Durable car I have owned since new
September 24, 2018
We were shopping five door hatchback sedans and midsize SUVs at the NY Car show before visiting a few dealers. Narrowed it down the BMW X3, Lexus RX, and Buick Envision. Why compare these three? We wanted to see if the cars were that much different in the driving experience.
Used the 4 cylinder turbo in the BMW and Buick, Lexus only has a V6. The Buick was AWD with hyperstrut suspension, the BMW and Lexus only had one suspension offered. To my (and wife's) surprise, the Buick was close behind the BMW in handling, and marginally better than the Lexus. The quality of the interior matched the other two manufacturers. The performance of the turbo engine was closely matched to the other two engines as well. While the Lexus has the bigger engine, it also gets slightly worse gas mileage than the two other models we compared it to.
Interior materials were better in the BMW and Lexus because below the armrests Buick uses hard plastic. However above the armrest again the three cars were pretty much the same. Also, the track control in the Lexus was absolutely horrendous to use. You have to be at a stoplight to manipulate any of those controls in the RX - no way to use them on the move. This factor pretty much eliminated the Lexus from consideration.
Next was price. So the BMW was more expensive - for a lot. The BMW loaded was going for just over $56,000 and the dealer was willing to sell it to me for $55,000 (I equipped it the same as a fully loaded Buick since BMW offers more luxury features than Buick does - so automatic crash prevention was included, air cooled seats, but not the top M class package). The Buick being a 2018 and the 2019 was coming out in May 2018, was only $38,000 ($14,000 discount). So if I was willing to pay $17,000 for a slightly better handling car, name recognition, and a slightly better interior the BMW was the better car. However, I was interested in saving that large amount of money for a car that was close in initial quality to the BMW. So I bought the Buick.
What do we not like about the Buick? Simply put, the Portholes need to go. They are very dated now and the little plastic strip they put on the hood are useless. I wish GM/Buick would just dump that. I think they did (finally) on the new Regal, now they need to do it for the rest of the lineup.
Reliability early on is great. In four months, drove 9000 miles with no problems and one oil change at 6000 miles. The dealer did the oil change for free (the first two are free) sot that was nice. Extensive use of the features on long trips and they all work well. The XM traffic avoidance worked well in urban areas and highways, not as well in the middle of nowhere (but it did warn of a car race in the middle of nowhere in PA). The self parking function does not always find a spot immediately but 90% of the time detects the spot, and will essentially park the car for you as long as you brake and change from forward and reverse when instructed. It is a nice "luxury" addition they made on the car.
After four months, the family loves this car. The wife loves to drive it (it is not a big car to drive) and having OnStar, the kids love the back seat with the wi-fi connections, the two USB ports, AC controls for the back seat, the heated rear seats, and the fact you can recline the back seats to relax. It has turned out this car is perfect for our family of four, and we are happy we made this choice.