2024 Buick Envision: Looking for Relevance, Buick Might Have Found It

Jay Kana
by Jay Kana

After too many years of being neglected, GM has decided to throw some money and attention at their premium brand, Buick and according to the General, it’s working.

For a brand that’s been around for over a century, Buick says the manufacturer is “one of the fastest growing automotive brands in Canada.” Buick sales in Canada were up 42% from 2022 to 2023 and last year was their best sales year since 2019.

Enter the brand's compact SUV, the 2024 Buick Envision, which is new this year. If this is Buick’s new vision for design, it just might see success amidst its resurrection from having three wheels in the wrecking yard.

New, But Recognizable

Starting with the exterior, if you said “this looks like a bigger version of the Encore GX and Envista,” you’d be right. Razor thin daytime running lights with a small block of headlamps beneath, a pronounced horizontal grille and simple, smooth design highlight the exterior. Think the opposite of the new Hyundai Santa Fe or any Volvo from the 1980’s.

The side profile is bland yet inoffensive with just enough contours to separate it from the 2023 crop. The rear styling flexes Buicks minimalism muscle, with a simple design, thin taillights, a rear wiper (we’re looking at you, Envista,) a chunky spoiler and dual exhaust finishers. No word yet on if one is decorative or both will be functional. Buick says the rear look is inspired by their Wildcat EV concept; I don’t see it but maybe I should paws and look again.

Rolling forward and filling out the wheel wells are 20-inch rims with the ST and Avenir trims. The base-model Preferred trim shrinks that to 18-inch wheels. Calypso Blue Metallic and Smokey Amethyst Metallic are two new colour options

Big Screen, Updated Interior

Inside, the centrepiece is a 30-inch display that’s angled toward the driver. It's a one-piece, two-screen display representing the infotainment system and instrument cluster. These styles of screens are in the new Envista, Chevy Trax, and the Cadillac XT4, and Lyriq. Buick says it’s segment-leading size-wise (size matters, am I right?) and if it’s anything like the aforementioned, user-friendliness should score high.

Don’t want messy fingerprints? The Envision features Google Assistant to chip in with some, not all, of your requests. A noticeable change is the reduction in physical buttons for the HVAC system, plus the gear selector is now aligned with several other GM offerings by it being a stalk off the steering wheel. It's much better than the current row of buttons beside the cupholders.

Hear me out on the steering wheel design; it looks oh-so similar to the mid-2010’s Mazda ones, complete with the big buttons and downward sloping spokes..let’s hope unlike Mazda, the entire steering wheel is heated. The seats have been, according to Buick, “updated and upgraded to provide a stylized yet comfortable experience.” The photos look good but until we plant ourselves in there for a few hours, we’ll reserve judgement.

Want a burgundy interior colour theme? Buick’s got you. Want a grey interior? Buick’s got you as well. No official mention of black but here’s hoping, especially for those of us who enjoy tradition. The good thing about being a cog in a big wheel is that Buick’s resurgence can use the same parts bin as other new GM products.

Safety and Power

Standard safety improves for 2024 and is the most ever on a Buick. It includes Advanced Adaptive Cruise Control, Intersection Automatic Emergency Braking, Front Pedestrian and Bicycle Braking, Rear Cross Traffic Braking, HD Surround Vision, Blind Zone Steering Assist and IntelliBeam auto high beams. Want more? Of course you do! Buick’s Technology I package with a nine-speaker Bose Premium audio system and Heads-Up Display come standard.

For all the changes mentioned, the power plant remains the same, being a 2.0L turbocharged ECOTEC engine coupled to a nine-sped automatic, with all-wheel drive coming across all three trims. Output is still rated at 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The five-link front and rear suspension is standard, giving you that famous pillow-soft ride feel is still here, while the top-trim Avenir runs on Continuous Damping Control for an even softer ride feel. Their tagline of “Quiet Luxury” spills into the cabin with the similarly named “QuietTuning” aimed to reduce road noise. As this is a refresh, the wheelbase remains at 109 inches and cargo space stays at 25.2 cubic feet behind the second row and 52.7 with the rear seats folded.

Reversing an Assumption

Simplicity is smart for trims and the 2024 Envision sees Buick’s new three-trim-only approach; Preferred, ST and Avenir, ranking from lowest to highest and there’ll likely still be at least one package to add on for each trim.

When it arrives this summer, in Canada the 2024 Envision will ring the register with an all-in starting price of $45,670 for the Preferred, $47,870 for the ST and $53,770 for the Avenir.

With four vehicles in its lineup, all crossovers/SUV’s with the “EN-named” theme, Buick’s betting on reducing the average age of their consumers with tech-heavy, modern and competitive offerings. It’s tough going out there for the in-between premium-not-quite-luxury brand, which sees competition from both mainstream and luxury manufacturers. The current rejuvenation of a brand that nearly died from the 2008 recession (RIP Saturn and Pontiac) appears to be on the right track. Buick’s biggest challenge, the same as it was five years ago, is to reverse the perception of them being a vehicle for those who are later in life. It’s difficult to undo a decades-old mentality in a few years but Buick envisions they can get there.

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Jay Kana
Jay Kana

Jay Kana is an award-winning automotive writer who specializes in video and written reviews, is a pun connoisseur, and an avid kayaker. He's often playing guitar to his cats when we're not working him to the bone.

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2 of 4 comments
  • Don Don on Apr 02, 2024

    what i don't get is why the need to be hip to the 20 someting generation?

    isn't the baby boomer the most populous generation today?

    Cadillac = electric

    Buick = Luxury

    Chevrolet = Jack of trades

    who?? = Sporty

  • Gch81924079 Gch81924079 on Apr 03, 2024

    Hey Don,

    Buick’s now have models Envista to Enclave that reaches ALL consumer markets! Too bad about failure of Tour X, in US. now only in China, LaCrosse too. Duh, something wrong with their Sales, marketing.