2021 Buick Envision
The 2021 Buick Envision was redesigned for 2021, and with Buick’s attempts to appeal to younger buyers, the Envision has a much more captivating design than the outgoing model.
The Envision is the best-looking GM vehicle in this class. As far as exterior design goes Chevy’s Equinox utilitarian, GMC’s Terrain is boxy, and Cadillac’s XT4 is conservative. This leaves the sporty spot for the Envision.
The nose is long and low with multiple creases in the hood creating a sporty and powerful look. The grill is large, but not overly so, with plenty of cooling for the turbo 4-cylinder.
The ST package adds a variety of blackout features including the wheels, mirrors, grill, window trim, and roof rails. It also includes body colored door handles. All these features tie in nicely for an attractive appearance with reduced chrome. However, there are still a few pieces of chrome adorning the badges and a bar across the upper portion of the grill.
Inside, the Buick Envision is nicely appointed. The perforated leather seats are comfortable and have plenty of room for four occupants to fit comfortably, the middle rear seat is a little cramped for an adult.
Steering wheel shape and controls are similar to what’s offered on many vehicles in the GM lineup, but it does include paddle shifters.
Keeping devices charged, up front there are a couple of USB ports, as well as two for the rear seats on the back of the center console.
For infotainment, the Buick Envision Essence gets a 10.2-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with wireless connectivity. Included in the Technology Package are a nine speaker audio system, navigation, and the head-up display, along with a variety of additional features.
The cargo area is fairly small with just enough room for luggage for 4 or 5 people with the rear seats up. However, the rear seats fold flat to provide nearly 53-cubic-feet of cargo volume. Part of the Sport Touring package includes a cargo cover which hides cargo from onlookers. Additionally, there are lights on either side of the cargo area below the cover so that items can be found in the dark even with the cover in place.
There is additional storage under the cargo floor around where the spare tire is located. This is good for additional tools or other emergency supplies.
To secure cargo, there are a couple of hooks for grocery bags, and tie down points on either side on the lower walls of the cargo opening.
Driving the Envision
Only one engine is available in the Envision for 2021, and that is a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four with 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This engine runs power through a 9-speed automatic transmission. Front wheel drive is standard with AWD being an optional upgrade.
This engine delivers an adequate 0-60 mph time in the mid 7-second range. It never feels fast, but it is certainly peppy and responsive around town. The only real issue is starting from a stop and merging into faster moving traffic. Due to turbo lag, power takes a second to build. This means more space is needed to get up to speed.
Suspension is more about ride comfort than performance, which is better for most daily drivers anyway. It still has the typical thump that most front wheel drive vehicles get when passing over larger holes and bumps. One of the only front wheel drive vehicles we’ve driven that didn’t have this issue was the Lexus ES hybrid we tested last year.
The Buick Envision Essence FWD starts at $35,800. Our tester was equipped with three options; Technology Package, which includes the Head-Up Display, HD Surround Vision and a plethora of other items for $2,500, Sport Touring Package, which is mostly a dark themed appearance package for $1,325, and the Cinnabar Metallic paint for $495. Adding in the destination charge of $1,195 brings the total to $41,315.
GM purchased too many brands and was heavily competing with itself for many years. This ultimately ended in the demise of Oldsmobile, Pontiac, and Saturn, but somehow Buick made it through. Now GM is making a large effort to bring Buick back into the spotlight. This is being done by delivering very nicely equipped and great driving vehicles directed at a younger buyer. The 2021 Envision is a good sign that they are heading in the right direction.
Matthew Barnes is an experienced towing expert. He works as a mechanical engineer and his day job involves testing a variety of vehicles while towing trailers of all types and sizes. Matt shares his knowledge by writing for automotive news outlets in the evenings. When he’s not working he can be found spending time in the great outdoors with his family. He enjoys camping, hiking, canyoneering, and backpacking. Whenever possible he spends time riding in or on any power sports vehicle he can find and claims he can drive anything with a motor, which probably isn’t true.