The Envision rides on the latest version of the Delta 2 platform that underpins many GM vehicles. It'll slot between the tiny Encore and the cavernous Enclave, which is a nice sweet spot for volume sales in the hot crossover market. Gas is cheap, and Americans are eating these vehicles up – in a market like this, does it really matter where the Envision was actually screwed together?
The powertrain package is surprisingly compelling – perhaps there will be some life to the driving experience. Motivation is provided by a 252-horsepower turbo inline-four and a six-speed auto, and in a first for a Buick crossover, it'll feature the torque-steer fighting HiPer suspension, which splits up steering and suspension duties in a way that'll tidy up the front axle's manners under power. A few other neat tricks make it into the Envision, like active grille shutters to squeeze some extra efficiency out of the CUV, and available park assist.
The 2016 Buick Envision goes on sale later this year.
DETROIT – The 2016 Envision is an all-new luxury compact crossover with segment-challenging driving dynamics, advanced technology, connectivity and Buick's trademark interior acoustics. It is a global vehicle, designed from the ground up as a Buick luxury compact crossover. It goes on sale in the U.S. in the second quarter of 2016.
"The all-new Buick Envision is a modern, confident and responsive luxury compact crossover that combines the brand's core characteristics with great performance features like our HiPer strut suspension," said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Buick. "That dynamic experience behind the wheel is complemented by Buick's signature luxury, whisper-quiet cabin and connectivity features to benefit drivers and passengers alike."
Vehicle highlights include:
·252-horsepower (186 kW) 2.0L turbo engine with stop/start technology, Buick's first crossover vehicle application of HiPer Strut front suspension and Buick's first active Twin Clutch AWD system
· LED daytime running lamps and rear LED accent lights
· Efficiency-enhancing features including active grille shutters and a structure incorporating mass-reducing high-strength steel, and an aluminum hood
· Standard heated front seats, rear seats, and steering wheel; available cooled front seats
· Sliding, 60/40-split rear seat, offering the flexibility of more legroom for second-row passengers
· Standard eight-way power-adjustable front seats and four-way-adjustable lumbar
· Kneeling cushions in the second-row seat enable a flatter load floor when the seat is folded
· Standard tri-zone climate control with rear-seat controls
· Programmable power liftgate with hands-free operation
· Active noise cancelation
· Standard nineteen-inch aluminum wheels
· Passive entry and push-button start with standard remote start
· Standard Bose premium sound system
· Available panoramic moonroof
The Envision is also designed to carry more than its competitors, with more rear cargo space than the Acura RDX and the Lincoln MKC. It's also roomier for passengers, with more rear legroom, front and rear shoulder room, and overall Environmental Protection Agency-rated passenger volume than the MKC.
Design rewards with attention to detail
Designers and engineers were given a clean slate to develop the Envision and they employed supercomputer technologies to help make the most of the architecture for strength, stiffness and quietness. Every aspect of the vehicle's design and its effect on refinement was taken into consideration – even the available panoramic moonroof was designed for lower wind noise when open.
"The Envision represents a compromise-free design that enabled the development team to do the things luxury customers appreciate," said Judy Brennan, chief engineer. "Our attention to detail yielded tremendous strength and stiffness of the platform, which is evident in exceptional ride and handling characteristics."
The clean-sheet design and stiff structure helped eliminate an estimated 22 pounds (10 kg) of add-on material to create whisper-quiet interior acoustics.
And while those attributes lie beneath the Envision's skin, the skin itself is instantly recognizable as a Buick crossover with contemporary proportions, flowing lines and detailed surface features.
"There is tension in the Envision's design that reflects elegant athleticism, rendering a planted stance that enhances driver confidence," says Bryan Nesbitt, global executive director, Buick design. "It's dynamic and youthful, with features that support the vehicle's technologically advanced ambience."
Envision features Buick's signature winged headlamps and standard heated outside mirrors with LED turn signal indicators. Articulating Xenon high-intensity discharge headlamps are available.
Dynamic passenger environment
The Envision's interior features a "floating," wraparound instrument panel sweeps into the door panels, for a flowing, organic and inviting appearance that complements the exterior.
"To put it simply, the Envision's cabin combines beauty with innovation," said Nesbitt. "It telegraphs dynamism like nothing else in the segment. Everywhere you touch is a stitched, soft surface. Everything you touch is designed for intuitive, effortless functionality."
The large center console storage bin features damped dual wing-type doors that provide easier, less-obstructed access and allow the driver or passengers – even those in the rear – to access the storage bin without disturbing the other.
Technology and connectivity
The new Envision offers a standard 8-inch Buick IntelliLink screen, as well as available OnStar with 4G LTE with a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot.
IntelliLink is the contact point for much of the Envision's technology and connectivity. It provides intuitive operation of basic functions, yet is capable of linking up Bluetooth devices such as smartphones, as well as SD cards and MP3 players. Four USB ports, four 12-volt outlets and a 120-volt outlet are included.
A new steering wheel for Buick debuts in the Envision, featuring thumb-operated toggle switches that make it easy to scroll through the IntelliLink menus and vehicle features in the driver information center.
Powertrain and performance
The 2016 Envision features a standard 2.0L turbo engine SAE certified at 252 horsepower (186 kW) and 260 lb-ft of torque (353 Nm), which is more standard horsepower and torque than an Audi Q5. It is paired with a third-generation six-speed automatic transmission.
Performance and efficiency is enhanced with Stop/Start technology – Buick's first application on the 2.0L turbo engine. It seamlessly shuts down the engine when the Envision comes to a stop under certain driving conditions, such as a stoplight. The engine automatically restarts when the driver takes his or her foot off the brake.
The 2.0L turbo engine is offered exclusively with AWD, giving the Envision performance consistent with vehicle's ride and handling capabilities. The turbocharger features a twin-scroll design that helps the engine deliver a broad torque band, for a greater feeling of power on demand. Ninety percent of peak torque is available from 1,800 rpm to 5,500 rpm and the full 260 lb-ft of peak torque from 3,000 to 4,000 rpm.
The engine is designed with refinement-enhancing features such as balance shafts and sound-attenuating components; and is isolated on a hydraulically damped substructure that helps quell noise and vibration. Four powertrain mounts are used rather than the conventional three.
Ride and handling
The Envision's robust structure is the foundation for a balanced and confident driving experience. Buick's HiPer Strut front suspension reduces torque steer and benefits steering feel. It's a feature inspired by the athletic Regal GS sedan and that is not currently offered on any crossover vehicle, including competitors such as the Audi Q5.
The Envision features Buick's first active Twin Clutch AWD system designed to make the most of handling and stability in all driving conditions. It is a fully automatic, on-demand system engineered to deliver sure-footed handling in low-grip conditions, while also contributing to a quieter and smoother ride with minimal torque transferred to the rear wheels when all-wheel-drive traction isn't needed.
The Envision offers 360 degrees of available passive and active safety technology, including 10 standard air bags, available Automatic Park Assist, available Surround Vision camera system and Buick's first use of Lane Keep Assist, which is standard.
Automatic Park Assist measures a suitable parallel or perpendicular parking spot and steers the vehicle into it, while Lane Keep Assist helps the driver keep the vehicle in the lane with an automatic steering adjustment when an inadvertent lane departure is detected.
A rearview camera is standard, while the available Surround Vision provides an overhead view of the Envision that enhances the driver's vision at low speeds, such as parking and reversing.
Additional 2016 model year standard and available safety features include:
· Standard side-curtain and knee air bags
· Standard Safety Alert Seat, which pulses to alert the driver about a possible crash
· Standard Front Park Assist, Lane Change Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert
· Standard Following Distance Indicator
· Standard StabiliTrak electronic stability control
· Standard four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with electronic brake force distribution
· Standard cornering brake control and brake assist
· Available Full Speed Range Adaptive Cruise Control
· Available Collision Mitigation Braking.
Safety and security features also include OnStar technology with Advanced Crash Response System, emergency assistance and more.
Buick is an international modern luxury brand offering vehicles with sculpted designs, luxurious interiors and thoughtful personal technologies, along with responsive-yet-efficient performance. Buick is attracting new customers with its portfolio of award-winning luxury models in North America and China. Learn more about Buick cars and crossovers at www.buick.com, on Twitter @buick, Instagram (include link) or at www.facebook.com/buick