2022 Buick Envision
2022 Buick Envision
The Buick Envision is a premium five-seat crossover SUV with a sleek and toned body and a sweeping and elegant cabin. It’s engaging to drive, spacious and supportive for four or five adults, and has good infotainment. Almost nothing has changed for 2022, other than some new stitching and a new paint color.
With a 228-hp turbo-4 and a 9-speed automatic, the Envision overcomes a stout curb weight with good low-end torque, giving it a strong surge of power off the line. The suspension easily handles rough roads, although the available adaptive dampers improve the ride, especially with the larger 20-inch wheels. It has a low tow rating of 1,500 lb.
With the rear seat folded the Envision can carry 52.7 cubic feet of cargo, easily loaded through the power tailgate that’s standard on upper trims.
It’s EPA rated at 24 mpg city, 31 highway, 26 combined with front-wheel-drive, and 22/29/25 mpg with all-wheel drive.
The NHTSA gives it five overall stars for safety, while the IIHS hasn’t crash-tested it yet. All Envisions have automatic emergency braking, active lane control, blind-spot monitors and rear parking sensors. Available safety equipment includes a head-up display, a surround-view camera system, and front parking sensors.
Made in China, the Envision comes as a Preferred, Essence, or as an Avenir.
The front-wheel-drive Preferred costs less than $35,000, and has power features, cloth seats, an 8-way power driver seat, an 8.0-inch touchscreen with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, 18-inch wheels, and LED headlights. All-wheel drive adds $1,800, and it’s another $495 for any color that’s not white. A $2,500 package upgrades the Preferred to 9-speaker Bose audio and a 10.2-inch touchscreen, front parking sensors, a head-up display, and a surround-view camera system. A Sport Touring package includes 20-inch wheels and dark body trim.
For less than $38,000, the Envision Essence with front-wheel drive offers the best value. It gains leather upholstery, a power tailgate, heated front seats, a power front passenger seat, the 10.2-inch touchscreen, and remote start. Another $4,000 gets a technology package with a head-up display and a surround-view camera system.
At more than $41,000, the Envision Avenir has heated rear seats, 20-inch wheels, navigation, and a surround-view camera system. For about $2,000 more, it gets adaptive dampers, automatic park assist, a rear camera mirror, and adaptive cruise control. With all-wheel drive and a panoramic sunroof it approaches $50,000.
The Envision warranty is 3 years/36,000 miles.
Like the bigger Buick Enclave and smaller Encore GX, the Envision wears its expressive and elegant curves with little effort, sculpting its face and body with a light touch. It’s a graceful echo of Volvo; in fact, to some eyes it might be more beautiful. The swept-back headlights blend in casually, and with LED daytime running lights, frame the attractive grille. Thick roof pillars balance creased rear fenders to keep the Envision well grounded. A Sport Touring package blacks out some of the shiny bits on the body.
The cabin is refined and well-appointed. It has a couple of foibles—the steering wheel is thin, and the touchscreen tilts back from the driver at an awkward angle (the 10.2-inch touchscreen is an expensive upgrade in the Preferred). But otherwise it’s a soothing environment dressed in a high grade of trim. The driver is surrounded by swoops of upholstered dash and console panels, thin metallic ribbons, and panes of gloss trim. In the Avenir, there’s some silvery wood trim whose dimples give it away as synthetic, but the light beige leather nicely complements it.
A twin-lidded armrest teams with a big storage bin, and there’s also good space for small items.
The Envision seats five, with its measurement of 182.5 inches long on a 109.4-inch wheelbase. The front seats offer great support with power adjustment. They can be upgraded from cloth-and-synthetic leather to soft perforated leather, heated and cooled, and the rear bench seat can be heated in outboard positions. It has swell shaping for two large passengers, and provides them with good leg room, while head room is trimmed by the optional panoramic sunroof. The passenger in the middle won’t be happy if they are large.
With a power liftgate, standard on the top two trims, the Envision opens up a 25.2-cubic-foot cargo hold that can be expanded to 52.7 cubic feet by folding down the rear seats.
Active noise cancellation quiets the cabin, while the thick rear roof pillars block some of the over-the-shoulder view.
With its 228-hp 2.0-liter turbo-4, the Envision passes traffic on the highway with good urgency. It twists out 258 lb-ft of torque in a very wide and useful powerband, from 1,500 to 5,000 rpm, making it eager to needle through city traffic. But it’s heavy, between 3,692 to 3,932 lb, so four passengers and cargo can tax its power. It puts out a fair amount of engine noise even with active noise cancellation.
Front-drive Envisions search for traction from an uphill start if the surface isn’t solid. A Snow/Ice mode solves that, but the driver will have to see the issue coming.
The paddle-shifting 9-speed automatic shifts cleanly, although it shudders (very infrequently) at low speeds. The drive mode selector switches between Touring, Sport and Snow/Ice, and with all-wheel drive, the Snow/Ice mode is replaced by Off-Road. The Envision doesn’t have the ground clearance or tires for anything truly challenging. It’s too refined for such behavior.
On its independent suspension, the Envision rides best with standard 18-inch wheels. The Avenir with 20-inch wheels, even with adaptive dampers, skitters stiffly over big bumps.
The electric power steering doesn’t offer feedback through its slim steering wheel, but its response is quick and it doesn’t over-react.
Even with all-wheel drive, a large touchscreen, Bose sound, and a surround-view camera system, the Envision remains under $40,000. It’s best in Essence trim, with or without all-wheel drive.
—by Sam Moses with driving impressions by The Car Connection