We have posted countless articles on various SUV/Crossover candidates to ponder. They are popular for ease of entry and exit, good driving characteristics and luxury appointments, while comfortably carrying cargo and passengers. Rest assured; this category is here to stay. With that, costs are all over the map, depending on your wallet’s comfort boundaries.
The 2022 Buick Envision is a worthwhile test drive when budget is an important factor in the entry luxury class. We tested the Essence ST (Sport Touring) middle option. It has attractive curb appeal, looks good, has decent luxury characteristics and comfortable driving chops. At a base of $36,000 with the tester at $39,000, this is a worthy consideration as your family expands. Of course, you can upgrade to the top-of-the-line Avenir for all the available goodies (starting at $41,095). In essence, the Envision is easily $10,000 lower in cost than its comparable import competitors.
Redesigned in 2021, our tester is mighty handsome in Ebony Twilight Black, giving an understated elegant appearance. The silhouette is streamlined, especially with the low-profile black roof racks, and there’s just enough chrome and black gloss trim to accentuate the appearance. A wider stance and slim LED headlights are a worthy addition. The ST model gives you attractive blacked-out 20” rims and additional trim. Ours didn’t have a sunroof, but you can order generous panoramic glass for $1,450.
The engine is a 2.0-liter Turbo ECOTEC four-cylinder with 228hp and 258lb-ft of torque. It’s peppy enough (0-60 in 7.1 seconds) for most consumers, and the nine-speed tranny shifts seamlessly. The Sport mode holds the gearing a bit longer, but you won’t notice a change in steering or suspension dynamics. That said, you can cruise in comfort forever as the Envision soaks up road imperfections.
Braking is sure and there isn’t much lean cornering in normal driving. Driving modes include Touring, Sport or Snow/Ice, and there are paddle shifters to manually change gears. It feels planted and confident.
One can stay with the standard front-wheel-drive or opt for all-wheel for $1,850. Gas mileage is 24/31 for the FWD and about two miles less with AWD.
For an entry luxury SUV, the Envision provides good creature comfort for this price point. Softly padded and thicker materials provide proper insulation to keep cabin noise pleasantly quiet. Contrasting stitching gives an upscale feel. Available lighter-toned interior provides a premium feel. The heated seats are comfy, warm quickly and offer good adjustability. A slim-feeling heated steering wheel comes in handy during frigid days.
The information displays are driver-oriented. Move up to the Essence model and receive driver seat memory settings, remote start, and a larger 10.2” infotainment screen including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Technology Package I delivers the helpful Surround-View Camera, Navigation, Bose nine-speaker audio and Head-Up Display.
The gear shift is a series of buttons on the main console that takes no time adjusting to.
One tweak would be adding another audio volume control on the steering wheel (there’s only one knob near the infotainment screen).
Move up to the pinnacle Avenir model’s Technology Package II to receive Adaptive Suspension, wireless charger, Adaptive Headlights, Virtual Rear-View camera to see out the back even if the rear window is blocked by cargo (cameras utilized in the bumper) and Automated Parking. Even front massaging and ventilated seats are available. Life is all about options.
Rear leg and head room is generous. There is decent cargo room with 25.2 cu.ft. of space with the rear seats up and 52.7 when folded down flat. Space for knickknacks is ample, as well. A full set of golf clubs fits horizontally in the rear. You can opt for hands-free rear hatch.
Think of it as a nicely premium feel given the price point.
This certainly isn’t the barebones standard ride of yesteryear, as there’s plenty of technology to woo you. Safety features are abundant and top notch. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Alexa compatibility is included standard, as is noise cancellation. An optional nine-speaker Bose surround system is powerful and clear.
All models include automatic emergency braking, active lane control and rear parking sensors. Thus, the reliable ratings are excellent and there are enough nanny features to keep you out of harms way. In fact, it received a five-star rating in crash testing.
The 2022 Buick Envision (Essence ST here) is a must-look when contemplating creature comforts at a reasonable price – which is obvious when seeing its robust sales figures.
Golf Bags: Two +
Curb Appeal: Stylish and practical American ride
0-60: 7.1 seconds
Gas Mileage: 24/31 Observed around 27 mpg overall
Must-Haves: Tech packages
Warranty @ Free Maintenance: 3yr/36,000 miles, 5Y/60K powertrain
Base Price: $36,000
Price as Tested: $39,000
Who Buys It? Those desiring good creature comforts at a value
Finish Line: Better than one expects at this price point
Test-drive the 2022 Buick Envision Essence ST at Ewing Buick/GMC in Plano.