In a Sea of Compact SUV Choices, Buick is a Worthy Consideration

If you’re shopping for a compact SUV, Buick may not be the first option that comes to mind in the sea of choices.  But Buick’s offerings in the segment have proven successful at luring in the younger buyers that Buick and everyone else is targeting.
Buick Envista

There’s Something to be Said for the fact that Buick is the Oldest U.S. Automaker Still in Existence

Its history started in 1899, and Buick was in fact the company that established General Motors in 1908. The brand’s key to survival is its willingness to continuously adapt to changing market demands and consumer preferences.

Expanding its global market presence, particularly in China, while consolidating the Buick vehicle lineup have also helped Buick sustain its overall sales and profitability. In 1999, the last of nearly 16 million Buicks were built in Flint’s Buick City.  Buick now has assembly plants situated in a diverse range of locations, including the United States, Canada, China, South Korea, and Germany.  

For the 2024 model year, Buick’s North American lineup consists of the Encore GX and Envista subcompact crossovers, the Envision compact crossover, and the Enclave mid-size crossover. All offer luxury features and a refined driving experience at a more affordable price compared to high-end luxury brands.   

We had an opportunity to drive the 2024 models of Buick’s popular subcompacts. Both are assembled in South Korea at Buick’s Bupyeong manufacturing plant.

Buick Consistently and Effectively Positions Itself as a Premium, Yet Accessible, Brand

We drove the Buick Encore GX earlier this year and wrote about it:  Those who appreciate a small SUV with more of a premium feel will relish all the Buick hallmarks on the Encore GX.  From its classy looks to its comfortable ride, and with a spacious and upscale interior and ample cargo area, it’s quiet and easy to drive. And all Encore GX models offer a robust list of included and optional tech and safety features.  With a starting price of $26,895, that’s higher than that of most of its rivals. But it’s still less than luxury brand pricing.

While it’s not offered in AWD like the Encore, the Buick Envista offers another compelling option with a starting price that’s several thousand dollars less than its cousin. It’s cheap to own, too, with an EPA-combined fuel economy rating of 30 mpg. And yet, Envista is actually larger than the Encore GX and has a more spacious rear seat.  It is, in fact, more spacious than most of the other rivals across the segment.

Envista is First to Fully Incorporate Buick’s New, Modern Design Language

With a long wheelbase, low roof and sleek profile, Envista has the riding dynamics of a sedan. The headlamps and taillamps evolve Buick’s signature wing lighting with a thinner and more crisp form.

Envista is front-wheel drive, powered by a turbocharged 1.2-liter inline three-cylinder engine (137 horsepower, 162 lb-ft of torque) and a six-speed automatic transmission. Unlike the Encore, there’s no engine upgrade option. But some will also weigh in the fact that the engine upgrade on a front-wheel-drive Encore changes the transmission to a CVT.

Attention to detail is found throughout the interior, enhanced by Buick’s signature QuietTuning system to prevent road noise.  And like all the Buicks, Envista’s standard equipment is impressive.  All Envistas have a fully digital dashboard and impressive safety tech features.  And almost all equipment that is standard on the top-level Avenir trim is available on either of the other Envista trim levels.   

Buick Envista
The new ultra-wide infotainment screens in the 2024 Buick Envista ST

We Drove the mid-level Sport Touring model with Starting Price of $24,100

The Sport Touring trim adds a more aggressive black appearance package.  A Convenience I package added remote start, keyless entry, power-adjustable driver’s seat and heated front seats and steering wheel. The Experience Buick package added a power moonroof with manual shade and 19-inch wheels with an upgraded suspension. The Convenience II package added power liftgate, rain-sensing windshield wipers and wireless charging.  Advanced Safety package added adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert. Real Park Assist was an extra but inexpensive add-on. Ocean Blue Metallic paint and destination charges completed the list of add-ons, still keeping it just above $29K.

To further compare Envista to Encore and other options in the segment read our post: 
American Carmakers Bring Their A-Game in the Tight Competition Among Compact SUVs.

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