2017 Buick Envision

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2017 Buick Envision

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The 2017 Buick Envision is one of the newest small luxury SUVs vying for your attention. Despite its patriotic brand, it's actually as American as Peking duck. In fact, it's the first Chinese-made car from Detroit's Big Three to be sold in the United States. But as with the iPhone and countless other products we buy, that shouldn't prevent shoppers from considering this value-rich SUV.

Although it was introduced last year, 2017 is the first model year to feature the full Envision lineup of trim levels and engines. Essentially, the upper Premium I and Premium II trim levels are joined by a trio of lower trim levels that are still well-equipped despite their more reasonable price tags. They also come with a new base engine, a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine that produces 197 horsepower, which isn't that impressive for a small SUV with luxury aspirations. It comes standard with front-wheel drive, while all-wheel drive is optional. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 25 mpg combined (22 city/29 highway) with front-wheel drive, an unremarkable showing given the engine's uninspired output.

Opting for one of the Premium trims helps the situation considerably, as their 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine's output of 252 hp is far more competitive. All-wheel drive is standard with this engine, and it's a more advanced system that distributes power both fore/aft and left/right, depending on traction needs. EPA-estimated fuel economy is acceptable but again unremarkable at 22 mpg combined (20 city/26 highway).

What it lacks in powertrain excellence, however, the Envision makes up for with ample feature content. Even the base model comes standard with a hands-free power liftgate, parking sensors, heated front seats, an 8-inch touchscreen interface, two USB ports, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Many of these items are optional on pricier luxury SUVs, and the extra items included with the upper trim levels only enhance this bang-for-your-buck advantage. To get the latest high-tech safety equipment, though, you do have to spring for a top-of-the-line model.

Inside, the Envision features a modern design and thoughtful control placement. Materials quality is better than you might expect, although given its price tag, it shouldn't surprise you that it falls well short of what you'll find in an Audi, Lexus or Mercedes-Benz. Space may be an issue if you're looking for a roomy SUV. Although the rear seats can easily accommodate adults, cargo capacity behind those seats is merely average at 26.9 cubic feet, and the maximum capacity of 57.3 cubic feet is among the class worst.

As such, the 2017 Buick Envision is far from the SUV to beat in its segment. It provides abundant feature content for the money, but its space and powertrains leave much to be desired, while its overall refinement is bested by admittedly pricier luxury competitors. It could still be a smart choice for a savvy shopper, however, so make sure to research further on Edmunds to see if there might be an Envision that specifically meets your needs.