Since forever, Germans and Japanese automakers have always dominated the luxury crossover segment, but lately, GM also has something to say. Notably, its premium brand, Buick, announced the second-gen Envision in May 2020. Buick’s compact SUV is on sale from 2021, entering a tightly contested category.
The 2021 Buick Envision adopts a new design inside and out and new mechanicals. Compared to the previous model, it looks sleeker, sharper, more athletic, and much more futuristic. The interior also stands out, with the top-of-the-range Avenir trim ready to have a design and quality battle with the Audi Q5, BMW X3, and Mercedes-Benz GLC Class.
The complete redesign of the 2021 Envision’s flesh also led Buick to give it a new heart. However, unlike the last generation, Buick now offers the Envision with only one engine option—a new 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo producing 228 hp at 5000 rpm and 258 lb-ft of torque at 1500-4000 rpm. Meanwhile, a 9-speed automatic transmission send the power to either the front wheels (for the FWD configuration) or all four wheels (for the AWD configuration).
Although 7.3 seconds to reach 60 mph is a somewhat decent figure, it’s still not particularly thrilling compared to its equivalent German and Japanese rivals. An equally priced and fully loaded Mazda CX-5, for instance, would provide a quicker and much better driving experience with its more powerful engine, hitting the same mark in only 6.6 seconds.
The fuel economy is good, though, with a claimed 24/31 MPG city/highway on the FWD models and 22/29 MPG city/highway on the AWD models. With its 16.1-gallon fuel capacity, you can expect a range of 402 miles on a single tank.
The futuristic design of the 2021 Envision comes in a compact size. At 182.5-inches long, 74.1-inches wide, and 64.6-inches high, it positions itself at the smaller end when compared to rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz GLC Class and BMW X3.
Moreover, it has a wheelbase of 109.4 inches and a ground clearance of 6.7 inches, which should be fine enough to tackle some light off-roading.
Depending on the trim you go for, the car’s base curb weight varies from 3,692 lbs for the FWD trim and up to 3,932 lbs for the AWD trim.
There is enough room for five adults inside, despite the rather tight 100 cubic feet passenger volume. However, the shorter body length means the cargo space is also smaller than the previous generation, at 25 only cubic feet; although you can always fold down the rear seats to gain more luggage space.
The 2021 Envision comes in three trims—Preferred, Essence, and Avenir—and every trim is available in both FWD and AWD drivetrain configurations.
2021 Buick Envision Preferred
Starting price: FWD – $32,995, AWD – $34,795
The Preferred variant is now the base trim of the 2021 Envision. However, it comes with standard equipment expected from luxury crossovers.
As standard, the Envision Preferred comes with 18-inch silver-finished aluminum wheels, LED headlamps and taillamps, LED daytime running lights, heated power outside mirrors, roof rails, and rear parking sensors. Sadly, you get a manual liftgate instead of a hands-free power unit.
Inside, you get front bucket seats as standard, and you can choose between dark or beige leatherette. The 8-inch diagonal Buick infotainment system is complete with the latest wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration as standard. There is also ambient lighting, active noise cancellation system, power-adjustable front seats, 12-volt auxiliary power outlet at the front and cargo area, a six-speaker audio system, HD rear vision camera, auto-dimming rearview mirror, keyless entry, push-button start, and OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot as standard.
2021 Buick Envision Essence
Starting price: FWD – $36,995, AWD – $38,795
The Essence is the middle trim with slightly more features unlocked.
On top of the Preferred trim features, the Essence variant also brings a hands-free power liftgate, remote ignition, and fancier metallic finished wheels.
The real upgrades from the lower trim are on the inside. The seats are now perforated and leather-appointed. Moreover, there is the inclusion of the Comfort and Convenience Package, which includes a larger 10.2-inch diagonal Buick infotainment system, a 7-speaker audio system with amplifier, heated steering wheel, air quality indicator, and an in-vehicle air purifier for additional peace of mind during the COVID-19 pandemic season. There is also a dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, and memory functions on the driver’s seat that comes as standard on top of the Preferred trim’s features.
2021 Buick Envision Avenir
Starting price: FWD – $41,395, AWD – $43,195
The Avenir variant is the top trim, coming with even more premium features as standard.
The Envision Avenir features bigger and dasher 20-inch aluminum wheels and front parking sensors on top of the Essence trim’s features.
With features carried over from the Essence, the Avenir is fitted with Buick’s Technology Package I, including a head-up display, surround-view camera system, universal home remote, a satellite navigation system, HD Radio, and a 9-speaker Bose® audio system.
There are also nice add-ons, such as a household-style 110-volt power outlet, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, massage function for the driver’s seat, and a wireless charging pad.
Safety and Driver Assistance
As standard, all trims come with Buick Driver Confidence Plus featuring nine advanced safety and driver-assistance technologies. These include an Automatic Emergency Braking, Front Pedestrian Braking, Forward Collision Alert, Rear Park Assist, Following Distance Indicator, Intellibeam® headlamp system, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert.
Moreover, 10 Airbags, an electronic stability control system with traction control, tire pressure monitoring system, and cruise control are also standard.
Sport Touring Package
Buick’s Sport Touring Package is available only on the Preferred and Essence trims. It features 20-inch dark finished alloys, a dark finished grille, black roof rails, and a rear cargo compartment cover.
Technology Package I
Although the Technology Package I is standard on the Avenir, you can also get it on the Essence for a premium.
Technology Package II
Meanwhile, you can also upgrade the Avenir trim with the more advanced Technology Package II, including adaptive suspensions, adaptive cruise control, adaptive headlights, automated parking system, enhanced AEB, enhanced rear camera mirror, and welcome/walkaway animation.
Comfort and Convenience Package
Additional information worth mentioning is that the Comfort and Convenience Package available as standard in the Essence trim is also available on the Preferred trim.
There is also a panoramic power moonroof option on the Essence and Avenir trims for an extra $1,450, which is worthy in such a posh-looking SUV.
Lastly, exclusive in the Essence trim is a stylish-looking 20-inch dual-tone aluminum wheels option that costs $800, worth it if you go for this trim due to its elegant looks.
Buick is very kind to secure their 2021 Envision customers with a limited warranty of up to four years/50,000 miles, a powertrain warranty of up to six years/70,000 miles, and complimentary scheduled maintenance coverage on the first visit.
Buick has made a great effort in making the second-gen Envision a worthy successor. It is a step towards seeing better Buick vehicles in the future.
For now, it may be hard to justify why one should choose the Envision, though. With the price of the Avenir trim, it’s already well into Mercedes-Benz GLC Class and BMW X3 territory, which are far more refined options.
Nonetheless, if you like the posh design of the 2021 Envision and do not mind the bland driving experience, the fairly-priced Essence trim with some add-ons is the one to go for.
|Sport Utility Vehicle
|Horsepower @ RPM
|228 @ 5000
|Torque @ RPM
|258 @ 1500-4000
|Fuel Economy – City
|Fuel Economy – Hwy
|Fuel Economy – Combined
|Passenger volume (cu.ft.)
|Cargo volume (cu.ft.)
|Curb weight (lbs)
Wheels & Tires
|18 x -TBD-