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The Envision is a Buick SUV that fits in between the Encore and the Enclave in the lineup. This five-seater, which won over many drivers in its first generation, is finally ready to launch its second generation. The 2021 Buick Envision has been completely redesigned, and many of the changes are improvements. There are still a few areas that this SUV falls behind, however. Overall, is this an option worth taking for a test drive? Let's see how the positives compare with the negatives.
What's New for 2021?
Practically everything about the new Envision is different when compared to the outgoing model. The vehicle now has more horsepower than before, thanks to its standard turbocharged engine. Its body is both wider and longer as well. Also significant are the technology upgrades made for the 2021 model of the Envision. Not all the changes are welcome, however, with the 2021 model having less cargo space than before.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2021 Buick Envision – The Pros
1. Quiet Cabin at Any Speed
Some drivers seem to be able to tune out wind and road noise without an issue. This is not true of everyone, however. If you are someone who gets sick of turning the radio up to drown out the noise, you will love the Envision. With its standard noise cancellation technology, the cabin of this SUV stays nice and quiet at any speed.
2. Wireless Versions of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay Standard
For new vehicles, particularly luxury ones, having smartphone integration features is a given. The Envision takes the convenience of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay to the next level by giving drivers wireless versions of them both. This means you have one less thing to remember to grab, as well as fewer things cluttering up your cabin. Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard on all trim levels. Other handy tech features include a Wi-Fi hotspot and satellite radio.
3. Comfortable and Supportive Seats
The Envision is an ideal SUV for long road trips, thanks to its comfortable seats. The cabin is spacious in both rows, and the seats offer ample support. While the Preferred trim is comfortable, higher trims are even more so. The Essence trim and higher have perforated leather upholstery, and the front seats are both heated and power-adjustable. For the Avenir, the rear seats gain heat as well, and the front seats have a massaging feature. One of the most common complaints about the outgoing Envision involved the comfort of the seating, or lack thereof, making this a significant improvement.
4. Brand New Top Avenir Trim
The 2021 Buick Envision is more luxurious than ever before, particularly if you choose the top Avenir model. It has diamond-perforated leather seating surfaces, along with head-turning 20-inch alloy wheels. This model also has several tech and safety upgrades, including a head-up display and a premium sound system. The Envision Avenir further gives you a 10.2-inch touchscreen, integrated navigation, and HD radio. It is the only trim to offer adaptive cruise control and an automated parking assist system.
5. Safety Suite is Loaded with Features
It is not terribly uncommon to find advanced safety features standard on SUVs today. The Envision has more than average, however. A few highlights include automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, blind-spot monitoring, front pedestrian detection, and rear park assist. A safety alert seat, which vibrates to alert you to potential dangers, is standard on all models as well. HD surround vision, which gives you an overhead image of your vehicle by utilizing several cameras, is available on select 2021 Envision models.
6. New, Sharper Exterior Style
The new 2021 Envision looks more stylish and sporty than previous models. It is lower to the ground, as well as wider. The result is an SUV that looks more like a sleek sports car. There are plenty of LED lights standard as well, including the daytime running lights and taillamps. The exterior also has useful features, such as standard heated and power-adjustable side mirrors. A panoramic power moonroof is available for the Essence and Avenir models.
7. Available Amazone Alexa Compatibility
Select models are compatible with Amazon Alexa. This popular technology unlocks remote features for the Envision, among other things. You simply need to download the myBuick skill on your Amazon Alexa device, and then you can use your voice to start, stop, lock, or unlock your SUV. Those who live in certain areas can even arrange to have packages delivered to the inside of their Envision.
8. Rear Camera Mirror Available on Select Trims
Most drivers have dealt with the frustration of loading up their cargo area and discovering that they can't see out of their rearview mirror at least one time in their life. The available rear camera mirror solves this problem. It displays a video feed directly onto the mirror, giving you a wider and unobstructed view. This feature comes with a washing feature to ensure that dirt and grime do not get in the way either.
9. Electronic Precision Shift
Rather than having a traditional gear shift lever, which takes up valuable space, the Envision utilizes what is known as an electronic precision shift. The buttons are simple to get used to, and you may find yourself wondering how you ever drove without them. As a bonus, space opened up by not having a shift lever gives the Envision a recess for USB-A and USB-C ports to nestle inside. You are left with a convenient place to charge your smartphone that is out of the way.
10. Available with Air Ionizer and Air Quality Indicator
Available on the Preferred and standard on the higher two trims is an air ionizer. It acts to purify the air quality inside the cabin, filtering out dust and dirt that makes its way inside. For added peace of mind, there is also an air quality indicator so that you can see that the air ionizer is truly working and breathe a bit easier.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2021 Buick Envision – The Cons
1. Only One Available Engine/No Hybrid Option
Although the new engine produces a satisfying 230-horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, it would be nice to also have a hybrid option. Many competitors offer a more powerful engine option, as well as a hybrid powertrain, to broaden their appeal. This is something that Buick will want to consider for the near future.
2. Poor Fuel Economy Estimates
Perhaps people would be more forgiving of the lack of a hybrid option if the standard engine was impressive in its efficiency. This is sadly not the case. With front-wheel drive, you can expect 24mpg city and 31mpg highway. Upgrading to all-wheel drive will mean getting 22mpg city and 29mpg highway. It is easy to find more efficient rivals. On the other hand, it is worth noting that the 2021 Envision does better in this category than its predecessor.
3. Reduced Cargo Capacity After Redesign
Despite the bigger footprint of the new Envision, the cargo hold is smaller than the 2020 model. With the seats up, there are 25.2 cubic feet. With them down, there are 52.7. This is approximately five fewer cubic feet than before and less than what is offered by most competitors.
4. Low Towing Capability
The midsize luxury SUV market is not known for its towing capability. That said, the Envision falls a bit behind. Properly equipped models top out at just 1,500 pounds. In comparison, select models of the XC60 can bring along up to 3,500 pounds.
How it Stacks Up to the Competition:
2021 Buick Envision vs. 2021 Lincoln Corsair
The Lincoln Corsair is a popular choice in the midsize luxury SUV market. It is quite a bit more expensive, however. The fuel economy is a little worse as well. On the bright side, the Corsair is more spacious. It offers more room for passengers to relax, as well as a noticeable amount of extra cargo space.
2021 Buick Envision vs. 2021 Volvo XC60
There are many reasons to fall in love with the XC60. It offers several powertrains, including a hybrid. Keep in mind that the XC60 requires premium fuel, however. On the positive side, the XC60 has much more cargo space. One of the biggest reasons to choose the Envision over the XC60 is the price. The starting price of the XC60 is approximately $9,000 more than that of the Envision, something that will make many buyers hesitate.
Overall, the 2021 Buick Envision is an excellent SUV. It has the high-tech features that today's families are after, as well as a comfortable cabin. Although the downsides are significant, they are not going to be enough to deter most buyers. Moving forward, Buick will want to consider adding a hybrid powertrain and potentially tweaking the body so that the Envision can offer more cargo space. In the meantime, the 2021 Envision is a smart buy for most families.
• Why buy a 2020 Buick Envision? w/ pros vs cons