Buick’s compact SUV gains a major overhaul for 2021, including a much sportier design compared to the outgoing Envision, a new range-topping Avenir trim, new Sport Touring Package adding a darker look, and the luxury brand’s first 10.2-inch colour touchscreen.
2021 Envision trims include:
Avenir (new for 2021)
The storied automaker is making big moves within its stylish SUV lineup, including a significantly refreshed and bolder looking 2022 Enclave arriving later in 2021 — Buick’s flagship premium SUV. But seeing as the Envision is competing in the fastest growing segment of small sport utilities and crossovers, this redesign comes at just the right time. Though buyers have plenty of options, even heading into 2022.
Envision Avenir joins the family
Buick introduced their glossier Avenir moniker several years back, and serves as what the company states is “Buick’s ultimate expression of refinement.” Now, Avenir is being offered on the Envision for the first time, ramping up the luxury for those who demand it as the model’s top trim level.
Pearl Nickel finished 20-inch rims, a distinct mesh grille design, and tinted chrome trim round out the sleeker Envision look. Along with a long list of standards not found on the Essence and Preferred, including
- massaging driver’s seat
- navigation system
- wireless phone charging
- leather seats with a diamond-perforated quilted look
- ventilated and heated driver & passenger seats
New Envision Interior: new driver-centric instrument panel and redesigned centre console
Below, the outgoing Envision interior compared to the new 2021 model:
In the cockpit, the new instrument panel is more driver-centric and leans towards the driver for a better, clearer view. The centre console gains a completely new look as well, including a dual-wing centre armrest, a coverage storage compartment, and a space-saving electronic shifter setup integrated next to the massive cup holders.
New colour touchscreen for 2021
A Buick first is the 10.2-inch-diagonal infotainment touchscreen. Seeing as nearly all premium SUVs these days are gaining bigger, better screen setups, this comes as no surprise. But this one looks sharp, integrated into the console, and not protruding out like a slapped on tablet (unless you’re into that look).
The infotainment accesses all the goods you’d expect, including:
- in-vehicle apps like the available Alexa Built-in
- Buick-exclusive apps, including Reese’s Book Club (curated by Reese Witherspoon)
- NCAA March Madness
- Wireless charging
- wireless Apple CarPlay
- Android Auto
What comes standard?
Heated steering comes standard on the Essence and Avenir trim; it’s a standard across all three trims in Canada. For a less noisy cabin environment, Buick’s QuietTuning feature is included across the entire Envision lineup which incorporates active noise cancellation and strategically placed acoustic materials.
Both a panoramic power moonroof and air ionize filtration system is optional on the entry-level Preferred trim, while rear seat reminder is thrown in across all trims.
What a difference four years can make. The first-ever Envision to hit the market in 2017 indeed maintained a premium guise, as you’d expect form Buick. But overall, it was a little underwhelming on the design front, and lacked real character.
Fast-forward to 2021, the Envision takes on a completely new look. As Buick’s design head puts it, “The new Envision has a more athletic presence that is full of character.” We’d have to agree.
It now sits wider and lower, taking on more car-like proportions; the front grill looks distinct and sleek, in part to the more slender LED headlights, equipped on all models. Also expect new tail lamps and daytime running light signatures, as well as a welcome/walkaway lighting animation, which activates when using the key fob.
Sport Touring Package
For enhanced looks including darkened exterior touches, the new Sport Touring Package adds a more agile appearance to the Envision, coupled with 20-inch wheels with a darkened finish. The package is optional on the Preferred and Essence trims.
Under the hood: less powerful turbo engine
Whereas the outgoing Envision came with two engine choices, including an EcoTec 2.5L inline-4, it appears Buick is sticking with one powerplant for 2021: a 2.0L turbo engine paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission with electronic shift control.
The turbo is rated at 228-hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. That’s a 25-hp decrease from the 2017 model making 252-hp and 260 lb.ft of torque, which at the time, was 12-hp more than the Lincoln MKC (now called the Corsair) and over 30-hp more than the Audi Q5.
Nevertheless, with all the improved engine tech and refinement compared to its predecessor, we’ll assume the overall performance and handling is much crisper now. All-wheel drive with an electronically controlled twin-clutch operation is optional (standard in Canada).
Other performance notables include:
- selectable drive modes (Tour, Snow/Ice and Sport on FWD models and Tour, AWD, Snow/Ice and Sport on AWD models)
- MacPherson strut front suspension and five-link independent rear suspension
- Electric power steering
- Standard four-wheel-disc brake system
- Hill Descent Control is standard with AWD models
- 18-inch wheels as standard (20-inch optional)