2018 Buick EnvisionShould you buy?
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What’s New for 2018?
The Buick Envision has only recently been introduced to the US market, and this model year sees almost no changes to the car. The Buick Envision was released as a brand-new model in 2016, and only a limited run of one trim level was available in the US. For 2017, Buick opened up the full range of Envision models to the North American market, effectively relaunching the car. As such, the only change to the Envision’s specifications for 2018 is the addition of optional all-weather floor mats to the order sheet.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2018 Buick Envision – The Pros
1. Stylish Looks
Buick has really developed a knack for making small SUVs look good, as can be seen with the subcompact Encore, so the compact Envision made an excellent canvas for the designers. It is a beautiful car that subtly breaks many common crossover design conventions. The aggressively angled belt line, large headlights and the subtle side cladding make the car very visually interesting while still retaining the stately Buick feel.
2. Upscale Interior
The 2018 Buick Envision easily matches both its smaller and larger relatives when it comes to interior opulence. Everywhere you look - and touch - in the Envision features soft touch plastics, quality upholstery and premium accents. Quality is also apparent, as all the components fit together well and visually complement each other, suggesting a very high degree of build quality throughout.
3. Excellent Noise Insulation
The Envision is very good at keeping external noise out of the car, whether it is the roar of the engine or the wind whipping past on the highway. There is excellent noise insulation throughout the vehicle, and it is supported by an active noise cancelling system, similar to those found in noise-cancelling headphones. That makes driving a very calm and quiet experience.
4. Comfortable Ride
Hearing is not the only sense that the Envision does a good job of protecting. Equipped with a relatively gentle suspension and very supportive seats, it also filters out a lot of road imperfections very well. Despite this, it is still a fairly agile vehicle, making its way through curved roads in a poised and controlled manner.
5. A Perky Pair of Engines
With a choice of a naturally aspirated and a turbocharged four-cylinder, the 2018 Buick Envision offers something for everyone. The base 2.5-liter four-cylinder gives the Envision 197 horsepower, which is slightly more than many of the other vehicles in the same class. That engine is standard on the lower trim lines, and serves as a good balance between performance and efficiency. The turbocharged 2.0-liter boosts the output to 252 horsepower, making this small crossover very fun to drive.
6. Many Technology Features
The Buick Envision is a technophile’s dream and makes interacting with your technology very simple. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are part of the IntelliLink infotainment system controlled from an 8-inch touch screen, a Wi-Fi hotspot allows internet access on the go through the car’s wireless 4G LTE connection, and several USB ports make keeping everything charged easy. Even better, all of those features are standard, even on the base model.
7. Good Feature Value
The 2018 Envision offers a lot of standard features on most trim levels, which makes it a good value. In addition to the technology features listed above, the base models are also equipped with power heated front seats, dual zone climate controls and a power liftgate - features that are often upgrades on other similar cars. Other trim lines also add a lot to the mix, such as the Premium, which not only includes a more powerful engine, but premium audio and a batch of active safety features as well.
8. Price Point
Compact luxury crossovers can get very expensive, but the Envision has one of the lowest starting prices in the segment, while still offering a comparable feature set and a luxury nameplate.
9. Excellent Safety Pedigree
The 2018 Buick Envision rates just about as highly as possible on the major safety tests. It get a Top Safety Pick Plus accolade from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and a five-star rating from the federal crash testing agency. This puts it among the best in its class when it comes to safety.
10. Good Expected Reliability
With all the new technology and equipment offered in modern cars, reliability can be a concern, but the Buick Envision is expected to be a reliable vehicle. J.D. Power and Associates, which tests car quality and reliability, gives the Envision an expected reliability rating of 4 out of 5, which translates to better than most. Only a few other compact SUVs got the same rating, with most scoring around a 3, indicating average reliability.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2018 Buick Envision – The Cons
1. Narrow Cabin
While the length of the Envision is just about perfect, and the seats offer good legroom, the car is narrower than one would expect. This not only means that the rear passengers can be a little cramped when all three rear seats are occupied, but also gives the whole cabin a slightly closed in feel.
2. Expensive Upper Trims
While the entry-level Envision models tend towards the lower end of the compact luxury SUV price range, the price increases quickly as one moves up the trim levels, putting other competitors within striking range.
3. Made in China
While it is made by an American manufacturer, the 2018 Buick Envision is actually an import vehicle. The Envision was first designed and released for the Chinese market, and is manufactured exclusively there. Concerns about quality or ethics aside, that means that the supply of the car can’t be adjusted as easily based on demand, and so there could be shortages or delays with popular trim levels as dealers wait for new shipments to cross the Pacific.
How It Stacks up to the Competition
The competition for the 2018 Buick Envision consists primarily of other compact luxury SUVs. The Acura RDX is one such model, and it offers a much sportier driving experience thanks to better handling and a more powerful engine, but it is priced much higher than the Envision and lacks many of its standard features. The Lincoln MKC, on the contrary, is cheaper than the Envision, and offers a similar feature set, but is short on utility. It has less space for both passengers and cargo, and does not score as well on reliability metrics either.
The 2018 Buick Envision is an unusual new addition to the Buick lineup, but it offers prospective buyers a lot of advantages, from advanced technology to a comfortable and quiet driving experience, without asking too much in terms of price. Value-minded luxury shoppers looking for a compact SUV will no doubt find the combination irresistible.
• Why buy a 2017 Buick Envision? w/ pros vs cons