The 2021 Buick Envision is a compact luxury crossover SUV with sleek styling and a beautiful interior. The Envision has all of modern Buick’s signature features, including a high performance, high efficiency forced induction engine, a complete driver assistance suite, and a powerful infotainment system. The Envision forms an overall package that is both attainable and luxurious while being incredibly easy to use and comfortable to be in. The interior has an upright and refined aura, while the engine and powertrain made each drive smooth and seamlessly comfy. This is the 2021 Buick Envision, and what makes it so appealing.
A Powerful Powertrain
A 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder powers the Envision, with power routed through a highly efficient nine-speed automatic transmission. This four-cylinder is something of a quiet General Motors workhorse, having given reliable service to dozens of different models over the past few decades. Like a dutiful butler, the engine has chauffeured passengers around in one vehicle or the other since the mid-1990s, always doing so in a dependable and smooth fashion.
Unlike a butler, however, this ECOTEC engine has been dramatically upgraded and reworked over the years. The engine that moved Saabs and Cadillacs around the world in the early 2000s bears little resemblance to the dramatically upgraded and decidedly technologically advanced power plant in the 2021 Envision.
As previously stated, the Envision’s ECOTEC displaces two liters and is an inline four-cylinder configuration. It uses a dual overhead cam configuration, which facilitates continuously variable valve timing on both the intake and exhaust valves. That dual overhead cam design also allows for a total of four valves per cylinder, which all have computer-controlled timing. The engine block and head are all made from high-pressure die-cast aluminum, and the cylinders themselves have a bore of 83 millimeters and a stroke of 92.3 millimeters. The engine’s throttle is drive-by-wire with complete electronic control, and fuel is delivered to the cylinders via high-pressure direct injection.
All of this technology allows for a maximum EPA rating of up to 31 miles per gallon on the highway while still producing 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. That horsepower number is greater than some sports cars, and getting up to 31 miles per gallon in a vehicle with almost two tons of luxury features integrated into it is quite the achievement.
These stats are achieved by the engine being so well optimized. The small two-liter displacement both satisfies global regulations and provides enough displacement for the turbocharger to provide the requisite horsepower. The dual overhead cam configuration of the valvetrain allows the Envision’s ECU to make adjustments to intake and exhaust valve timing instantly and many times per second, maximizing both efficiency and power by modulating the opening and closing of the valves while the engine runs and passes air through the four combustion chambers.
The electronic throttle allows for seamless and simple integration of throttle tuning and functions like cruise control, along with other more inventive features such as using differing amounts of throttle to manage how much boost the turbocharger makes. The all-aluminum nature of the engine dramatically cuts weight, improving all aspects of vehicle performance and efficiency by a moderate amount. Finally, the direct high-pressure injection of fuel into the cylinders cuts emissions and provides better fuel atomization, improving power.
The Envision’s engine is an impressive piece of equipment and calibration, and the transmission is no different. The automatic nine-speed transmission uses so many ratios so that it can keep the engine in its ideal operating RPM range at all times, meaning it no longer takes an expert driver to get the most out of an engine. This results not just in faster acceleration but better fuel economy in all conditions.
A Luxe Interior
The Envision’s interior is both sumptuous and sleek, with luxurious leather surfaces and upholstery. The controls are ergonomically placed and driver-focused, with everything at the pilot’s fingertips. The interior, in general, is beautiful, with sleek lines flowing into the dashboard and instrument cluster.
Speaking of the instrument cluster, it is an elegant mix of analog and digital readouts. The tachometer and speedometer are analog, as is tradition, but a full-color screen between the two gauges provides other driving information and is highly customizable per what the driver wants in terms of driving information. A Head-Up Display is available, along with a very large available 10.2-inch infotainment screen. This screen, integrated smoothly into the dashboard, runs the next-generation Buick Infotainment System. This system can integrate with Amazon’s Alexa, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
While the infotainment system has a variety of capabilities, from wireless music integration to navigation and more, what truly sets the system apart is the ability to use in-car apps. This dramatically expands the total capabilities of the vehicle.
Technology goes beyond electronics in the Envision. An air ionizer is available, which actively cleans the cabin air. Not only does this lend itself to a vehicle that always smells fresh, but it is also much safer for those with allergies. An advanced luxury feature recently introduced on the Envision is QuietTuning, which combines both active noise cancellation and strategically placed acoustic materials to make the Envision an oasis of calm at all times.
All of these technologies, not to mention an available panoramic moonroof and heated front seats, make the Envision a highly advanced luxury vehicle. Beyond that, though, it is also a vehicle with plenty of comfort and space for passengers and cargo. Put into statistical terms, the Envision has 52.7 cubic feet of maximum cargo capacity and very comfortably seats five.
A Smooth Ride
The chassis of the Envision is built to provide supreme comfort while making the vehicle easy to drive, all while being capable of carrying no small amount of cargo. Like most modern vehicles, the Envision is built with a unibody design that merges frame and body into a single efficient entity, improving all aspects of vehicle economy and performance.
Suspension-wise, the base Envision has a very well-tuned conventional suspension setup. In the front, there is a MacPherson strut with a direct acting stabilizer bar, while in the rear, a Five-link independent suspension system with a stabilizer bar smooths bumps and keeps the tires in perfect contact with the ground, even in intense driving situations. Continuous Damping Control is an available upgrade that magnetically varies the amount of suspension damping thousands of times per second, providing both extra grip and superior comfort.
A Vision of Luxury and Comfort
The Buick Envision makes previous crossover SUVs look old. Beautifully sleek styling and gorgeous interior design cues make even the first impressions of the vehicle desirable. Once one gets to know this Buick more, it does not disappoint. A powerful and efficient turbocharged engine ticks all the right boxes while being highly economical, and the nine-speed transmission puts all that power to good use. The interior is full of advanced technological innovations that somehow make life simpler and easier, while the chassis itself underpins a relaxing and refreshing driving experience. The 2021 Buick Envision redefines luxury for the 2020s, and all of that comes at an exceptionally affordable cost.