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Auto review: First drive: 2019 Buick Envision cuts prices up to $2,400, adds power

Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Automotive News

ATLANTA -- Buick's popular Envision five-passenger compact SUV gets more power and lower prices for 2019.

The upgraded Envision, which goes on sale in April, also adds a nine-speed automatic transmission and a button to turn off its fuel-saving auto-stop feature.

The average price decrease for 2019 is about $2,000, while prices for the midlevel Preferred model drop $2,400.

The Envision has become Buick's No. 3 seller since it debuted in the second half of 2016. Buick executives think it will eventually pass the larger Enclave to become the brand's No. 2, trailing only the smaller Encore SUV.

Exterior changes are minimal, including a new grille, LED headlights and optional 19-inch wheels.

The 2.0L turbocharged engine adds 35 pound-feet of torque to 295 at 3,000-4000 r.p.m. for better acceleration. Horsepower is unchanged at 252 at 5,500 r.p.m. The base 2.5L engine and six-speed automatic transmission are unchanged.

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Buick was able to boost torque thanks to the addition of GM's new nine-speed automatic transmission.

The extra torque is noticeable in acceleration around town. The transmission, which is becoming a mainstay across GM's model line, shifts smoothly, with no hunting among gears.

Buick added a button to disable the stop-start feature that shuts the engine off at stoplights and other times when the vehicle is idling. GM's stop-start system is one of the least noticeable on the market, but some drivers still don't care for it.

Turning the system off will reduce fuel economy, but shouldn't have an impact on the '19 Envision's EPA rating, because the system is operating during the lab test that determines the window-sticker rating. The fuel economy rating isn't available yet, but should improve, thanks to the new transmission.


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