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The compact SUV represents a convenient blend of utility and size for many consumers. This has become an increasingly competitive market. Buick's version of the small luxury SUV is known as the Envision. It has grown in popularity due to the fact that it offers many of the luxury features people are after yet at a more affordable price.
You will find the Envision has ample room for five passengers and includes a sliding second-row seat that gives rear passengers an impressive amount of legroom. Behind the back seat, you find 26.9 cubic feet of space, which is great for a vehicle of this size. Folding down the rear seat reveals 57.3 cubic feet of space.
This vehicle is relatively new to the SUV game. The very first generation hit the market in 2016. In 2020, there are no major changes to report to the vehicle. Last year, the vehicle saw a redesign to its front, rear, powertrain, and more.
If you are in the market for a smaller SUV, your choices go beyond which make and model to select. This guide breaks the Envision down into its five different trim levels with the goal of helping you select which one is right for you.
Compare the 2020 Buick Envision 1SV vs Preferred - What is the Difference?
Being classified as a luxury vehicle, you would expect the Envision's entry-level model to have a decent amount of features, and you would be right. It is worth noting, however, that this is the only one of the trims that is only available with front-wheel-drive. It is powered by a 2.5L four-cylinder engine working alongside a six-speed automatic transmission. This duo will get you 197-horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque.
The 1SV rides on 18" painted-aluminum wheels. It lights up the road with high-intensity discharge headlights, LED daytime running lights, fog lamps, and LED taillamps. Standard exterior features aimed at making your life easier include a hands-free power tailgate and heated side mirrors.
You get a fair amount of standard tech inside of the 1SV. You will find the Buick Infotainment System featuring an 8" diagonal color touchscreen. This runs Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Siri EyesFree, and Bluetooth. There are charging-only USB ports as well as 12-volt power outlets. The vehicle is 4G LTE Wi-Fi HotSpot capable. It can support up to seven devices that are up to 50 feet away from the Envision.
Standard on this and most trims is a 4.2" Driver Information Center display. This gives you data on the vehicle's oil life, fuel level, and more. It can also alert you to any diagnostic problems it detects. Another nice touch is the auto-dimming rear-view mirror.
Music plays on the standard six-speaker audio system. For the 1SV, you get dual-zone automatic climate control. Standard are heated front and passenger seats as well as leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, proving that the Envision belongs in the luxury SUV class. The driver's seat is eight-way power-adjustable and includes power lumbar support. You also get stylish "Moon White" ambient lighting on the front door trim and instrument panel.
The interior of the cabin is nice and relaxing thanks to Buick's QuietTuning, which uses cutting-edge tech to reduce unwanted sound from leaking in. It combines active noise cancellation, acoustic laminated glass for the windshield and front windows, and triple door seals. You get 60/40 split-folding rear seats which actually recline, something that can make long road trips much more bearable.
As for safety, the 1SV gives you rear parking assist and a rear vision camera. It also gives you the tire pressure monitoring system and Teen Driver. This feature allows you to limit what the car will do when certain drivers are behind the wheel, including the max stereo volume. It can also set a speed alert and give you a report card on how your teen drives. Other than that, this luxury SUV is surprisingly lacking in the latest driver assistance aids.
Moving up to the Preferred trim level does not actually give you more features. Instead, it gives you more optional add-ons. The Active Package becomes available, which gives the Envision the 1,500 lbs trailering capability, an integrated cargo liner, and trailer hitch.
The Preferred trim gives you the option of adding body-color molded assist steps as well as a panoramic sunroof. This is the first trim to give you optional illuminated front door sill plates. They light up the floor, making it easier for you and the front passenger to get in and out of the vehicle in the dark.
This trim also gives you the option of adding the Buick Interior Protection Package, which gives you all-weather floor mats as well as an all-weather cargo mat. Speaking of cargo, you can add the Cargo Package to this trim to get a cargo net and a cargo shade. You can choose to add the Roadside Safety Package to the Preferred trim. It adds a highway safety kit that has things such as gloves, rope, jumper cables, and more. The package also adds a first aid kit.
Not interested in any of those packages? Then you really have no reason to look at the Preferred trim. The only exception here is if you are looking to spend the least amount of money possible on an all-wheel-drive version of the Envision. The Preferred trim is standard FWD but is the first level to give you the choice to upgrade to AWD.
Compare the 2020 Buick Envision Preferred vs Essence - What is the Difference?
For the Essence trim level, you get the same engine option as the previous two. You also get FWD standard with the ability to go with AWD. Unlike the Preferred trim, however, the Essence actually gives you more features as standard equipment.
The wheels are slightly fancier, for starters. The Essence rides on 18" polished aluminum wheels and has the option of upgrading to 19" bright aluminum ones instead. These wheels can be added as part of a package that also gives you navigation and the panoramic power moonroof. You can also add what is called the Road Trip Package, which gives you roof rails and the all-weather floor mats.
Now for the promised features that are actually standard on the Essence. This trim adds a heated steering wheel as well as heat to the second-row outboard seats. The climate control goes from dual-zone to tri-zone, something rear passengers will appreciate on hot days.
The Essence also adds some of those safety features that have been missing up until this point. You get blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. Also added at this trim level is lane change alert featuring side blind zone alert. Slightly more advanced than your average lane change alert, this feature also monitors for vehicles rapidly approaching your blind spot.
For roughly two thousand more, the Essence adds some of the luxury comforts and safety features that are missing from the previous trims.
Compare the 2020 Buick Envision Essence vs Premium - What is the Difference?
The first thing you need to know about the Premium trim is that it comes with standard AWD. It also gives you a bigger engine. Underneath the hood of these models lives a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder that generates 252-horsepower and 292 lb-ft of torque. You also get a few more gears because this engine is paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission.
The suspension also gets an upgrade for the Premium trim levels. You get the HiPer Strut front suspension that is designed to optimize your tires' contact with the road. This trim adds bright stainless steel-tipped dual-outlet exhaust as well.
For the Premium trim, 19" aluminum wheels become standard. It is the first trim level to offer you the Envision Appearance Package, which just adds molded assist steps and Midnight Silver painted pockets to the same 19" wheels. Standard for this trim are Bi-LED headlights and RainSense automatic windshield wipers.
Inside the cabin of the Premium trim, you will find a 110-volt household power outlet. Located on the rear of the center console, this allows you to plug in electrical equipment. The speaker system gets a significant upgrade as well. It is a Bose seven-speaker system that includes an amplifier. The Driver Information Display Cluster screen gets bumped up from 4.2" to 8".
The Premium trim of the Essence adds more advanced safety features. You get a following distance indicator, forward collision alert, and front and rear park assist. This assist system uses sensors to detect objects and warn you when you are getting too close at low speeds. Also added on the Premium is lane keeping assist with lane departure warning. It alerts you when the vehicle drifts outside the lane lines and can even use gentle steering to keep you in your lane.
Many people will skip right over the first three trims levels for the Premium for the standard AWD and upgraded engine alone.
Compare the 2020 Buick Envision Premium vs Premium II - What is the Difference?
What the Platinum II trim level lacks is an original name. What it gains, however, is a long list of additional features. This trim level also gives you standard AWD and the turbocharged engine. When you make the leap up to this top-of-the-line trim, you gain ventilation for the front seats as well as thigh support for the driver's seat.
As for tech, you get standard navigation for your infotainment system as well as wireless charging capability. Rather than giving you a pad to charge your devices wirelessly, there is actually a convenient pocket you can place your device in while it powers up. It adds automatic high beams and a head's up driver's display. This display will project important info right into the lower portion of your line of sight. It can give you navigation information, vehicle stats, and more. You can also adjust the position, which is handy for those who are particularly short or tall.
The Premium II trim is the only one to give you the option to add the Driver Confidence Package. With this, the Essence gains adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking, and a surround-view camera. With the adaptive cruise control, you can select a following gap between you and the vehicle ahead. The surround-view camera replaces the rear view camera and instead offers you multiple views of around your vehicle, including a bird's eye view.
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Which Trim to Choose?
Skip the 1SV and Preferred trim. If you are going for a luxury vehicle, these two simply do not have enough to make them worthwhile. The Essence trim is decent and will appeal to many as a good mid-range option.
For the 2020 Envision, it really is a "go big or go home" situation. The engine in the Premium and Premium II is way more powerful and fun to drive. Throw in the standard all-wheel-drive and all the additional features, it makes sense to go to the top end of the trim list. From here, you may as well go all the way to the Premium II, which gives you the wireless charging, navigation, head's up display, and more.
• Compare the 2019 Buick Envision Trim Levels