A three-row version of the Buick Envision crossover, which GM Authority was first to exclusively report on last year, was officially unveiled at the annual Buick Brand Day in Shanghai, China on April 18th, and will go on sale in that country later this year as the Buick Envision Plus. Later, the same vehicle is expected arrive in the United States, where it is expected to be named Buick Envision GX to slot between the compact 2021 Envision (called the Envision S in China) and full-size Buick Enclave. To that end, the three-row model is longer than the regular, two-row 2021 Buick Envision, but as the pictures below clearly show, there is more to it than that, as there are also several differences in the design details.
From a front three-quarter view, it’s clear that the two models very similar in terms of their origins, structure and general design. However, designers have also been able to differentiate them in several ways. In the two-row Envision, the lines running upward and inward from the lower air intakes on the front fascia point toward the chrome bar across the grille. Meanwhile, the lower line of the headlights starts out with the apparent intention of meeting that bar, but don’t quite make the connection.
Each of these design features is completely contradicted on the Envision Plus. The lines around the air intakes turn more sharply, and aim well below the chrome bar, then fade out before they reach the grille. Also, the lower part of the headlight units point directly towards the bar. These are just two aspects of the front end design that emphasize the horizontal aspects of the vehicle. By these means, the Envision Plus gives the impression of being lower and wider than the regular Envision, which is not actually the case. As explained in our recent dimensional comparison, the two vehicles are in fact the same width, and the Envision Plus is 2.5 inches higher.
The Envision Plus is also the longer of the two vehicles by 8.2 inches. This is shown very clearly in the photos above, but it is also noticeable that the length of the rear doors has been extended so that their handles are in the same position to the rear arches as on the shorter Envision.
With the longer rear doors on the Envision Plus come modifications in the shape of the rear side windows. On the two-row Buick Envision, these go no further than the rear edge of the doors. On the Envision Plus, they extend well past the C-pillar, and the lower edge of the greenhouse trim is flat, rather than having a prominent uptick toward the end in the two-row model.
Although the Envision and Envision Plus shown above have been pictured at slightly different angles, it is still obvious that the Envision Plus has a longer rear overhang. This was confirmed in our dimensional comparison: the Envision Plus may be 8.2 inches longer overall, but the difference in wheelbase is only 2.1 inches.
The most obvious difference between the two Envision crossovers is the rear end, with the three-row model featuring a considerably longer rear overhang for the added cabin dimensions. Outside of that, other key differences concern the position of the faux exhaust outlets and the skidplate. On the regular Envision, the outlets are higher than the skidplate, while on the Envision Plus all three items are on the same level. This seems to be entirely a design-led decision – since the vehicles are identical in width, each arrangement could presumably have been applied to both of them, if Buick had wanted that. However, designers opted to more aggressively taper the rear bumper cover of the two-row Envision at each corner.
The rear lights are somewhat different in shape, and on the Envision Plus they surround the outer edges of a chrome bar which is not present on the two-row model. As with the front end design, this adds a horizontal element which disguises the extra height of the Envision Plus.
Both Buick Envision models ride on the GM E2 platform, though a slightly extended version in the case of the Envision Plus. The two-row model is already built at the SAIC-GM Jianqiao plant in Shanghai, while the three-row variant will go into production at the same facility later this year.
The only engine offered on the two-row model is the turbocharged 2.0L I4 LSY gasoline unit, which produces 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque and is mated to GM’s nine-speed automatic transmission. The Envision Plus uses the same engine, but pairs it with a mild hybrid system which also includes a 48V electric motor. No power or torque figures have yet been announced for this powertrain.