After dropping the subcompact Encore from its lineup at the end of the 2022 model year, Buick has revealed its replacement for North America, the first-ever Buick Envista.
For context, the Encore is still sold in China, where an all-new second-gen model went on sale in 2020. This version was not sold in North America. The Envista is also ticketed for China, which was the site of its global reveal last August.
At any rate, for North America, the Buick Envista will slot below the recently facelifted Encore GX as Buick’s entry-level model. Both cars share a common architecture and powertrains and are built in the same plant in South Korea. And like the Encore GX, the Envista will be offered in three grades, Preferred, Sport Touring (ST), and Avenir.
Buick is slotting the coupe-like Envista below Encore GX to attract younger buyers to the brand. Reps at the reveal event told Wheels.ca
the Envista is aimed at buyers who are moving out of small crossovers and sedans and are seeking a stylish and tech-laden vehicle at a reasonable price.
To that end, Buick is limiting the configurability of the Envista and that starts with powertrains. Whereas the Encore GX is offered in both front and all-wheel drive with two transmission options, the Envista has one powertrain for all grades. A 1.2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 136 horsepower and 162 lb-ft. of torque is paired to a six-speed automatic transmission that drives the front wheels only.
Full specs have not been released, but Buick says the 1.2 uses a turbocharger that reaches peak torque faster and for a longer duration for, “a fun and engaging driving experience,” according to a statement.
Buick also says this version of the engine uses fewer parts and is, therefore, lighter and produces better ride and handling, with reduced weight and greater efficiency. Final fuel economy numbers hadn’t been released at the time of writing, but the company says the Envista should return 7.8 L / 100km combined (30 mpg).
Like other Buicks, the Envista receives the brand’s QuietTuning system that insulates the cabin from wind and tire noise. To aid in delivering a quieter and more composed ride, a Watts Link suspension is standard on Avenir and available on ST.
On the design front, the Envista follows the path of the Encore GX with an appearance that draws heavily from the Wildcat EV concept. Like its sibling, the Envista features a forward-leaning nose, new Buick tri-shield badge, wide lower grille and thin LED checkmark headlights.
With a rakish coupé-like silhouette, Buick designers gave the Envista a sculpted beltline, with short front and rear overhangs and a sloping rear roofline. At the rear, the Envista receives the new tri-shield, stretched Buick wordmark and 3D-shaped LED taillights that wrap around the car’s corners.
These cues are shared with the Encore GX, as are other grade-specific trim details such as black trim on ST models and body-colour lower trim panels, and clear LED taillight lenses for Avenir. Wheels also vary by grade with standard black 18-inchers for ST with a 19-inch set available as an option. For Avenir, 19-inch pearl nickel wheels are standard.
Inside the Cabin, the Envista resembles the Encore GX and offers similar features, including a curved 19-inch diagonal panel that houses two digital screens, one for the instrument cluster and the other for the multimedia display. The latter is an 11-inch diagonal unit that Buick says is the biggest in its class. Other details of note include embroidered headrests for ST and Avenir grades, standard flat-bottomed steering wheel on all grades, contrast stitching for seat and trim panels, and two-tone interior colour schemes.
While not as spacious as the Encore GX, the Envista offers cargo versatility with 40/60 split-folding rear seats and 1,189 litres (42 cubic feet) when they are folded down. With the rear seatbacks up, 586 litres (20.7 cubic feet) are available. Buick says the Envista’s cargo area can haul items that are 2.3 metres (7.5 feet) long diagonally. A power liftgate will be available as an option.
As for safety, all 2024 Envistas will come equipped with a host of standard safety features bundled together in the Buick Driver Confidence Package. Among these are Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, and more. Other items such as Side Blind Zone Alert, Adaptive Cruise Control, and Rear Cross Traffic alert are optional.
The 2024 Buick Envista goes on sale this summer. Pricing will be announced closer to launch.