2022 Buick Envision Avenir
A Compact Luxury SUV For Everyday Use
For a lengthy drive or the everyday commute, the Buick Envision is a stylish SUV - outside and in.
By Reed Berry
Fri, Nov 5, 2021 01:15 PM PST
Wow. There’s a lot going on here.
I’m approaching sensory overload - in a good way - as I spend a weekend in the desert with a high-tech, nicely equipped vehicle that certainly seems up to the task. The 2022 Buick Envision Avenir is a compact luxury SUV that, quite frankly, is perfect for a lengthy drive like this - because it’s as comfortable as it is practical.
As vehicles become more technologically advanced, they are less like vehicles and more like computer-controlled command centers on wheels. This sleek, stylish SUV looks stunning on the outside but, on the inside, is even more impressive. The Envison cockpit has an array of buttons, controls, and alerts, as well as a wide variety of comfort and convenience features that made my three-hour drive quite a bit easier to take.
Naked In The Desert - Ay Jacumba!
My road trip has taken me from Los Angeles to southeastern San Diego County and, more precisely, to the town of Jacumba - known for its hot springs, winding trails, and - believe it or not - a UFO repair shop! It is also home to the largest (over 500 acres) family-friendly clothing-optional resort in the country - DeAnza Springs Resort. Whether you stay in their small, comfy hotel, pitch a tent, or park your RV, this is the perfect place to shed your clothing and enjoy nature.
DeAnza Springs Resort has graciously offered to host me for the weekend so, yes, yours truly has bared it all to take advantage of the resort's superb hospitality. It’s the perfect opportunity not only to soak up the sunshine and meet some really nice people, but to get some cool pics of this great looking SUV, as well. The landscape here at DeAnza Springs is definitely picture perfect, with scenic hiking trails and eye-catching rock formations.
The Buick Envision Interior - Advanced, Comfortable, & Easy-To-Use
My ride down here was actually quite enjoyable, despite getting caught up in some of SoCal’s famous freeway traffic. This vehicle is certainly driver-friendly. The designers at Buick angled the 10.2-inch infotainment touch display toward the driver, making it much more convenient to use and easier to see. Selecting entertainment choices or following directions from the vehicle’s navigation system is a breeze.
The interior is both spacious and, with perforated leather seats, quite comfortable. Should the desert temperature drop a bit in the evening, both the steering wheel and seats (both front and rear) are heated. Dual-zone climate control adds to the interior comfort.
What About The Rear Seats?
There is an impressive amount of space for rear seat passengers. Before today’s drive, I jumped in the back seat to have a look and found it not only roomy, but there is a handy fold-down armrest with dual cup holders, as well. Wood accents on the door panels enhance the upscale look of the interior.
Trunk Space - Definitely Big Enough
There is a decent amount of cargo space. 25.20 cubic feet behind the rear seat and 52.70 cubic feet with the rear seat folded. Certainly ample space for groceries, luggage, and swap meet finds. It may not be quite as generous as some of its competitors in the luxury crossover category but, unless you need the extra cargo space, Envision may be worth considering given the fact that it is priced well below other vehicles in its class and offers excellent fuel economy, with combined city/highway of 26 miles per gallon.
Entertainment Systems In The Buick Envision
Entertainment is certainly not lacking in Envision. There is an awesome Bose 9-speaker premium audio system with AM / FM / SiriusXM radio, but I’m sure most would opt, as I did, for Bluetooth audio streaming. Envision is Apple Carplay and Android Auto capable. The infotainment system is equipped with voice recognition. Need to charge your smartphone? Simply place it on the wireless charging pad. Nice.
One interior feature that seems rather interesting but, at the same time, poses a problem for me - as it might for many - is the center rear view mirror. The image in the mirror is actually a video feed from a rear camera. It seems like a cool idea, and it does produce a bright, sharp image even as the sun sets... However, as someone who wears distance glasses for driving, it poses a challenge.
I can easily see distant objects when glancing into a conventional rear-view mirror, but the video image displayed in the mirror appears blurry to me as it is just inches from my face. Flipping the lever at the bottom of the mirror cuts the video and provides a standard night mirror, which I found myself using most of the time. The rear camera mirror is part of an optional technology package, priced at just under $2K, that also includes such features as adaptive cruise control, enhanced LED headlamps and enhanced parking assist, to name a few. (Yeah, once you go for adaptive cruise, ya never go back.. You'll want that.)
Engine And Transmission
I am impressed by the amount of power produced by Envision’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo engine. Paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission, there is ample power for around-town drives as well as confident acceleration that allows me to attain freeway speeds, and pass slower moving vehicles, fairly quickly. It always makes me a bit nervous when I hear about an SUV with a four-cylinder engine, but it feels just right in this vehicle - the 228-horsepower turbo Ecotec engine performs well.
No Shift Lever In The Buick Envision - Welcome To Electronic Precision Shift
There’s no shift lever in this vehicle. Envision is equipped with Electronic Precision Shift. You simply lift a small switch for reverse and drive, and push a button to put the vehicle in park. Takes a little getting used to at first, but it seems fairly easy and efficient. It also helps give the center console a sleek low-profile appearance. If you prefer to shift manually, the vehicle is equipped with paddle shifters.
Envision A Start-Stop Feature That Isn't Annoying
The vehicle, like many newer vehicles, has engine stop-start technology. It is designed to kill the engine briefly at stop signs and red lights in order to conserve fuel. Honestly, I’m not a fan of the stop-start feature and I generally push a button to disable it at the beginning of each drive. I have to hand it to Buick, however, because it is much more subtle and less annoying than many other vehicles we've tested. In fact, I didn’t even realize it was engaged when I started driving because I barely noticed the start-stop action at lights and in traffic.
What's It Like To Drive A Buick Envision?
The 2022 Buick Envision Avenir handles beautifully on a variety of road surfaces encountered during my drive. It is equipped with MacPherson struts in the front and multi-link rear suspension. Cornering is quick and confident. In any vehicle I drive, I appreciate a nice smooth ride but I also want to feel the road. Envision has been engineered to accomplish this. The vehicle is also equipped with Stabilitrak traction control.
Is The Buick Envision A Safe Car?
As I mentioned previously, there is a lot going on in this vehicle. In addition to all the comfort, convenience, and mechanical features, Envision is loaded with safety features - some that come standard and some that are included in our test-vehicle through option-packages. Between collision alert, following distance indicators, front and rear park assist, and front pedestrian braking, I feel pretty safe in this vehicle.
But wait...there's more. If I start to drift out of my lane to the right or left, the corresponding side of my seat vibrates - making it practically impossible to accidentally drift out of your lane while changing the radio station. However, if you find your seat vibrating often, you might want to rethink where you have directed your focus.
Best Features In The Buick Envision
Hands-Free Power Tailgate - A Favorite, Hands Down
Another feature I find particularly helpful is the hands-free power liftgate. It allows you to open it with a kicking motion in a certain spot under the rear bumper and, in this vehicle, there is actually a lamp that projects the Buick logo onto the ground to show you where the sensor for the liftgate is. Obviously, you won't be able to see the projected image in the daytime but, after seeing it at night a few times you won’t have any difficulty finding the correct spot.
What Does A 2022 Buick Envision Avenir Cost?
The Buick Envision Avenir I’m driving is equipped with a variety of options, including a panoramic moonroof and adaptive cruise control, bringing the price to $44,310. So, while the 2022 Envision may not be the most spacious luxury crossover on the market, or even the most luxurious for that matter, the price is almost as attractive as the vehicle itself.
The 2022 Envision is available in three trim levels: Preferred - starting at $31,800, Essence - starting at $36,000, and Avenir - starting at $40,400. All come standard with front-wheel drive but are available with all-wheel drive.
About The Author
Known professionally as "The Traffic Guy," Reed Berry has been a driver safety educator for over 30 years. Reed has conducted traffic school classes and suspended license workshops throughout California, and has served as keynote speaker at safety conferences and corporate events across America. He has appeared on radio and television programs both in the U.S. and internationally to discuss safety-related issues. A contributor to LA Car since 2003, Reed Berry is a member of Motor Press Guild, the Los Angeles Press Club and SAG-AFTRA.