2018 Buick Envision Expert Review

3.7 Overall Score
Performance 3.7 Comfort 4.1 Styling 3.8 Value 4.2

Editor's Overview

Comfortable and quiet, the new 2018 Buick Envision is perfect for families looking for a premium 5-passenger SUV with an upscale interior and a starting price of around $35,000. Built in China, the new Buick Envision is larger than the subcompact Buick Encore, and competes with the Acura RDX, Lincoln MKC and Audi Q5. All-wheel drive is available.

You'll Like The 2018 Buick Envision If...

Buick’s new 2018 Envision is a refined SUV with an upscale interior and room for five. It’s perfect for families looking for a premium SUV with a smooth ride and the highest crash-test scores. The Envision is rated a Top Safety Pick+ by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

You May Not Like The 2018 Buick Envision If...

There are sportier SUVs in the segment. If you’re looking for a small SUV with athletic handling, check out the Audi Q5 and Acura RDX. Porsche’s Macan also offers sports-car-like performance but it costs considerably more. If off-roading is a priority, shop the Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee.

What's New

To keep its carpets cleaner, Buick now offers an optional all-weather floor liner in the 2018 Buick Envision. Otherwise, the SUV is unchanged from last year.

Interior Features

Clever packaging of the Buick’s powertrain has flattened its floor, which gives the 2018 Envision more rear-seat legroom and makes this small SUV comfortable for five passengers. Its rear seat also slides forward if you’d like to sacrifice some of that rear-seat legroom to increase cargo volume. The SUV’s climate and audio controls are simple and well laid out, with large knobs and buttons, and the Buick’s well-designed infotainment system is easily controlled through a large 8-inch touch screen. Also, the seats are comfortable and the materials feel premium, although the analog clock on the dash seems like an afterthought.

Exterior Features

There’s an understated elegance to the new 2018 Buick Envision. Buick’s designers have created a shape that is handsome, well-proportioned and subtle in its detailing. At first the Envision comes off as overly conservative, maybe even a little plain, but look closer and you’ll find its sculpted sides, wide stance and the intricate curve of its C-pillar. Buick has also kept the chrome to a minimum, limiting the brightwork to the Envision’s shapely grille and a delicate stripe that artfully dissects its clean taillights. We also like the standard power tailgate that has adjustable lift height and hands-free operation.

Driving Impressions

This has to be one of the quietest SUVs in this segment. Thanks to smart use of sound-deadening materials and active noise-cancellation technology, the 2018 Buick Envision does a masterful job of isolating its occupants from the harsh outside world. The Envision’s interior is calm and serene with very little wind or road noise, even out on the highway at 80 mph. That lack of intrusion along with the Buick’s upscale interior and smooth ride, provides a true luxury experience. Power is sufficient with the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, but you may want more if you plan to pile in the kids and load the SUV down with a week’s worth of camping equipment. The standard 6-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly, but it’s antiquated compared to the 7- and 8-speed units in the Audi Q5. The 252-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter engine, which is standard on the top Premium models, is more satisfying.

Pricing Notes

The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) on a base 2018 Buick Envision is around $35,000 when you include the $925 destination charge. Preferred models start about $1,800 higher than that, and Essence models are another $1,900 higher. An all-wheel-drive Envision Essence model will run a little shy of $41,000. If you want turbo power, the Premium model starts a little above $43,500, and the top-line Premium II is just under $46,000. The base prices of lower-end models are in line with many of its rivals, including the Acura RDX, Lexus NX, Infiniti QX50, and thousands less than the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new Envision. Also be aware that resale value is not one of the Envision's strong suits, being average at best.

Notable Equipment

While the new base model 2018 Envision is more lightly equipped, it's still a lot of premium-compact SUV for the money. Buyers get dual-zone climate control, a power liftgate, tilt-and-telescope steering wheel, and cloth seats with Leatherette trim. It comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 8-way-power front seats with power lumbar and heaters, and an infotainment system that includes an 8-inch color touch screen and 6-speaker audio system, a rearview camera and backup sensors, plus 10 airbags and six months of complimentary OnStar service. Also standard on the base model is the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine powering just the front wheels.

Notable Options

Options are added by working your way up the model ladder. Moving to Preferred lets you choose all-wheel drive (AWD), while Essence models add things like rear-seat climate control, blind-spot monitor, heated rear outboard seats, memory for the front seats, and leather seating surfaces all around. It also offers a heated steering wheel. Step up to Premium I or Premium II and you'll get the turbocharged engine and standard dual-clutch all-wheel drive (AWD), plus rear cross-traffic alert, front parking sensors, lane-keeping assist and forward-collision alert. Premium II models can add a surround-vision camera, automatic braking and adaptive cruise control.

Favorite Features


Families with new drivers will appreciate this clever system which monitors your teen’s driving habits and provides you with updates and alerts. It even allows you to set a speed alert and disables the Envision’s sound system until the occupants have buckled their seatbelts. It’s standard on all trim levels.


This unique safety system is standard on the Premium models. It vibrates the driver’s seat bottom cushion to alert the driver of hazards. And it’s directional, vibrating the right seat bottom bolster if the threat is coming from the right or the left bolster if the driver should look left.

Under the Hood

Two engine choices await 2018 Buick Envision buyers. First is the base engine, a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder that puts out 197 horsepower through a 6-speed automatic transmission to the front or, in Essence models, all four wheels. The Premium and Premium II models both use a 2.0-liter 252-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder. It sends power through a 6-speed automatic and a different AWD system that uses a dual-clutch system for better power delivery. Power from the turbo is more than adequate, if not segment-leading, with negligible lag and impressive torque available at a low rpm. Fuel economy in front-wheel-drive (FWD) models is an EPA estimated 29 mpg on the highway; it's lower in the AWD turbos, which also require premium fuel.

2.5-liter inline-4

197 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm

192 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/29 mpg (FWD); 21/27 mpg (AWD)

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4

252 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm

260 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/26 mpg

Editors' Notes

Comfortable and quiet, the new 2018 Buick Envision is perfect for families looking for a premium 5-passenger SUV with an upscale interior and a starting price of around $35,000. Built in China, the new Buick Envision is larger than the subcompact Buick Encore, and competes with the Acura RDX, Lincoln MKC and Audi Q5. Five trim levels are offered, base, Preferred, Essence, Premium I and Premium II. A 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine is standard on the lower trim levels and it makes a respectable 197 horsepower. Front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is available for about $2,000. The Premium models get a 252-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter and standard all-wheel drive. Onboard Wi-Fi is standard on all models along with GM’s clever Teen Driver technology.

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