2016 Buick Envision Review
Pros & Cons
- Comes with more features than similarly priced compact SUVs
- impressively quiet interior when driving on the highway
- manageable size makes it easy to drive and maneuver.
- Cargo capacity is merely average for the segment
- no lower-priced and lesser-equipped trim levels available for now.
Edmunds' Expert Review
The 2016 Buick Envision gives you plenty of features at a reasonable price. If you're looking for a small crossover SUV that's nicer than mainstream fare but still friendly on your wallet, the Envision might be a good option to consider.
The "Made in China" label has finally made it to an automobile sold in the United States. Would you have guessed it's a Buick? It's true. The new 2016 Buick Envision hails from across the Pacific. But we wouldn't get overly worked up over that fact one way or another. Automotive manufacturing is fully globalized, and China just so happens to be where General Motors is building it. You could say the same about the iPhone, and that hasn't stopped too many people from buying them.
More importantly, the Buick Envision is a vehicle to check out if you're more interested in value for the money than brand prestige or the uppermost levels of refinement and luxury. This is Buick's third crossover SUV, filling in the gap between the pint-sized Encore and plus-sized Enclave. Although lower priced trim levels will arrive with next year's model, for now the Envision will only be available in Premium I and II trims that come with far more standard equipment than other base versions of rival crossovers. Value is strong under the hood as well, as every Envision features all-wheel drive and a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces compelling power for the segment.
We haven't fully tested the 2016 Envision yet, but our initial impressions are positive. While checking out other small luxury crossovers such as the Acura RDX, Cadillac XT5, Lexus NX 200t and Lincoln MKC is going to be a wise idea, this new Buick could very well be worth checking out.
2016 Buick Envision models
The 2016 Buick Envision is a small luxury SUV that seats five people. For 2016, only two trim levels are offered: Premium I and Premium II.
Standard equipment on the Premium I includes 19-inch wheels, automatic headlights, LED accent lights, automatic wipers, a hands-free power liftgate, front and rear parking sensors, roof rails, auto-dimming heated mirrors and keyless ignition and entry. Inside, you get tri-zone automatic climate control, heated eight-way power front seats (with power lumbar adjustment), driver memory settings, a heated 60/40 split-folding rear seat (it also slides and reclines), leather upholstery, a heated tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
Standard technology features include a rearview camera, forward collision warning system, lane departure warning and intervention, blind-spot monitoring, OnStar (with on-board 4G LTE connectivity), the Intellilink 8-inch touchscreen interface, Bluetooth, four charge-only USB ports (two front, two rear) and a seven-speaker Bose sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB media player interface. Navigation functionality can be added to the standard Intellilink interface as an option.
The Premium II adds an automatic parking system (parallel and perpendicular), adaptive and automatic leveling xenon headlights, automatic high beams, a head-up display, ventilated front seats, manual driver seat thigh adjustment, and navigation functionality added to the standard Intellilink interface. The optional Driver Confidence package adds adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking and a surround-vision parking camera system.
A panoramic sunroof can be added to both trim levels.
Performance & mpg
Every 2016 Buick Envision comes with all-wheel drive, a six-speed automatic transmission and a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 252 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque.
EPA-estimated fuel economy is 22 mpg combined (20 mpg city/26 mpg highway), which is average for the segment.
Standard safety equipment is abundant with typical items like antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and front knee airbags augmented by a variety of high-tech items. These include warnings for forward collision, blind spot, rear cross-traffic and lane departure, along with lane keeping assist. Automatic emergency braking is including in the Premium II's Driver Confidence package. Also standard is OnStar emergency communications, which includes automatic crash notification, an emergency call button and stolen vehicle locater.
Turbocharged four-cylinder engines are becoming more popular for this class, and the 2016 Buick Envision's is satisfying. It's 252 hp is enough to give you the confidence to easily merge onto the highway and pass slower traffic. Buick doesn't offer an upgrade engine for the Envision but we think most shoppers will be satisfied with what's under the hood.
A sophisticated all-wheel-drive system is standard with this engine and it automatically applies power to the appropriate wheel in order to maximize traction. From behind the wheel, it's operation is undetectable but it does help with getting the most in wet-weather conditions as well as helping you accelerate confidently around turns.
Even over broken pavement, the 2016 Envision tracks unfazed along the intended path, filtering out most of the road imperfections before they reach occupants. Overall, the Envision is easy to drive and is as capable and comfortable as its main competitors.
Since the only trim levels for 2016 are essentially loaded, every Buick Envision boasts abundant features and handsome materials that are especially highlighted by multiple two-tone color schemes and distinctive wood trim. It's a premium environment to be sure, though after a brief inspection, we think most rivals in the segment are ultimately of a higher overall quality.
The Intellilink touchscreen interface is generally user-friendly and features crisply rendered icons along with the unique standard 4G LTE data connectivity and mobile Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility will not be added until the 2017 model year arrives.
In terms of back seat space, the Envision is in the middle of the compact luxury SUV pack. The 60/40 split bench's sliding functionality is a welcome feature, though, as it allows you to scoot the seat forward to maximize luggage space or bring the kids and their runny noses closer. You can also scoot it all the way back to keep their kicking feet well clear of the front seats.
With 26.9 cubic feet of space with the back seat raised and 57.3 cubic feet with it lowered, the Envision has one of the smaller cargo capacities in the segment. However, we have yet to fully test it to see how that translates into real-world functionality -- sometimes measurements can be deceptive.