Feb 26, 2021 - Economy

What we're driving: 2021 Buick Envision Avenir

2021 Buick Envision Avenir. Photo: Buick

2021 Buick Envision Avenir. Photo: Buick

This week I'm driving the 2021 Buick Envision, a rare American SUV that's built in China.

The big picture: Greeted with controversy when it debuted in 2016, the Envision occupies an important spot in Buick's all-SUV lineup, sandwiched between the stubby little Encore and the family-hauling Enclave.

  • After a makeover, the 2021 Envision is the most attractive of the trio, and comes in three trim levels: Preferred, Essence, and the top-end Avenir, which I tested.

Details: The interior is pleasing, with quilted leather upholstery and textured wood details.

  • A 10-inch infotainment touchscreen is tilted toward the driver, and it features a WiFi hub and standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
  • There's a built-in Amazon Alexa voice assistant ("Alexa, turn on the lights at home") and an app that offers curated podcasts for women and book recommendations from Reese Witherspoon's Book Club.
  • There are nine standard driver-assistance features include lane-keeping assist and automatic emergency braking, but you have to pay extra for things like adaptive cruise control and a head-up display.
  • One fun thing: The Avenir model comes with a new automatic parking assist feature, which can search for a parallel or perpendicular parking space and the car does the rest.

By the numbers: The Envision starts at $32,995. The Avenir starts at $41,395. All-wheel-drive is available for $1,800 on all models.

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