AUTO REVIEW: 2024 Buick Envista Is a Lovely Bit of Cheap Chic

The 2024 Buick Envista (Mueller/Buick/TNS)

(Tribune News Service/TNS) — It’s one thing to make a cheap car; many automakers do it. But it’s quite another to make a cheap car that will turn heads when it pulls up to one of those fancy restaurants with the pretentious monosyllabic names like Gouge.

Yet Buick’s newest car, the 2024 Buick Envista, might just do that. It looks expensive when in fact the price for its Preferred model starts at $23,495. It’s also offered in mid-level Sport Touring (or ST) and top-of-the-line Avenir trim, with latter squeaking in just below $30,000.

Look again. Isn’t Buick’s newest crossover SUV incredibly good looking?

The 2024 Envista replaces the wart-like 2022 Encore in Buick’s line-up. It’s a substantial 14.1 inches longer, 1.5 inches wider but 3.7 inches lower. This makes for its far more pleasing appearance. But it’s also 11.5 inches longer and 2.7 inches lower than the pricier Buick Encore GX, Buick’s most popular U.S. model.

Do I smell a bargain? You bet.

Up front, the 2024 Envista wears the newest face of Buick, one cribbed from the Buick Wildcat concept car. Base models have a horizontal slot grille and LED lighting meant to visually enhance its width, while other models receive a diamond-patterned grille. Its sloping back gives it a strikingly athletic look, as well as an air of sophistication.

Like the exterior, the Envista’s interior appears premium. Fashionistas will particularly appreciate the pleasing mid-century modern shape of the Envista’s screen, which houses an 8-inch digital gauge cluster and an 11-inch infotainment screen. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility are standard, while a built-in wi-fi hotspot and optional wireless phone charging is available. It all works flawlessly and is easy to understand and operate.

That said, the Envista’s seats betray the vehicle’s price, being just as flat and unsupportive as they are in the Chevrolet Trax, with which the Buick shares its underpinnings. Interior ambience is slightly better in the Buick than in the Chevrolet, but not significantly. Space is good in both rows of the Envista, and cargo space is commendable at 20.7 cubic feet, expanding to 42 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. There are still a lot of hard plastic surfaces and little padding, but at least they’re smartly textured.

The corporate sharing continues to the drivetrain, one that’s also used in the smaller Encore GX and Chevrolet Trax. That would be a pocket-sized turbocharged 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine generating 137 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque and six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard. All-wheel drive is not available, and towing is not recommended. Those looking for either should check out the Buick Encore GX instead.

Fuel economy, at 28 mpg city, 32 mpg highway is decent, and the car uses regular fuel.


While the 2024 Buick Envista’s shape suggests speediness, its performance belies that. Around town, acceleration is sufficient and it feels peppy enough as the driveline delivers good low-end grunt. Yet entering freeways requires strategic planning and care. And its engine gets vocal when pushed, but settles down for cruising.

Standard driver-assistance safety gear includes standard lane-keeping assist with lane-departure warning, automatic emergency braking, front pedestrian braking, forward collision alert, following distance indicator and automatic high beams. Adaptive cruise control, rear parking assist, rear cross traffic alert, lane-change alert with side blind-zone alert and rain-sensing front wipers are optional.

Body roll is well-controlled for the most part, becoming pronounced when pushed to extremes. Similarly, steering feels precise, but lacks feel, not unusual in this day and age. Braking is good, with a firm pedal that’s easy to modulate. While its performance won’t engage driving enthusiasts, others will be perfectly satisfied, with a demeanor that mimics many compact crossovers at this price point.

While it performs no better than the Chevrolet Trax, which is some $3,095 to $5,795 less than the Buick, it’s hard to argue with the Envista’s appealing good looks. Given that most driving is mere slogging through clogged urban and suburban arteries, its performance is more than sufficient for the life it will live.

Better yet, it will make you look good while you’re doing it. In that regard, it’s very much the automotive H&M, an affordable yet average performer wearing an above-average wardrobe.

2024 Buick Envista

Base price: $23,495-$29,695

Engine: 1.2-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine

Horsepower/Torque: 137/162 pound-feet

EPA fuel economy: 30 mpg (combined city/highway)

Fuel required: 87 Octane

Length/Width/Height: 182.6/71.5/61.3 inches

Payload: 1,118 pounds

Cargo capacity: 20.7-42 cubic feet

Towing capacity: Not recommended

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