Envision competes with the Acura RDX and Audi Q5, according to Buick. Those automobiles aren’t class leaders like the Lexus RX and Mercedes-Benz GLE, So, where does Buick fit in?
Buick may well be on its way to the top. The Envision is an SUV with the potential to set the segment on fire. Envision has a very clean, well-proportioned design. It doesn’t wow or amaze, but it has some flair that sets it apart from other vehicles. With the high level of chassis engineering and design, Envision will also out drive and out ride the competition. The Buick is stepping into some very performance-oriented territory by offering a turbo, HiPer Strut front suspension, and Active Twin Clutch all-wheel-drive.
This Buick will appeal to the bargain shopper, the car person, and the non-car person that is attracted to the style, the price, and the way it comes equipped. The non-car person will love the high level of equipment, and minimal options making ordering a car easier. A buyer can just walk in, pick one out, and easily compare offers from different dealers. We don’t know pricing yet but, based on other Buick vehicles, Envision will most likely offer a loaded model at a similar price point to competitors’ standard models. The die-hard people that buy the “badge” will still flock to Honda, Toyota, and Lexus for a worry-free, research-free purchase. Buick aims to reach those import buyers on the margins.
Take a look at some standard highlights Buick provide for the Envision:
- 252-horsepower (186 kW) 2.0L turbo engine with stop/start technology, matched with Buick’s first crossover vehicle application of HiPer Strut front suspension and Buick’s first Active Twin Clutch all-wheel-drive system
- Efficiency-enhancing features including upper grille shutters that open and close to enhance aerodynamics on the highway and a body structure incorporating mass-reducing high-strength and ultra-high-strength steels – and a lightweight aluminum hood
- LED daytime running lamps and rear LED accent lights
- Sliding, 60/40-split rear seat, offering the flexibility of more legroom for second-row passengers
- Kneeling cushions in the second-row seat enable a flatter load floor when the seat is folded
- Standard Safety Alert Seat and Lane Keep Assist, as well as available Automatic Park Assist, and Surround Vision 360-degree camera system
- IntelliLink with 8-inch color touch screen
- Available OnStar with 4G LTE and built-in Wi-Fi hotspot
- Programmable power lift gate with hands-free operation
- Active noise cancelation
- Standard 19-inch aluminum wheels
- Passive entry and push-button start with standard remote start
- Standard eight-way power-adjustable front seats and four-way-adjustable lumbar – including available adjustable thigh support on some models that enhances comfort for taller passengers
- Standard heated front seats, heated rear seat and heated steering wheel
- Available cooled front seats
- Standard tri-zone climate control with rear-seat controls and console-mounted rear vents
- Standard Bose premium sound system
- Available panoramic moon roof
Envision Compared to the Competition
Acura RDX offers comfort to the buyer that wants to fit in with other people who own “luxury” SUV’s. RDX is an easy car to justify buying to your friends and family, even though it is not the best selling car in its class. This is very important to the non-car person who likes a good bargain. RDX is for the Honda CRV buyer that wants a V6 engine, and a high level of standard features. Acura, like Honda, offers a very concise selection of models that is available throughout the dealer network. With an RDX, many dealers may have the exact same car. This means you can shop “apples-to-apples.” Unlike BMW or Mercedes-Benz, whose dealers may only have a small selection of base vehicles, the rest of the inventory will vary greatly. BMW and Mercedes-Benz offer a high level of options to allow the buyer to build a car to their specs. A non-car enthusiast that wants to shop price will find this frustrating. Price shoppers like this love to know they have lots of options when it comes to negotiating a deal and the option to walk into the next dealership if things don’t go their way.
You can’t go wrong with the Acura for the status seeking, bargain hunting shopper. They have what buyers want in a vehicle, not too fancy, not difficult to explain to friends. Few others in this price class, say the Nissan Murano or Mini Countryman, are as straightforward.
The Audi Q5 offers both the non-car person and the car person something interesting. The non-car person can simply select one of the main packages, and the only option is to choose the color. Very simple. What the average person may not understand, however, is the base model Audi doesn’t have a V6 and or come with a touch screen. If you like a car that has more sophistication, a buyer can consider an Audi SQ5, or order a highly equipped Q5. The price for a special order Audi goes sky high, but this car caters to both car people and non-car people.
Where Envision Is Manufactured Matters Little
Buick imports the Envision into the US from its manufacturing plants in China. I don’t think people will care too much about where the car is made if it is well built and priced reasonably.
There is so strong competition in crossover SUVs. Every make is trying to get in on the action. The Buick may grab non-luxury buyers from Ford and Chevy, Honda and Toyota. It may also sway buyers that can’t afford a well-equipped German model, or buyers that may not see the value in a Lincoln or Cadillac.
It’s important for Buick to be successful with the Envision. Success will allow other cool models like the Avenir to hit the production line. Buick needs a high volume car like Envision to make a low volume halo for the Avenir.
If recent history is an example, Buick can be comforted by Tesla’s success. Tesla has proven that buyers will pay a lot of money for an American car, if it suits their needs.
Other GM models offer hope, too. Look how expensive are. People pay lots of money for the Tahoe and the Suburban, and they don’t live up to their potential, although they are much better than before. GM is banking on the Buick Envision to popularize the brand again.
In the comments section below, let us know what Buick you want to see made if Envision takes off. For example, a rear-wheel drive Regal, on the ATS platform, with the V6 twin turbo out of the ATS-V. A long, black, stylish car, a new Regal GNX. Extra points if you invent something quirky like a formal Skylark sedan based on the Cruz with the 2.0TD engine.