2021 Buick Envision: 5 Things We Like and 2 Things We Don’t

buick envision essence 2021 05 angle  black  exterior  rear jpg 2021 Buick Envision | Cars.com photo by Mike Hanley

The 2021 Buick Envision has been completely updated and rides a fine line between mainstream and luxury-branded SUVs, competing against models like the Acura RDX and Lincoln Corsair along with range-topping trims of the Mazda CX-5 and Volkswagen Tiguan. Yet, thanks to its refined driving manners and long list of standard safety features, the Envision carves out its own niche among many worthy competitors.

Related: 2021 Buick Envision Review: Premium Value

We spent time behind the wheel of a front-wheel-drive Envision in mid-level Essence trim. Adding all-wheel drive costs an additional $1,800 across all trims. With its 228-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine coupled to a nine-speed automatic transmission, the Envision provides a pleasant balance of smooth acceleration, reasonable gas mileage and even a bit of engine growl when you punch the gas pedal.

You can find our complete review of the 2021 Buick Envision by following the above related link. For a quick recap of what we like most about this compact SUV, plus a couple things that could use fixing, keep scrolling.

Things We Like

1. Big on Value

buick envision essence 2021 02 angle  black  exterior  front jpg 2021 Buick Envision | Cars.com photo by Mike Hanley

With a starting price of $32,995 (including destination fee), the 2021 Envision gives shoppers a lot of SUV for their money when you consider its overall driving experience, features and interior quality and space. The model we tested carried a $41,315 price tag along with extra comfort and convenience features including a hands-free liftgate, heated front seats, a 10.2-inch touchscreen, navigation and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity.

2. Smooth Driving Manners

The Envision’s 228-hp four-cylinder does a fine job getting this five-seat SUV down the road with a minimum of fuss. More power is always fun, but we appreciate the Envision’s balance of performance and fuel economy that won’t punch an oil-tanker-sized hole in your gas budget. We also noted the steering’s light and accurate feel, and the Envision’s suspension tuning kept us feeling in control. In fact, the ride might be firmer than what some SUV shoppers expect; more on this subject in a moment.

3. Plenty of Passenger Space

buick envision essence 2021 24 backseat  interior jpg 2021 Buick Envision | Cars.com photo by Mike Hanley

Even the classiest cabin is of little use when there isn’t room to enjoy the ride. Thankfully, the new Envision comfortably accommodates occupants in both rows of seats with adult-friendly headroom and legroom no matter where you’re seated. 

4. Cabin Quality and Easy-to-Use Multimedia System

The Envision’s cabin materials are impressive. There are soft-touch surfaces where you want them, with less expensive hard plastic at foot level. All major controls are within easy reach, and the multimedia system earns praise for its intuitive interface as well as its dedicated volume and tuning knobs. Our test car’s all-black cabin was a little somber, but a brighter tan interior is available.

5. Plenty of Standard Features

buick envision avenir 2021 oem 13 apple carplay  center stack display  front row  interior  touchscreen jpg 2021 Buick Envision Avenir | Manufacturer image

You don’t need to load up on pricey options to enjoy this SUV. Standard features on the base Envision include wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as active safety features such as automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, blind spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert and automatic high-beam headlights. 

Things We Don’t

1. Disappointing Brake Feel

While the Envision handles nicely and has plenty of pep for everyday driving, the driving experience is marred by a brake pedal that feels numb and lifeless. The brake-by-wire system also doesn’t provide the linear braking response you expect when pressing the pedal.

 2. Firmer Ride Than You Might Expect

buick envision essence 2021 08 black  exterior  front wheel jpg 2021 Buick Envision | Cars.com photo by Mike Hanley

This isn’t your grandfather’s 1982 Park Avenue — the Envision doesn’t wallow and float like Buicks of yesteryear — but the SUV’s ride could still surprise car shoppers with its overall firmness. Our test vehicle’s optional 20-inch wheels and tires likely played a contributing role, and it’s possible the standard 18-inch wheels and tires offer more comfort.

Related Video: 2020 Buick Encore GX First Impressions

More From Cars.com:

Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Featured stories

tesla model 3 2024 01 exterior front angle grey scaled jpg
chevrolet suburban 2024 01 exterior front angle scaled jpg
honda civic 2025 02 exterior front angle scaled jpg