The 2016 Buick Envision is the latest entry to the highly contested compact crossover market. First launching in China, and then the United States, the 2016 Envision appears to have both the Lexus RX and Audi Q3 squarely in sight, thanks to high end amenities, and an all-new all-wheel-drive system. And while we’re describing the Chinese-spec model, it’s undoubtedly going to give us an idea of what to expect when it enters North America next year. Just like the all-new Chevrolet Cruze.
And like the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze (2015 in China), the first-ever Buick Envision debuts with GM’s all-new D2xx compact vehicle architecture. But the 2016 Envision will utilize engines outside of the new Cruze’s arsenal, such as the 2.0L Ecotec motor that in this application yields 191 kW (256 hp) at 5,500 rpm and peak torque of 353 Nm (260 lb-ft) at 5,300 rpm. This boosted four-pot is equipped to a new start/stop “DSS” six-speed transmission, giving the crossover an official, class-leading combined fuel economy of 8.8 L/100 km (or 26.73 mpg). Active grille shutters also help with fuel economy. We hope to have more information on the DSS transmission and additional motors soon.
That power can be channeled to a next-generation AWD system that represents a first from General Motors. All of the torque can either be sent to the front wheels, or the rear wheels, depending on the circumstance. Just like Audi’s quattro. GM says the new system features two electronically controlled multi-plate clutches in the rear axle automatically distribute torque from the front to rear wheels and between the rear wheels as needed. As a result, it should translate to more responsive, flexible, comfortable and efficient driving over more conventional all-wheel-drive systems. The handling department sees MacPherson struts up front, an independent four-link suspension system in the back, and a full front subframe. Meanwhile, the FlexRide system can be toggled between Normal, Tour, Sport and Off-Road modes.
On the inside, the Buick Envision comes with a “human-computer interactive platform” specifically designed for Buick. This function allows for passenger smartphone connectivity and incorporates an eight-inch high-definition touchscreen, multifunctional buttons on the steering wheel, a touchpad and voice control. The Envision is also the first vehicle in its segment in China to come standard with Active Noise Cancellation technology, which should make it one of the most sound-proof rides in its segment. For convenience’s sake, the rear power liftgate can be completely or partially opened by adjusting the opening height in three levels. Fully contented Buick Envision models feature a foot-sensing function to allow hands-free opening of the liftgate. Other amenities include a standard large panoramic sunroof, front power seats with heating, cooling and ventilation functions; and a heated sport steering wheel.
Initially, the Buick Envision will be offered in AWD Elite, AWD Luxury, AWD Versatile Flagship and AWD Versatile Sporty Flagship. Which we’re sure roll off the tongue way better in Mandarin. Lastly, the five launch colors will be Snowy White, Glacier Silver, Pearl Black, Topaz Brown and Sky Purple.