2024 Buick Envista Avenir / Photo by Steve Rossi

Car Review: 2024 Buick Envista Represents New Direction

EAST HADDAM, CT – Looking out along the automotive landscape it’s obvious that the Buick Envista has reoriented the market horizon. The brand has gone back to basics and is offering an affordable and practical alternative that’s strikingly attractive and generously accommodating. 

This ain’t rocket science, ya’ know. So, hooray for Buick!

2024 Buick Envista ST, left, and Buick Envista Avenir

The Envista is a new crossover utility with a styling ethos that was derived from a recent Buick Wildcat design study. Its sculptural aesthetic leans toward dynamic, forward motion combined with an expression of elegance. 

The result is an upscale, attractive image with lasting presence as opposed to here today, gone tomorrow trendy design cues like wacky taillights and floating rooftops which are now all the rage.

Over the week that I tested the sleek Envista, it received three “That sure is a nice looking car” accolades from bystanders. Yes, I counted. That’s quite an unsolicited endorsement. 

2024 Buick Envista Avenir

The other trick up Buick’s sleeve is that the Envista is, in fact, manufactured by GM Korea, formerly Daewoo. It comes from the same factory that was used to produce the Chevy Trax. 

Pricing starts at $23,495, while the highline Avenir model I drove retails for $29,695. This demonstrates that GM can clearly compete with the best of ‘em when it comes to price/value. There’s a Sport Touring model in-between for $25,195. 

The Envista also includes some clever compromises to ensure cost is contained while maintaining utmost return on investment. Power comes from a 1.2-liter, turbocharged three-cylinder engine with 137 horsepower and 162 lb.-ft. torque. You’d never know there aren’t four cylinders because it goes about its business as it should due to all of today’s intelligent electronic engine management control. This baby Buick proved to be both smooth and refined, and simultaneously economic at 28 mpg City/32 Highway. 

Instead of a cheaper-to-make CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission), the Buick relies on a traditional six-speed automatic transmission which delivers a more confidence-inspiring driving experience. 

It’s combined with front-wheel drive, exclusively. Like the engine, it gets the job done, and avoids the operating, insurance, wear and repair expense of more engineering intense all-wheel drive.

With its subcompact dimensions, lightweight engine and lack of a secondary rear-wheel drive system, the versatile Envista is nimble and fun to drive. It weighs about 3,100 lbs. The ride is compliant and controlled with Quiet Tuning active noise cancellation to help keep the irritation and distraction of the outside world at bay. 

The Avenir rides on stunning, 19-inch Pearl Nickel wheels and includes an upgraded Watts Link rear suspension for improved handling precision for the average driver by minimizing lateral body-to-wheel deflection. No, it’s not a sport car. It’s a Buick.

The Envista interior is spacious, airy and inviting though it certainly doesn’t have all the bells and whistles. The digital dash is an obvious example of minimalism, with but a few instruments and icons, though it also includes an 11-inch touchscreen.

Details like a one-touch express down (but not up) driver’s window demonstrate a conscious effort to shave expense. While keeping it intuitive to operate, at least.

Inside, material and trim selections are pleasant enough, but the Envista is unlike a Buick of the days of yore. It’s not overly plush, as you might remember from what was a magnificent marque. But that was then, this is now, though it includes perforated leather-appointed seat trim. And it offers more legroom than any previous small Buick utility vehicle. A a flat-bottom heated steering wheel provides a touch of extra knee room for the heated power driver’s seat.

A 40/60-split folding second row allows for storage of items up to 7.5 feet long (diagonally). The Envista provides 20.7 cubic feet of room behind the rear seat and 42 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. An available Power Liftgate adds to operating convenience.

2024 Buick Envista ST

Buick’s Driver Confidence package is standard and features six active safety and driver assistance technologies such as Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, IntelliBeam auto high-beams and more. A high-definition Rear Vision Camera is also standard. 

Optionally available safety and driver assistance technologies include Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Adaptive Cruise Control and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

The attainable Envista is clearly worth your attention in a market that’s filled lots of more of the same. It got mine!  

(Unless otherwise noted, photos courtesy of Buick)

About Steven Rossi

Steve Rossi is an automotive engineer-turned-marketing communicator. With some 25 years in the industry, including three tours of duty in Detroit, he serves as senior columnist for "Antique Automobile" magazine. His work has also appeared in "Collectible Automobile" and "The New York Times." He holds 21 international speed and world automotive endurance records.

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