New Car Previews

Preview: 2017 Buick Envision

Although Buick enjoyed new sales records set in 2015 in North America, it is no secret that the brand’s largest market is China where the Buick name remains synonymous with Western-world prestige and luxury living.

This new five-passenger SUV will slot comfortably between the subcompact Encore and mid-size Enclave.

So as the Chinese give to Buick (through hefty sales figures), Buick is giving back to China with the jobs and infrastructure to assemble the brand’s first compact luxury crossover vehicle called the Envision. And GM seems optimistic that this new five-passenger SUV will slot comfortably between the subcompact Encore and mid-size Enclave, attracting buyers smitten by the Envision’s “dynamic experience behind the wheel, complemented by Buick’s signature luxury, whisper-quiet cabin and connectivity features,” according to Buick Vice President, Duncan Aldred.

The 2017 Buick Envision is powered by a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder putting out 252 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque driven through a six-speed automatic and sending the power to all four contact patches with the standard AWD system. The twin-scroll turbocharger makes for a meaty power band with 90 percent of the engine’s torque available between 1,800 rpm and 5,500 rpm, and thanks to balance shafts, noise-quelling components and four powertrain mounts, Buick has sought to make the 2L engine as refined as possible.

The Envision is the first crossover application for Buick’s HiPer Strut front suspension set up, originally developed for the Regal GS sedan, and is intended to reduce torque steer and improve steering feel. Additionally, the Envision is the first Buick crossover to receive the active Twin Clutch AWD system with its automatic on-demand system providing grip in slippery conditions, yet sending power to the rear wheels only when required in the interest of reducing fuel consumption the rest of the time.

Buick is boasting a spacious interior for the Envision, with reportedly greater cargo and rear seat space than the Lincoln MKC and Acura RDX – two competitors squarely in Buick’s crosshairs. With the list of standard features, it appears the new Buick will be well-equipped. A heated steering wheel, as well as heated front and rear seats are standard, so too are tri-zone climate control and Bose premium sound system. A panoramic moonroof, cooled seats and head-up display will also be available.

The Envision is set to be competitive technologically as well, with a comprehensive suite of gadgetry including OnStar with 4G LTE Wi-Fi, IntelliLink with an eight-inch touchscreen compatible with Apple Car Play and Android Auto functionality. Contemporary active safety features are also available with standard Safety Alert Seat and Lane Keep Assist, plus Advanced Active Park Assist, and Surround Vision camera system.

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If the 2017 Envision proves to be as dynamic and luxurious to drive as Buick is claiming, it stands to help set new sales records for the brand in 2016.

The Buick Envision is set to go on sale during the second quarter this year.