General Motors decided it would bring the Buick Envision, which has been built and sold in China since 2014, to the North American market this summer. The Envision, a mid-size crossover SUV, slots in perfectly between the compact Encore and full-size Enclave.
By going with the domestic import model, GM was able to avoid setting up duplicate manufacturing facilities stateside and hold the starting MSRP at a hair over $40,000, inserting the Envision into the conversation among competitors such as the Acura MDX ($43,105), Lexus NX ($41,900), and Lincoln MKX ($38,260).
National pride aside, the question for fleet buyers is this: What do you get for the money?
The short answer is quite a bit. The base 2016 Envision comes equipped with all-wheel drive, a 2.0-liter turbo that delivers 252 horsepower (hp) and 260 pound-feet (lb.-ft.) of torque, 19-inch wheels, and a host of advanced convenience and safety features, including an 8-inch touchscreen interface, Buick’s active noise-canceling technology, and a Bose audio system.
The base Premium trim also includes heated front seats, remote start, and automatic climate control. Upgrading Premium II brings a panoramic sunroof, blind-spot alerts, a heated rear bench, and leather throughout.
The styling is elegant and refined, inside and out. An oversize Buick badge on a waterfall grille anchors a friendly looking face. The side panels are dominated by oversize wheel wells and fenders and an elevated shoulder line; the short C- and D-pillars and compact rear window make usage of the standard rearview camera mandatory for rearward maneuvering.
The interior is exactly what one would expect from a new Buick: sophisticated materials and controls in an intuitive and aesthetically pleasing layout; much of the cockpit will be familiar to any fleet manager who has tested the new LaCrosse sedan. The Envision’s infotainment is powered by the smartphone-compatible and largely voice-operated IntelliLink system.
Having arrived late in the model-year, much is already known about the 2016 Envision’s successor.
The 2017 could be in showrooms as early as October of this year. GM reportedly plans to drop the base MSRP to $34,990 with the addition of a naturally aspirated 2.5 and a front-wheel drive option. Stay tuned to
businessfleet.com for updates.