Buick on Monday introduced its newest vehicle, the 2024 Buick Envista compact crossover. Sized between the Encore GX small crossover and the Envision compact crossover, but priced lower than any other Buick vehicle, the new Envista occupies new territory in Buick’s lineup.
Along with the Buick Encore three-row crossover SUV, Buick’s “En” suite lineup consists of four crossovers that are not as luxurious as Cadillac, not as truck-inspired as GMC, and are ostensibly sleeker than Chevy in the GM family. But at a low starting price of $23,495, including destination, the 2024 Buick Envista rolls into the U.S. from GM’s factory in South Korea as the new Buick entry point.
Buick ceased selling the Encore in the U.S. as of this year, with the larger Encore GX introduced in 2021 taking up the slack in the wake of the Encore’s 10-year run. Redesigned this year, the 2024 Encore GX now costs more than $28,000, which is significantly more than the new Envista, despite being significantly smaller.
By the numbers, the 2024 Envista measures 182.6 inches long with a wheelbase of 106.3 inches. That’s sized more like the 2023 Buick Envision compact crossover at 182.5 inches long with a wheelbase of 109.4 inches. The Encore GX measures 171.4 inches long, with a wheelbase of 102.2 inches. So it would seem that the Envista would be a roomier fit for its five seats than the Encore GX. But numbers only tell part of the story, especially when only listing part of the numbers.
The 2024 Envista adopts a coupe-like profile popular with German crossover SUVs from BMW, Mercedes, and Audi, and now spreading to others, such as the Genesis GV80 Coupe concept shown off this month at the New York auto show. We’ve seen this film before, just never on a small Buick. In profile, it has a short dash-to-axle ratio, where the windshield or A-pillar ends near the front axle. The raked windshield then flows back over an arched roof that resolves at the available tailgate spoiler (ST models) of an even more raked rear windshield.
The design compromises the sporty look of a coupe with the taller ride height that has helped make crossovers so popular. The downside to the design is less cargo space and rear headroom. The Envista has 20.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind the 60/40-split three seats in back, or 42.0 cubic feet when folded down. That’s way smaller than the boxier Encore GX at 23.5/50.2 cubic feet. The Envision is a couple cubic feet larger.
The passenger area in the Envista is better for the long-legged, short-torsoed among us. Rear headroom in the Envista is 37.3 inches without the optional moonroof (worse with it), but rear legroom stretches out to 38.7 inches. The Encore GX is 38.1/36.0 inches.
The advantage of the Envista in Buick’s lineup then is its price and its style. Modeled after Buick’s Wildcat EV concept unveiled last year, the Envista looks more modern even if it looks nothing like the EV concept. Buick has a tendency of designing jaw-dropping concepts with scant traces of their DNA in production models.
It’s interesting that the Envista wears some of the aerodynamic design language of an electric vehicle concept. Buick did not say if it would get an electric option, but the first year of Envista propulsion will be by an underwhelming powertrain. It employs a 136-hp 1.2-liter turbo-3 paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission in front-wheel drive only. It rides on front struts and a solid rear axle, except for the top Avenir trim and its rear Watts link setup. GM expects it to get 30 mpg combined.
Sold in Preferred, Sport Touring(ST), and Avenir trims, every 2024 Buick Envista comes with an 11.0-inch touchscreen beside a digital instrument cluster under one piece of curved glass that measures 19.0 inches diagonal. Automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and automatic high beams also come standard.
ST models cost $25,195 while top Avenir grades cost $29,695.
Competitors range from the 2023 Mazda CX-30 to the 2023 Volvo XC40.
The 2024 Buick Envista goes on sale this summer.
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