Auto review: First drive: 2019 Buick Envision cuts prices up to $2,400, adds power

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

March 5, 2018


Buicka s popular Envision five-passenger compact SUV gets more power and lower prices for 2019

ATLANTA — Buick’s popular Envision five-passenger compact SUV gets more power and lower prices for 2019.

The upgraded Envision, which goes on sale in April, also adds a nine-speed automatic transmission and a button to turn off its fuel-saving auto-stop feature.

The average price decrease for 2019 is about $2,000, while prices for the midlevel Preferred model drop $2,400.

The Envision has become Buick’s No. 3 seller since it debuted in the second half of 2016. Buick executives think it will eventually pass the larger Enclave to become the brand’s No. 2, trailing only the smaller Encore SUV.

Exterior changes are minimal, including a new grille, LED headlights and optional 19-inch wheels.

The 2.0L turbocharged engine adds 35 pound-feet of torque to 295 at 3,000-4000 r.p.m. for better acceleration. Horsepower is unchanged at 252 at 5,500 r.p.m. The base 2.5L engine and six-speed automatic transmission are unchanged.

Buick was able to boost torque thanks to the addition of GM’s new nine-speed automatic transmission.

The extra torque is noticeable in acceleration around town. The transmission, which is becoming a mainstay across GM’s model line, shifts smoothly, with no hunting among gears.

Buick added a button to disable the stop-start feature that shuts the engine off at stoplights and other times when the vehicle is idling. GM’s stop-start system is one of the least noticeable on the market, but some drivers still don’t care for it.

Turning the system off will reduce fuel economy, but shouldn’t have an impact on the ‘19 Envision’s EPA rating, because the system is operating during the lab test that determines the window-sticker rating. The fuel economy rating isn’t available yet, but should improve, thanks to the new transmission.

Other new features include:

— A better backup camera for improved vision

— A new brake booster for better pedal feel

— The ability to switch between adaptive cruise control and old-style cruise that does not use radar sensors to monitor other vehicles

— Wireless phone charging, including for compatible iPhones.

Buick expects to sell about 40,000 Envisions this year.


2019 Buick Envision at a glance

Vehicle type: Five-passenger front- or all-wheel-drive compact SUV

Base price: $32,990

Engine tested: 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder

Power: 252 hp @ 5,500 r.p.m. (with premium gasoline); 295 lb-ft or torque at 3,000-4,000 rpm

Transmission: Nine-speed automatic

EPA fuel economy rating: TBD

Wheelbase: 108.3 ins.

Length: 183.7 ins.

Width: 72.4 ins.

Height: 66.8 ins.

Assembled: Yantai, China