2013 was a great year for Buick . GM’s mid-level luxury brand sold a little over one million vehicles worldwide, topping a sales record that dates back to 1984. Deliveries of the Encore and Enclave models were decisive for the company’s growth, which is why Buick is adding a third crossover to its lineup as we move into the 2015 model year. Dubbed Envision, the new hauler slots between the Encore and the Enclave , in an already packed segment.
Launched on the Chinese market at first, with a North American release likely to follow for the 2016 model year, the Buick Envision comes with a couple of segment-first features. Additionally, the new crossover marks a premier for the brand, being the first Buick-badged vehicle to sport an Off-Road driving mode.
As with most GM vehicles built and launched in China, the Envision is powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder unit that comes with decent output figures and a brand-new six-speed automatic transmission. The crossover promises to deliver class-leading fuel economy of nearly 27 mpg combined. Read on for the full details.
Updated 09/01/2014: Buick unveiled a series of new images and details on the new Envision. Click past the jump for more details.
Click past the jump to read more about the Buick Envision
The waterfall grille, the wing-style xenon headlamps, and the boomerang-shaped LED daytime lights make the Envision look like a shrunken Enclave
Loosely based on the Buick Envision Concept that was introduced in 2011, the production Envision borrows the study’s muscular profile and hood. From the front, the Envision is a toned down version of the concept, with many of its styling cues mirroring the current Buick language.
The waterfall grille, the wing-style xenon headlamps, and the boomerang-shaped LED daytime lights make the Envision look like a shrunken Enclave, currently Buick’s larger crossover. Only minor details such as the foglamp housings and the lower front apron set it apart as a brand-new model. That’s not a bad thing, however, as the Enclave carries one of the more attractive design in the crossover market.
Around back, the Envision features large, LED taillights. A chrome trim that includes the Buick logo resides right between them, while the curved rear glass reminds us of the other two crossovers in the company’s lineup. From the side, the Envision has gained its own design, incorporating styling cues not seen on either the Enclave or Encore. The profile is highlighted by a prominent line going across the doors and toward the taillights, just under the waist, while a deep character line further emphasizes the lower body.
Five exterior colors are available for the crossover: Snowy White, Glacier Silver, Pearl Black, Topaz Brown and Sky Purple. 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels come standard.
While the Envision’s exterior won’t drive anyone crazy, its interior comes with many segment firsts
While the Envision’s exterior won’t drive anyone crazy, its interior comes with many segment firsts. Buick brags about a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel and active noise cancellation technology, both introduced for the first time in this segment.
Other than that, the cabin features the company’s already familiar 360-degree integrated design complemented by a bevy of new elements. The "streamlined" dashboard includes a left-tilted center console, an eight-inch color touchscreen with classy Black Piano trim surrounds, and chrome trim details all around.
Buick brags about a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel and active noise cancellation technology, both introduced for the first time in this segment
The center console area is wrapped in leather, as are the split center armrest and a large portion of the door panels. In the vehicle shown above, most leather surfaces come in Burgundy, a color that adds a dash of style and lightness compared to the regular black. Speaking of lightness, the Envision is also fitted with a large panoramic sunroof that includes an electronically operated sunshade. If you’re looking for a darker cabin, Buick also offers a Swallowtail Black interior with Piano Black accents and French-style dual stitching.
Its 2,750mm (108.3-inch) wheelbase promises a lot of legroom, especially in the rear compartment. The crossover’s split rear seats fold flat and can slide forward or backward to provide up to 1,550 liters (54.7 cubic feet) of space for carrying cargo.
The Flex-Ride system offered on the Envision brings four driving modes - Normal, Tour, Sport, and Off-Road. Convenience features include Park Assist and Lane Departure Warning.
Mated to a brand-new 6-speed automatic transmission and a permanent all-wheel-drive system, the 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine is rated at 256 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque
The Buick Envision will be launched with GM’s familiar turbocharged, 2.0-liter, four-banger under the hood. Mated to a brand-new six-speed automatic transmission and a permanent all-wheel-drive system, the unit is rated at 256 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Already a fuel sipper, the four-pot comes with stop/start technology for even better fuel economy. GM promises a combined fuel economy of 8.8 liters/100km on the Chinese cycle, which would mean nearly 27 mpg combined in United States.
More powertrains are likely to be introduced later in the crossover’s life cycle, including a smaller, turbocharged four-cylinder in China and maybe a V-6 for the U.S. market.
The Envision also comes with a new, intelligent all-wheel-drive system. Offered for the first time by General Motors, the system features two electronically controlled multi-plate clutches in the rear axle and provides a variable front-to-rear torque split and a 0:100 100:0 rear torque split. Buick claims this AWD unit is more responsive, flexible and efficient, and delivers enhanced ride comfort and dynamics when compared to conventional all-wheel-drive systems.
|Engine||2.0-liter inline-four cylinder|
|Transmission||Six-speed automatic transmission|
|0 to 62 mph||8.4 seconds|
|Top speed||130 mph (estimated)|
The Buick Envision rides on a MacPherson strut front suspension, an updated, fully independent four-link rear suspension, and a full front subframe. The chassis gives the crossover rigidity and precise handling, while an Off-Road mode that enables drivers to use the vehicle on "slippery, unstable or bumpy surfaces".
Pricing has yet to be released as of 09/01/2014, but more details should become available as the vehicle is getting close to its on-sale date. The crossover will only become available in China at first, but a U.S. introduction is very likely next year.
A tad shorter than the Terrain (4.1 inches), the Buick Envision seems luxurious enough to compete against the rebodied Chevrolet Equinox. Launched in 2009 and facelifted for the 2013 model year, the Terrain has already established itself as a rugged-looking and powerful crossover. The boxy, yet muscular exterior is complemented by a clean interior that’s user-friendly and easy to look at. The seats are wrapped in two-tone leather, while a satin metal trim adds signals the Terrain is the Equinox’s luxurious brother. The laundry list of standard interior features includes a tilt and telescopic steering wheel, premium front seats, and a six-speaker audio system.
Power is provided by either a 2.4-liter inline-four or a 3.6-liter V-6. The four-banger generates a reasonable 182 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque and returns up to 32 mpg on the highway and 22 mpg in the city. The brawnier unit is rated at 301 ponies and 272 pound-feet. While the V-6 is obviously the more exciting engine of the two, its fuel economy drops to 24 mpg in the city and 17 mpg on the highway. The 2014 Terrain retails from $27,390, but it can fetch more than $36,000 in Denali trim.
Gallery GMC Terrain
Unveiled in 2013, the third-generation Toyota Highlander arrived in showrooms with a series of new features, including an updated exterior designed, a refined interior and a new six-speed automatic with sequential shift for the V-6 models. Although it’s not as fancy as the Terrain, the Highlander can be equipped with a bevy of premium interior features such as perforated leather seats and leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. The chrome and wood inserts spread throughout the cabin offer the Japanese crossover a more luxurious feeling.
Three engine are available in the Highlander. The base model is powered by a 2.7-liter four-pot that delivers 185 horsepower and 184 pound-feet, while the range-topping gasoline version comes with a 270-pony and 248-pound-feet, 3.5-liter V-6 under the hood. Lastly, a hybrid version pairing the V6 and a high-torque electric motor pumps a total of 280 horsepower. The sticker is set at $29,020, while the top-of-the-league Platinum models can cost more than $42,000. The hybrid models are priced from $47,300.
Gallery Toyota Highlander
Given the success achieved with the Encore and Enclave, especially in China but in the United States as well, it was only natural for Buick to add another crossover to its lineup. Fortunately, the Envision is not just filling a gap, as it comes with features of its own and a couple of segment firsts. Granted, the Envision joins a tough market with many potent competitors, but if Buick plays it cards right, we could be looking at yet another successful Trishield-badged crossover.
- Appealing exterior design
- Segment first features
- Premium interior
- Off-Road mode
- Only one engine (for now)
- U.S. availability not yet confirmed
- Pricing not yet released
Gallery Buick Envision
Press Release 8/29/2014
Shanghai GM Launches Buick Envision
Marks brand’s entrance into China’s premium midsize SUV segment
CHENGDU - Shanghai GM officially launched the Buick Envision premium midsize SUV today in Chengdu. Four variants are being offered – the AWD Elite, AWD Luxury, AWD Versatile Flagship and AWD Versatile Sporty Flagship.
All four variants have a stylish design, premium and comfortable interior, outstanding safety configuration, class-leading features, and smooth handling.
"The Envision is a versatile SUV and an important component of Shanghai GM’s SUV strategy," said Wang Yongqing, President of Shanghai GM. "Designed for social elites, it offers an unmatched experience in the premium midsize SUV segment. It complements the Enclave and Encore in Buick’s SUV portfolio."
Dynamic and Premium Design
The Envision carries forward the design essence of the Buick Envision concept vehicle, reflecting Buick’s modern design language. The design is stylish and sporty. It comes with a new intelligent drag-reducing grille, wing-style front and rear lights with LED lamps inside, curved flank lines, 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels, an aluminum alloy luggage rack and a wing-shaped spoiler.
It is offered in five exterior colors: Snowy White, Glacier Silver, Pearl Black, Topaz Brown and Sky Purple.
The Envision adopts Buick’s signature 360-degree integrated interior design. With its driver-friendly center console, all controls are within easy reach. Customers have a choice of a Burgundy or Swallowtail Black interior. Black piano accents create a premium effect. French-style dual stitching further accentuates the model’s elegance.
The Envision measures 4,667 mm in length, 1,839 mm in width and 1,696 mm in height, and rides on a wheelbase of 2,750 mm. This gives it a roomy interior. Its split rear seats fold flat and can slide forward or backward to provide up to 1,550 liters of space for carrying cargo. In addition, there are 24 storage compartments.
Powerful and Efficient Powertrain
The Envision comes with GM’s latest-generation 2.0T direct injection turbocharged engine. The engine was named one of Ward’s 10 Best Engines for 2013. It generates maximum power of 191 kW at 5,500 rpm and peak torque of 353 Nm at 5,300 rpm, with power per liter reaching 95.5 kW/L. The capable powerplant takes the Envision from 0 to 100 km/h in 8.4 seconds.
The engine is mated to GM’s all-new six-speed DSS intelligent transmission, which is smooth, responsive and efficient. The Envision is the only vehicle in its segment that comes with the engine start/stop system as standard across its lineup. It supports class-leading combined fuel economy of 8.8 L/100 km.
Buick Intelligent All-Wheel Drive
The Envision also comes with a new, intelligent all-wheel-drive system, which provides a variable front-to-rear torque split and a 0:100 100:0 rear torque split. Offered for the first time by GM, this system features two electronically controlled multi-plate clutches in the rear axle automatically distribute torque from the front to rear wheels and between the rear wheels as needed. This makes it more responsive, flexible and efficient, and provides a more exceptional driving experience with enhanced ride comfort and dynamics than conventional all-wheel-drive systems.
The Envision’s chassis consists of a MacPherson strut front suspension, an optimized and fully independent four-link rear suspension, and a full front subframe. This gives the SUV exceptional rigidity and precise handling. The class-leading FlexRide system provides four selectable driving modes – Normal, Tour, Sport and Off-Road – for a personalized driving experience.
High-Strength Structure and All-New Intelligent Safety System
In line with Buick’s focus on safety, 75 percent of the Envision’s body is made of high-strength steel, with 13 percent made of ultra-high-strength steel. Key areas such as the A-pillar, B-pillar, roof and driver’s foot fender are made of ultra-high-strength hot-pressed steel. Door plates are four times stronger than those made of ordinary steel.
The Envision comes with Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane-Keeping Assist, Following Distance Indicator, Forward Collision Alert, Collision Mitigation Braking, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and intelligent headlights.
It also comes with anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, electronic stability control, a traction control system and Hill Start Assist as standard across the line. Options include Hill Descent Control, OnStar and the Automatic Parking Assist system.
Cutting-Edge Technology and Customer-Friendly Amenities
The Envision is equipped with an advanced connectivity system, which is a human-computer interactive platform specifically designed for Buick. The system connects the vehicle with people and their smartphones. It includes an eight-inch high-definition touchscreen, multifunctional buttons on the steering wheel, a touchpad and voice control.
The Envision is the first vehicle in its segment in China to come standard with Active Noise Cancellation technology, which reads sound waves through microphones inside the vehicle and produces an opposite sound wave from speakers to counteract it. The vehicle also employs Buick’s state-of-the-art Quiet-Tuning® technology, which reduces, blocks or absorbs noise. These technologies include the use of liquid applied sound dampers (LASD). Compared with traditional sound insulating pads, LASD are not only lighter and greener, but also deliver better sound-proofing and shock-absorbing performance.
High-tech elements can also be seen in the Envision’s amenities and functions. For example, the all-new intelligent drag-reducing intake grille shuts automatically to lower wind drag and reduce fuel consumption when the vehicle starts or operates at high speeds. The rear power liftgate can be completely or partially opened by adjusting the opening height in three levels. The top-of-the-line Envision variant features a foot-sensing function to allow hands-free opening of the liftgate.
Other amenities include a standard large panoramic sunroof; front power seats with heating, cooling and ventilation functions; and a heated sport steering wheel.
SHANGHAI – Shanghai GM has published photos of the all-new Buick Envision premium midsize SUV, which will make its premiere in Chengdu on August 28.
The Envision combines Buick’s signature 360-degree integrated design with several new interior styling elements, including a driver-friendly left-tilted center console. Black piano trim surrounds the Envision’s eight-inch color touchscreen, giving the instrument panel a streamlined, modern feel. Chrome trim clearly delineates various functional areas.
The area beneath the center console is wrapped in burgundy leather accentuated by French-style dual stitching. It includes thoughtfully arranged shift knobs and heating and air conditioning controls. The split center armrest has ample space for personal belongings with a USB port. The refinement extends to the materials used on the door panels and rear passenger space.
The Envision comes with a comfortable leather-wrapped three-spoke sport steering wheel with a segment-first heating element to keep drivers’ hands warm on chilly days. Buttons and knobs on both sides of the steering wheel allow the driver to activate cruise control, play music and make Bluetooth phone calls while keeping their hands on the wheel. The light yet rigid seats have an ergonomic design that provides premium support and comfort.
Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) is also a segment-first feature in the Envision. It works with the Bose sound system to cancel out incoming noise and deliver a home-theater-like listening experience. Ice-blue ambient lighting adds to the serene environment.
The FlexRide system in the Envision offers a choice of four driving modes: Normal, Tour, Sport and Off-Road. The Off-Road mode, available for the first time in a Buick model, is ideal for driving on slippery, unstable or bumpy surfaces. The Envision also comes equipped with parking assist, engine start/stop and lane departure warning.
A large panoramic sunroof with a sunshade that shuts electronically to block out light gives the cabin a spacious feel. The rear lift gate can be completely or partially opened to make it more convenient for loading and unloading cargo.