compete well. To demonstrate, the performance of the Envision leaves a lot to be desired. The standard engine delivers 197-horsepower. While respectful, it is 83 fewer horsepower than what it class averages, according to AxleGeeks.
Simply, you can find more powerful models in its segment at less expense. The 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo starts from $30,395, and delivers 295-horsepower, destroying what the Envision offers. Meanwhile, the 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid might cost a bit more at $36,270, but it achieves better fuel efficiency than the Envision with 29 combined mpg and offers much more in the way of power with its 306-horsepower output. Even hybrid models are dominating the Envision.
Now let’s move onto an area where many buyers value more: interior space.
What you will find is the same theme of average that permeates throughout the Envision’s offerings. A great example of this is the trunk space, where the Envision has 26.9 cubic feet, placing it on par with the average space its competitors have. However, its maximum cargo capacity of 57.3 cubic feet–with the rear seats folded–is 6.60 cubic feet less than its competitors average. Therefore, even in critical areas such as interior space, the Buick Envision lacks.
A better option in its segment concerning interior space is the 2017 Dodge Journey SE. Not only is it much less expensive than the Envision with a starting price of $21,195, it possesses 39.60 cubic feet of trunk space–an advantage of 12.70 cubic feet.
Another option to investigate is the 2017 Toyota 4Runner SR5. While comparable with the Envision pertaining to cost–the 4Runner starts from $34,210–it has much more interior room. Its trunk space of 47.20 cubic feet is a substantial 20.3 cubic feet more than the Envision has. Therefore, for around the same price, you can have almost double the trunk space with the Toyota 4Runner.
What Critics Are Saying
Another way to gain insight into the value of an SUV is to see how the critics view it. Almost across the board, the Buick Envision earned less than average to average ratings. Motor Trend gave the Encore a two out five rating, stating its big disadvantages include average styling and lower quality of materials used for interior design. Edmunds was more generous awarding the Envision with a three and a half out of five rating. Edmunds enjoyed the quiet cabin and ample array of features but didn’t like the small cargo capacity or the standard engine offering, which supplies decent power at best.
The 2017 Buick Envision offers a good amount of standard equipment. At the same time, the deficiencies in power performance and interior space are difficult to ignore when there are much better offerings in its segment, often at the same price or even much less expensive. In a grand irony, Buick promotes its new models like the Envision as being a rapid departure from its past, but in reality, it’s all a marketing gimmick. The Buick Envision might look the part of a contemporary model, but it doesn’t deliver the all-around quality befitting its segment or price.