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Auto review: Buick's Envision compact crossover has room for seven, starts at $34,990

G. Chambers Williams III, Fort Worth Star-Telegram on

Published in Automotive News

Buick added the Envision crossover utility vehicle to its U.S. lineup two years ago, a premium compact with room for up to five passengers.

Built in China, the Envision falls between the larger Enclave, assembled in Michigan, and the smaller Encore, built in South Korea.

For 2019, the Envision starts at $31,995 (plus $995 freight) for the base front-wheel-drive model, and ranges as high as $43,600 for the all-wheel-drive Premium II trim level, which we tested for this report.

Other trims include the Preferred ($35,250) and Essence ($37,550) models, with standard front-wheel drive (add $1,850 for all-wheel drive); and the Premium ($40,700), which, like the Premium II, comes only with all-wheel drive.

The base model is not available with all-wheel drive, but it can be added to the Preferred and Essence models for $1,750.

Base, Preferred and Essence models come with a normally aspirated 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine with 197 horsepower and 192 foot-pounds of torque, connected to a six-speed automatic transmission.

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But the Premium trim levels get a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine producing 252 horsepower and 295 foot-pounds of torque. It's paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission, which is new for 2019.

The turbo engine got a bump in torque from last year's 260 foot-pounds, even though horsepower remained the same. We found it to provide plenty of power in most driving situations, including uphill freeway on ramps.

Other changes for 2019 from the 2018 Envision include new sculpted front and rear fascias and a new grille design; high-intensity-discharge headlights standard on 2.5-liter models; bi-functional LED headlights now standard on the 2.0-liter turbo models; LED wing signature lights and taillights standard on every model; new 18- and 19-inch wheel designs; a new engine stop/start deactivation switch; and the ability for the driver to switch between adaptive and standard cruise control.

Adaptive Cruise Control, which uses radar to pace the vehicle to the one it is following, was included on our tester as part of the Driver Confidence Package ($1,545), which also added Forward Automatic Braking, and the Surround Vision camera system (replacing the singe Rear Vision Camera). This system gives both a rear view and a separate bird's eye view of what's around the vehicle, in a split screen on the audio/navigation touch screen.

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