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2020 Buick Envision Review

The 2020 Buick Envision ranks near the bottom of the luxury compact SUV class. It has a lot of standard features and an intuitive infotainment system, but it can’t compete with the luxuriousness or performance of its rivals.

Pros & Cons

  • Good fuel economy estimates
  • Potent turbocharged engine option
  • Lots of standard features
  • Intuitive infotainment system
  • Dull base engine
  • Less sporty than competitors
  • Some rivals have more upscale cabins




Critics' Rating: 6.5
Performance: 6.9
Interior: 7.1
Safety: 8.8
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Thinking of leasing a Buick Envision?

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Is the Buick Envision a Good SUV?

Yes, the Buick Envision is a good SUV. It fits somewhere between the affordable and luxury categories, which is good news for luxury compact SUV shoppers who are seeking a good value, as the Envision costs less than its competitors yet is packed with lots of standard features. Those in search of first-class elegance or dynamic performance will find that the Envision doesn't live up to the standard set by many of its well-rounded luxury rivals.

Should I Buy the Buick Envision?

The base Envision model is a great buy for those who want a premium nameplate while saving thousands of dollars. Shoppers interested in this Buick's upper level trims are probably better off buying the base model of a competitor, which will likely cost about the same. For example, instead of the Envision Premium ($40,700), consider an Acura RDX or a Mercedes-Benz GLC, which start at $37,600 and $40,700, respectively.

Compare the Envision, RDX, and GLC »

Should I Buy a New or Used Buick Envision?

Buick launched the Envision late in the 2016 model year. For 2017, it gained a new base engine, as well as standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The 2018 Envision was largely unchanged, but the 2019 model underwent a light refresh. It received new exterior styling, a boost in torque for its turbocharged engine option, and a new nine-speed automatic transmission.

For 2020, Buick made no major changes to the Envision. You could save money by shopping for a nearly identical older model.

Be sure to read our 2017, 2018, and 2019 Envision reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2018, 2019, and 2020 Envision »

We Did the Research for You: 35 Reviews Analyzed

Our goal is to provide you with the information you need to make car shopping a breeze. You'll find everything you need to know about the Buick Envision in our comprehensive review. It combines concrete data like fuel economy estimates and cargo space dimensions with professional evaluations from 35 automotive sources. This Buick Envision review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which includes the 2016 through 2020 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve been reviewing cars since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined automotive experience. We also award the Best Cars for the Money, Best Cars for Families, and Best Vehicle Brands on an annual basis. To ensure our impartiality, a third party handles our advertising, and we don't accept expensive gifts from automakers.

How Much Does the Buick Envision Cost?

Prices for the 2020 Envision start around $32,000, which easily makes this the least expensive option in our luxury compact SUV rankings. For more information on trim levels, prices, and standard features, see our Which Buick Envision Model Is Right for Me? section below.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Buick dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Buick deals page.

Buick Envision Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Buick Envision or GMC Terrain?

The GMC Terrain, a compact SUV, is essentially the nonluxury version of the Envision. Both have similar features lists and the same 2.0-liter turbocharged engine option. However, the GMC has better fuel economy estimates and a higher maximum cargo capacity. Despite not being a luxury model, the GMC’s cabin is almost as nice as the Buick’s. The Terrain’s lower MSRP makes it a better pick for most shoppers.

Which Is Better: Buick Envision or Ford Edge?

The Ford Edge is a midsize SUV, and it has more passenger and cargo room than the Buick. The Edge also has two peppy engine options (including a V6), a comfortable ride, and nimbler handling than the Envision. The Ford has more standard driver aids, and despite being a larger vehicle, it’s likely to be a bit more affordable. On the other hand, the Buick is more luxurious and has more standard tech features. Choosing between these two is a matter of preference.

Compare the Envision, Terrain, and Edge »

Envision Interior

How Many People Does the Envision Seat?

The 2020 Buick Envision seats five people on cloth upholstery. Heated, eight-way power-adjustable seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel come standard too. Leather seats, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and a heated steering wheel are available.

The seats are comfortable, and there’s a good amount of head- and legroom in both rows, though taller backseat riders might feel a bit cramped.

Envision and Child Car Seats

The Buick Envision has two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on the rear outboard seats and an upper tether on the rear middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the system the second-lowest rating of Marginal for ease of use. The tether anchors are easy to find, but they can be confused with other hardware, and the lower anchors are set too deep in the seats.

Envision Interior Quality

Although this Buick has a handsome cabin, it doesn’t look or feel as luxurious as some rivals.

Envision Cargo Space

This SUV has 26.9 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats, which is great for the luxury compact SUV class. Folding them down opens a total of 57.3 cubic feet. That number is more in line with rivals.

Envision Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The base Envision comes richly equipped. Standard features include an 8-inch touch screen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, a Wi-Fi hot spot, satellite radio, a six-speaker sound system, Bluetooth, and four USB ports. Navigation, wireless device charging, and a premium seven-speaker Bose stereo are available.

Using the IntelliLink infotainment system is easy, thanks to a straightforward menu layout and some well-placed physical controls.

Read more about interior »

Envision Performance

Envision Engine: From OK to Good

The base, Preferred, and Essence trims come with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 197 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque. It’s mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Premium and Premium II models gain a stronger 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 252 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The turbocharged option comes with a nine-speed automatic transmission.

The base engine is OK but can struggle to bring this crossover SUV up to passing speed on the highway. Envision models with the available turbo-four feel more energetic. The nine-speed automatic draws praise for its smooth shifts.

Envision Gas Mileage: Thrifty

With its base engine and front-wheel drive, the Envision gets an EPA-estimated 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. Those are great figures for the luxury compact SUV class. Opting for all-wheel drive lowers fuel economy estimates to 21 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. The stronger engine gets 20 mpg city/25 mpg highway.

Envision Ride and Handling: Relaxed, Not Spirited

This Buick has a gentle ride, and its suspension soaks up most road flaws. However, it’s not particularly sporty, and the steering can feel sluggish on twisty roads. Front-wheel drive comes standard, and all-wheel drive is available.

Read more about performance »

Envision Reliability

Is the Buick Envision Reliable?

The 2020 Buick Envision earns a good rating of four out of five from J.D. Power.

Buick Envision Warranty

The Envision is covered by a basic warranty lasting four years or 50,000 miles and a powertrain warranty lasting six years or 70,000 miles.

Read more about reliability »

Envision Safety

Envision Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2020 Envision with all-wheel drive an overall safety rating of five stars out of five. It earned five stars in the side crash test and four stars in the frontal crash and rollover evaluations. The front-wheel-drive Envision did not receive an overall safety rating. It earned five stars in the side crash test and four stars in the frontal crash test.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not crash tested the 2020 Buick Envision. The nearly identical 2019 Envision earned the highest rating of Good in five tests. In front crash prevention testing, Envisions equipped with the Driver Confidence package received the second-best rating of Advanced, while models with forward collision warning received the lowest rating of Basic.

Envision Safety Features

Rear parking sensors and a rearview camera come standard, as does GM’s Teen Driver system, which lets you do things like set limits on speed and audio volume for secondary drivers. Available safety features include lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, a pre-collision warning system, forward automatic braking, a surround-view parking camera, adaptive cruise control, front parking sensors, and parallel park assist.

Read more about safety »

Buick Envision Dimensions and Weight

The 2020 Envision measures 15.3 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,755 to 4,083 pounds.

Where Is the 2020 Buick Envision Built?

Buick builds the 2020 Envision in China.

Which Buick Envision Model Is Right for Me?

Buick offers the Envision in five trim levels: 1SV, Preferred, Essence, Premium, and Premium II. The first three models have the same powertrain: a 197-horsepower 2.5-liter engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Both Premium trims come with a 252-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that’s paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission.

Front-wheel drive is standard on the 1SV, Preferred, and Essence trims. All-wheel drive is standard in the two Premium trims and is available in the Preferred and Essence models.

The base model 1SV is well-equipped, so it’s a good bet for many shoppers. If you want all-wheel drive, move up to the Preferred trim. Shoppers seeking the stronger turbocharged engine should look to one of the Premium models.

A panoramic moonroof is available on all but the base trim for around $1,495.

Buick Envision 1SV

Prices for the entry-level Envision 1SV start at $31,995. It comes with an 8-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a Wi-Fi hot spot, a six-speaker stereo, satellite radio, Siri Eyes Free, four USB ports, and Bluetooth. Heated and eight-way power-adjustable front seats, 60/40 split-folding rear seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, proximity keyless entry, remote start, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a hands-free power liftgate are also standard, as is QuietTuning, which helps block unwanted road noise.

You’ll also get a rearview camera and rear parking sensors, as well as the Teen Driver system. It also issues reports on driving habits.

There are no packages or options available with this trim.

Buick Envision Preferred

Other than all-wheel drive, which is available for around $1,750, the Envision Preferred adds little in the way of features. It retails for $33,500 before options.

Buick Envision Essence

The Essence trim starts at $35,800. It gains a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, leather seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. Navigation is available for around $495. All-wheel drive remains an option.

Buick Envision Premium

With an expected base price around $40,700, the Premium trim gains the stronger 2.0-liter turbo-four engine. It also has all-wheel drive, a nine-speed automatic transmission, a retuned suspension, a seven-speaker Bose stereo, forward collision warning, lane keep assist, front and rear parking sensors, and lane departure warning.

Buick Envision Premium II

Premium II models start at $43,600. They gain a head-up display, navigation, wireless device charging, parallel park assist, and ventilated front seats. This is the only trim available with the Driver Confidence package. With a cost of around $1,545, it features a surround-view parking camera, forward automatic braking, and adaptive cruise control.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Buick dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Buick deals page.

 See 2020 Buick Envision specs and trims »  

The Final Call

The Buick Envision is a good vehicle stuck in a class of great ones. Most of what it does is done better by rivals. That said, as a comfortable cruiser with a lot of standard features, the Envision’s not without its own merits.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The Envision is a quiet, comfortable SUV that offers a lot of features for the money. It's also priced between the luxury and non-luxury segments. It falls well short of those luxury competitors in everything but cabin quietness, but it provides a slightly elevated level of comfort compared to the standard segment." -- Edmunds
  • "If there's one thing crossover buyers today have plenty of, it's choices. And the Envision has strong competitors in its size and price class from every continent. The case for the Envision is strongest in the lower, less expensive trim levels. This is a solid vehicle in that low-$30,000 price class. But as much as we liked our Envision and its strong turbo, the near-$45K sticker is pricey. After all, you can slide into a base Mercedes-Benz GLC300 for $40,050 or the Audi Q5 for $41,500. And those are both machines we'd enjoy piloting more on our morning commute." -- Autoweek (2019)
  • "The 2019 Envision's improvements are certainly welcome, but they register as a walk when Buick really needs a home run to draw buyers away from its benchmark, the Audi Q5, and crossovers of its ilk. Buick has the tech part down, and the updates and new pricing structure address the gripes we had with the Envision's transmission and value, but these seem more like calculated moves rather than a brand-defining stand. … The Envision is still missing an ‘X factor,’ that unique style and clear identity to help it stand out in the crossover crowd. For better or for worse, in fashion, brand and style still count for a lot." -- Autoblog (2019)


Expert Advice

Last Updated: July 24, 2020

Declining Sales: Demand for the Buick Envision has fallen by 11.6 percent this year compared to the same period in 2019; the Envision places mid-pack in the luxury compact SUV sales race. The segment sales leading Acura RDX is currently outselling the Envision by about 50 percent.

Research more buying advice »
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2020 Buick Envision

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