Buick Envision 5-seat CUV loads up on luxe and safety gear

2017, Buick, Envision

The Buick Division of General Motors produces the 2017 Envision 5-door and 5-seat crossover utility vehicle with a choice of two powertrains and front-wheel-drive or all-wheel drive traction.

With a wheelbase length of 108.9 inches and an overall length of 193.7 inches as measured from front fascia to rear tailpipes, Envision with its car-based unibody structure fits in Buick's CUV stable between the larger 7-seat Enclave and 5-seat compact-class Encore.

Dressed in a stylish design drawn with tight lines and keen edgework, Envision looks like a slick Euro-style wagon. A chrome-encased waterfall grille with active grille shutters dominates the prow between aggressive corner lamp clusters containing eyebrow LED daytime running lights.

The roofline remains low, dipping down in front in line with the raked windshield and tapering rearward over the cabin before clipping down to a lift-back tail with smooth monochrome slab bumper supporting the corner taillamps with LED accent lamps.

Buick divides the 2017 Envision into five trim grades -- price-leader Envision base model, upgraded Envision Preferred and the near-luxe Envision Essence plus two top-tier equipment packages: Premium I and Premium II. Each issue stocks electronic traction control (ETC) and GM's electronic stability device, StabiliTrak, with options for FWD or AWD.

For motivation, all editions except Premium I and II models employ GM's 2.5-liter aluminum 4-in-line engine which develops 197 hp at 6300 rpm and 192 lb-ft of torque at 4400 rpm. The transaxle is a fuel-saving 6-speed electronically controlled automatic, the Hydra-Matic 6T45 from GM.

The EPA-estimated fuel consumption numbers for this powertrain tally to 29 mpg when running at legal speed on a highway in an FWD edition, or 28 mpg with AWD.

Envision Premium kits score GM's turbo-charged 4-in-line engine displacing 2.0 liters with dual overhead cams and continuously variable cam phaser controls.

The turbo 4-pack produces 252 hp at 5500 rpm plus 260 lb-ft of torque at 2000 rpm and links to a 6-speed automatic transaxle with electronic controls, the Hydra-Matic 6T70.

This powertrain works exclusively with Buick's active twin clutch AWD system and uses Buick's sophisticated new HiPer Strut front suspension which tempers torque steer.

Buick loads Envision models with advanced safety gear. All issues stock ten airbags including side-curtain and knee airbags plus a rear-vision camera with Rear Park Assist, while Premium trims tote standard Safety Alert Seat, Forward Collision Alert and Following Distance Indicator, Lane Keeping Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Side Blind Zone Alert with Lane Change Alert. Further, the optional Driver Confidence Package for Premium II models brings Adaptive Cruise Control, Surround Vision and Front Automatic Braking.

Every Envision benefits from Buick's effort to control noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) within the passenger compartment. Take a spin on a road test, and you will notice that virtually all external NVH seems locked outside, the result of wrapping the compartment liberally with sound-deadening material, including thick layers of laminate applied to the windshield and front side windows.

Buick's marketeers label the NVH control as Quiet Tuning. It represents a sense of refinement akin to a premium luxury car, yet Envision's sticker prices begin around $34,000.

Envision base edition rolls on 18-inch alloy wheels and provides an extensive list of standard features, such as twin-zone automatic climate system, power-controlled front seats with heat elements and beautiful cloth fabric upholstery, fore-aft sliding rear bench seat with 60/40-split seatback, an infotainment kit with 8.0-touchscreen plus a 4.2-inch screen in the instrument cluster.

The Preferred and Essence models offer the choice of FWD or AWD traction. Also, Essence adds leather seat upholstery, a heated steering wheel and rear seat climate controls.

Envision Premium issues use 19-inch alloy wheels and provide a Bose audio kit plus 8.0-inch screen on the instrument panel, with Premium II grade adding a head-up display, air conditioned front seats and adjustable thigh support for the driver's seat.

The MSRP figures for Buick's 2017 Envision line stretches from $34,000 to $44,700.

By Bob Plunkett

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Images of the 2017, Buick Envision

2017 Buick Envision front 3/4 view
2017 Buick Envision front 3/4 view
2017 Buick Envision interior cabin
2017 Buick Envision interior cabin
2017 Buick Envision front row and dash
2017 Buick Envision front row and dash
2017 Buick Envision double sunroofs
2017 Buick Envision double sunroofs