The 2021 Buick Envision is a quality SUV that feels sporty and sophisticated at the same time. It has the popular cabin configuration that many customers are looking for, as it has two rows of seating and a spacious cargo area in the back.
Buick makes three trims of this vehicle, giving people a range of options to consider. Since the company is a premium brand, even the Envision's base model is quite refined. It has more features that what one might expect from a typical entry-level vehicle. The Essence has more amenities, and the Avenir trim is the most impressive, but obviously these improvements are associated with additional costs. This overview should be helpful as prospective customers decide which trims would be best for them.
Before jumping into the detailed comparisons between the trims, it should be noted that all three trim options use the same type of engine. It's a 2.0-liter turbo engine with four cylinders. This engine can generate 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, so the SUV certainly feels energetic and responsive.
A nine-speed automatic transmission has been matched to the engine. The transmission does give drivers the opportunity to manually shift and override the automatic shifting function. Some people prefer having more control when they're accelerating or just having some fun behind the wheel. It's not a concern if someone isn't interested in this function; it's an added feature that is present but definitely doesn't have to be utilized.
The Envision can earn up to 31 miles per gallon on the highway and up to 24 miles per gallon in the city. Those numbers apply to front-wheel-drive versions of the SUV. If the Envision has an all-wheel drivetrain, fuel economy drops to an estimated 22/29 (city/highway) miles per gallon. To improve efficiency, the engine can automatically turn off when stopped for at least a few seconds, only to turn back on again when it's time to move. If someone doesn't want to use this stop/start feature, it can be turned off with the flick of a switch.
Compare the 2021 Buick Envision Preferred vs Essence Trim Levels. What is the difference?
Buick has designed these two trims with safety in mind. Both trims have a full suite of driver-assist technology.
This includes standard rear cross traffic alert and blind zone monitoring to help drivers safely change lanes and back up out of parking spots. The Buick also has lane keep assist and lane departure warning so that people don't accidentally veer out of their lanes. The forward collision alert can be very useful, as it works in conjunction with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking to reduce the likelihood of running into anyone on the road. Finally, the rear view camera is an HD version so that the images can be clearly seen.
Where the Preferred and Essence differ is related to their exterior and interior features. For starters, there's a slight variation in their wheels. The Preferred has bright silver aluminum wheels, and the Essence has machined aluminum wheels with a more aggressive charcoal metallic finish. A notable feature in the Essence is its hands-free power liftgate. It has a sensor that can detect when someone kicks their foot underneath the license plate. While the Preferred has heated side mirrors, the Essence's heated mirrors come with memory settings.
The cabin of the Preferred is a little more basic than that of the Essence. Unlike the mid-level trim, the Preferred doesn't automatically come with heated front seats or an automatic two-zone climate control system. Those heated seats have three levels of warmth. The steering wheel on the Essence is heated, too. Integrated into the driver's seat is a memory function, so someone can program the seat to remember his/her favorite position.
The Preferred does have a digital information display, but it measures 4.2 inches. In the Essence, the display is almost twice as large.
More upgrades in the Essence have to do with technology. The Essence has a 10.2-inch touchscreen in comparison with the Preferred's eight-inch touchscreen. Fortunately, all trims have Bluetooth and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. However, the larger touchscreen can support certain in-vehicle apps. There's the option to get navigation on the Essence but not on the Preferred.
One other enhancement that the Envision has is remote start. A driver can simply push a button to start up the engine, and that person can be in the comfort of a home or office while doing so. This gives the SUV the opportunity to warm up or cool down, depending on what the exterior temperature is, before passengers pile in.
For those times when people have more cargo to carry, the rear seat can be folded down. This is quite easy to do, and the seat can be placed back in position just as quickly. The rear seat in all of the Envision trims has a 60/40 split configuration. This allows for some flexibility and gives people a few ways to arrange their cabins.
Maximum cargo capacity is 52.7 cubic feet. When the rear seatbacks are in place, there's about 25 cubic feet of storage space, making this vehicle a practical one for many customers.
Compare the 2021 Buick Envision Essence vs Avenir Trims. What is the difference?
While it has most of the same mechanical components as the Essence, the Avenir can have a smoother ride. This is due to the available continuously damping control that can make the adjustments needed to balance out the ups and downs of the road.
From a safety perspective, the Avenir has the most advanced systems. First, it has surround vision, giving the driver a 360-degree view of what's around the vehicle. Going along with this, there is front and rear park assist. If the Avenir is getting too close to objects around it, the driver will be warned. In the Essence, this is only an option. The Essence does have a rear park assist function, though.
It gets even better in terms of parking. The Avenir can be upgraded with enhanced automatic parking assist. This program allows the Buick to steer itself into a parallel or perpendicular parking space while the driver takes care of acceleration and braking.
An option on the Avenir is adaptive cruise control. This system can make adjustments to speed in order for the Buick to remain a safe distance away from the vehicle in front of it. While traditional cruise control works well on the open road, adaptive cruise control can be useful when there may be some traffic.
When looking at these trims from the outside, some people may notice one difference in appearance. The Avenir has 20-inch aluminum wheels that look very sleek with a Pearl Nickel finish. Like the Essence, the Avenir has an available panoramic moonroof. It comes with a power sunshade, and the roof can be tilted or slid open to let in air. The extended length of the moonroof means that the rear-seat passengers can enjoy it just as much as those in front.
The more significant changes have been made to the Avenir's cabin. It has a 110-volt power outlet for convenience. It also has a nine-speaker Bose sound system. The audio is enhanced, thanks to AudioPilot technology that can make small adjustments to improve the quality of the sound. The Essence has a seven-speaker system. (The Preferred only has six speakers.)
This next point will likely be important to many prospective buyers. The Avenir is the only trim to come standard with navigation. Having navigation can make it much easier to find new locations and avoid traffic congestion.
In addition to the integrated navigation, the top-level trim has a head-up display. This advanced display projects key information onto the windshield, right in front of the driver. It's generally thought that putting information in this location can encourage drivers to keep their eyes forward. With a quick glance, someone can learn about potential issues, see who is calling them, and remain aware of other things.
In the rear of the Avenir, there's a cargo cover. This can provide some privacy as well as extra shade if there are groceries or other sun-sensitive items in the back. A cargo net and collapsible storage compartment are available in all trims to help with organization.
The seats in the Avenir are comfortable and upscale, especially considering that the driver's seat has a massage function. By offering massage, it can hopefully reduce fatigue on long trips and make the overall driving experience much more pleasant and peaceful.
Like the front seats, the Avenir's rear outboard seats are heated. People in the back will really appreciate this extra source of warmth. If the weather is particularly hot, the Avenir's front seats can be cooled since they have ventilation. Again, there are three levels that people can choose from.
A universal home remote is built into the Avenir. It can be programmed with three channels, and it can give people a convenient way to open up garage doors, turn on security systems, and wirelessly connect with other compatible devices.
One more bonus feature on the Avenir is wireless charging. With wireless charging, people don't have to worry about cords getting tangled or physically plugging in a charger. The compatible phone can just be placed on the charger. When it's time to leave the vehicle, the phone doesn't need to be unconnected in anyway; it can simply be picked up.
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Which Trim to Choose?
In some ways, the three trims of the 2021 Buick Envision are more similar than they are different. For instance, they all have the same level of performance, and all are available with front-wheel or all-wheel drive. Further, they have the same amount of interior space. Second-row leg room is pretty generous at 39.3 inches, and the maximum cargo capacity of over 50 cubic feet is nice to have.
When deciding which trim to get, it really comes down to preferences related to convenience, technology, and safety. If anyone wants the best of what's available, to include a head-up display, a 360-degree camera, and navigation, then the Avenir has to be trim to select. It can give people a treat with its heated and ventilated front seats, a driver's seat that can give a massage, and heated rear seats.
However, the Avenir is the only trim that costs more than $40,000. This may make it not very practical of a purchase for some buyers. That leaves the Essence and the Preferred, two trims that differ in price by about $6,000. That's a pretty significant amount that may push people towards the Preferred.
With its more affordable price, the Preferred can attract a lot of attention. It has plenty of high-end features, such as an advanced driver-assist package, touchscreen with smartphone compatibility, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and leather-wrapped steering wheel.
It is limited in some ways, though, and that's why the Essence would be the most recommended Envision trim. Its remote start capability, more advanced technology, numerous available options, and its hands-free liftgate are all advantages that people can appreciate on a daily basis.
• Compare the 2020 Buick Envision Trim Levels