A refined contender among small luxury crossover SUVs, the 2018 Buick Envision is well worth a second look. Despite its somewhat generic exterior styling, it’s equipped with a generous wish list of features, with an upscale interior trimmed in high-quality materials. Slotting between the compact Encore and the three-row Enclave in the Buick portfolio, with decent amounts of cabin room and cargo space, this two-row crossover SUV is always a popular choice on the Laneway Auto Loans & Sales Used Car Lot.
Great Value for Money
Quiet, comfortable, and less eye-catching than some of its competitors, the 2018 Buick Envision Premium AWD delivers a lot of bang for a very reasonable buck. Churning out 252 hp and 260 lb-ft, its turbocharged 2.0-liter engine is a great fit for this small SUV, delivering fuel economy of 8.6 – 11.8 City/ highway combined. All Envisions are fitted with six-speed automatic transmission. Trim upgrades include 19-inch wheels, automatic wipers; tri-zone automatic climate control, a seven-speaker Bose premium audio system, a larger driver color information display, and a 110-volt household power outlet. All this is over and above the Standard features for the base Envision trim: fog lights, auto-dimming and heated mirrors, a hands-free power liftgate with adjustable opening heights, rear parking sensors, a rear-view camera, keyless ignition and entry, remote start, eight-way power-adjustable and heated front seats, and 60/40-split folding rear seats that slide, providing more rear-seat legroom or extra cargo space. Other standard tech items include OnStar communications (includes 4G LTE connection and Wi-Fi hotspot), Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, Bluetooth, and four USB ports.
Top Marks for Safety
With ten airbags (front, side, side curtain, and knee), roll stability control and a hill holder system, its crash test results scored high for safety, with a top overall rating of 5.00. In fact, the 2018 Buick Envision was rated as a Top Safety Pick+ by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Constructed mainly from aluminium and high tensile steel, the 2018 Buick Envision offers superior strength and rigidity, reducing impacts caused by accidents. It’s also fitted with some of the most advanced active and passive safety features on the market:
- StabiliTrak stability control and traction control system;
- Front and rear park assist;
- Lane change alert with side blind zone alert;
- Lane keep assist with lane departure warning;
- Forward collision alert;
- Rear cross-traffic alert;
- Following distance indicator;
- Rear vision camera;
- Latch system for child car seats.
Built in China
It might seem strange that a classic US automaker like General Motors would build a car in China. But as Buick is ranked among the world’s most admired brands by Chinese drivers, this decision reflects that prestige. The Envision is also Buick’s first compact crossover line. Launched in 2016, the 2018 model has almost no changes, compared to its predecessor. Still available in four trims – Preferred, Essence, Premium I and Premium II – they all come with standard AWD.
Special All Wheel Drive System
However, the type of trim defines the kind of all-wheel system: Premium models are fitted with a more sophisticated torque vectoring system that can direct all the engine’s power to either the front or rear axles, and can then split the power between the two rear wheels. Similar to the SH-AWD used by the Acura, this endows Premium Envisions with better manoeuvrability under slippery conditions, in addition to neater cornering on dry roads. They also benefit from Buick’s HiPer strut front suspension, for smoother steering and fewer annoyances like torque and bump steer.
Takeaway: Voted the Best Compact SUV of 2018 by JD Power, the Buick Envision Premium AWD is designed as a luxurious ride that’s extra-quiet and super-safe.