2021 Buick Envision is dressed to kill and priced to compete – Roadshow

This ugly duckling has been transformed into a beautiful swan.

Buick

Here it is, folks, the brand-spankin'-new 2021 Buick Envision crossover. Buick originally teased this vehicle last May, but finally released details about the US-spec version on Thursday. Here's what you need to know.

More stylish and upscale, the 2021 Envision is lower and wider than its predecessor. It also rides atop a slightly longer wheelbase and its body has been truncated by about an inch. These nips and tucks help give this vehicle much more attractive proportions compared to the outgoing Envision, which is one of the frumpier vehicles available today. With a long-ish front end and swept-back windshield, plus a curt and perky backside, this Buick has a bit of Mazda in its profile, and that is not a bad thing. As for the wheels, 18s are standard but 20-inchers are available.

As before, the Envision is the Goldilocks of Buick's utility-vehicle lineup, slotting between the smaller Encore models and the Enclave, which has a larger interior with three rows of seats. The Envision has room for five people and offers a decent amount of cargo space. Behind the second-row seat you'll find 25.2 cubic feet of volume, but if you fold the 60/40-split backrest down that figure grows to 52.7 cubes. Unfortunately, both of those figures are slightly less generous than what the outgoing model provides, though the difference isn't that big.

2021 Buick Envision

Nicely done, Buick, nicely done.

Buick

The new Envision is offered in three grades: Preferred, Essence and Avenir. If that last model sounds new, your instincts are correct. This is the first time Buick is offering the Envision in Avenir trim, which is by far the fanciest. It includes unique styling elements like a mesh grille insert and special 20-inch wheels. Inside, passengers are coddled by diamond-perforated quilted leather seating surfaces, while the front chairs feature heating and ventilation for year-round comfort. Customers that don't want to spend that much can gussy up a Preferred or Essence model with a Sport Touring package for a, well, sportier appearance thanks to its dark exterior accents and different wheels. Other goodies include a hands-free power liftgate, which is standard on Essence and Avenir models and available on the Preferred trim. A panoramic power moonroof is offered on Essence and Avenir variants.

Matching its fashion-forward exterior, the Envision's cabin is dramatically more upscale than before, with its instrument panel noticeably angled toward the driver. It also features a space-saving electronic gear selector and has a useful split armrest between the front seats, which allows one person to access the storage cubby underneath without disturbing the other person. Front and center on the dashboard is a new infotainment system with a generous 10.2-inch touchscreen. Beyond that, a wireless phone charger is on the menu, plus wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both available for added convenience.

The Envision offers plenty of other tech, too, including many of the advanced driver aids and convenience features motorists expect these days. Items like lane-keeping assist, automatic high beams, rear cross-traffic alert, front pedestrian braking and more are bundled in the Buick Driver Confidence Plus package. Optional goodies include a high-definition 360-degree camera system, adaptive cruise control and a head-up display. One feature you do not pay extra for, however, is LED lighting. All models have standard LED head and tail lamps.

2021 Buick Envision

This new Envision should compete with vehicles like the Infiniti QX50, Lexus NX and Lincoln Corsair.

Buick

Just one engine is offered in the new Envision: a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. Disappointingly, it only delivers 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, noticeably less than other manufacturers' engines of the same size and configuration. It's also behind the outgoing Envision's optional 2.0-liter turbo-four, which is rated at 252 hp and 295 lb-ft. A nine-speed automatic transmission handles shifting duties and helps deliver good fuel economy. With front-wheel drive, this vehicle is rated at 24 miles per gallon city and 31 mpg highway. Combined, it should return 26 mpg. Opt for the available traction-enhancing all-wheel-drive system and those scores drop to 22 city and 29 highway, figures that result in an average of 25 mpg. For added luxury, the Avenir model is available with Continuous Damping Control, an electronically adjustable suspension system that reads the road and automatically adjusts the vehicle's shock absorbers in real time to deliver a smoother ride.

The 2021 Buick Envision is available at dealers right now. This stylish new utility vehicle starts at $32,995, including a $1,195 destination fee. With arresting looks, a beautifully designed interior and plenty of tech, this redesigned model looks promising and should appeal to drivers that might be considering something like a Infiniti QX50, Lexus NX or Lincoln Corsair.

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