Expert Reviews

2024 Buick Envista Review

AutoTrader SCORE
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
  • Safety

The all-new 2024 Buick Envista replaces the Encore as the brand’s entry-level model.

The Envista comes in three trim levels, all with front-wheel drive (FWD) only, starting with the Preferred at $28,999, including a non-negotiable delivery fee of $2,000, and topping out with the Avenir at $33,899. Tested here was the mid-level Sport Touring (ST) that’s priced at $30,299. This one was further optioned with two packages that added 19-inch wheels, a sunroof, an upgraded suspension, a wireless charger, power tailgate, and rain-sensing wipers. Along with premium paint and a block heater, this tester’s pre-tax price came to $34,884.

Styling: 8/10

A sibling to the equally-new Chevrolet Trax, the Envista is a good-looking vehicle, and this tester’s Ebony Twilight Metallic paint – $495 on the Preferred and ST, no charge on the Avenir – really sets it off. The Envista shares the Trax’s interior styling, but while the Chevy version has separate overlapping screens for its digital instrument cluster and infotainment system, the Buick has a single screen stretching across the dash.

Safety: 7/10

The 2024 Buick Envista hadn’t yet been rated by the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) at the time of writing. All trims get emergency front braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keep assist, a rear seat reminder, teen driver controls, driver and passenger knee airbags, automatic high-beam headlights, and a high-definition version of the back-up camera that’s mandatory on all new vehicles.

What doesn’t impress me, from both safety and styling perspectives, is that the Envista’s brake lights are in the bumper in line with the bottom of the tailgate; the upper lights are just running lights. Buick reps confirmed the placement meets NHTSA’s requirements, and this isn’t the only brand to put its lights in these locations, but they aren’t in the “triangle” most other road users are used to looking for. The Envista also doesn’t have a rear wiper, but there wasn’t a buildup on the rear window on rainy or snowy days.

Features: 8/10

The base Preferred includes such features as 17-inch wheels, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, cargo privacy cover, heated front seats and steering wheel, push-button start, remote starter, single-zone automatic climate control, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and cloth seats with faux-leather trim.

The ST further adds 18-inch wheels, full faux-leather upholstery, and gloss black exterior accents. The top-level Avenir then adds 19-inch wheels, a power tailgate, power sunroof, wireless charger, and rain-sensing wipers, all of which can be optioned on the ST as they were on this tester; along with Avenir-only auto-dimming mirrors and leather upholstery.

User-Friendliness: 9/10

The Buick’s functions are simple to use, including climate buttons and dials, and proper controls on the steering wheel. The infotainment touchscreen uses intuitive menus and has a dial for the stereo volume. It’s also easy to get in and out of, and while that sloping rear window does steal a bit of visibility, it’s not enough to be an issue – although it’s slightly problematic in terms of the space back there.

Practicality: 7/10

Although it’s larger overall than many of its rivals in this segment, the Envista trails almost all of them in cargo space at a mere 586 L with the rear seats in place, and 1,189 L when they’re folded. That’s primarily due to that sharply-sloping rear roofline; the more upright Chevrolet Trax sibling offers 725 L for cargo. This Buick will still get your groceries home, but check carefully if you need to haul large items.

Comfort: 8/10

The Envista’s seats are firm but supportive and stay comfortable during long drives. Front-row headroom is mid-pack with many of its rivals at 1,000 mm (39.4 in), but that sloped roofline reduces rear head space to 947 mm (37.3 in), at the lower end of the scale. Front legroom is among the segment’s most generous at 1,065 mm (41.9 in), and rear-seat passengers get 983 mm of legroom (38.7 in) – generous in a vehicle this size. The ride is smooth, and the standard active noise cancellation does an excellent job of keeping the cabin quiet.

Power: 8/10

All Envista trims are powered by a turbocharged 1.2L three-cylinder engine that makes 137 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque. Those aren’t big numbers, but Buick wisely uses a six-speed automatic transmission. A common choice in entry segments is a gearless continuously-variable transmission (CVT), but when combined with a very small engine, these can feel rubbery and disconnected. Instead, the Buick feels surprisingly peppy from a stop. It can get when wheezy climbing hills or with hard highway passing, but that’s generally the nature of a small-engine runabout meant primarily for urban spaces.

Driving Feel: 9/10

The Buick Envista is a far more satisfying driver than might be expected in this segment. It feels well-balanced; the steering is well-weighted; and the vehicle responds quickly and accurately, moving smoothly in and out of curves. All but the nastiest bumps get soaked up before they get into that quiet cabin. Added optionally to this ST – and standard on the Avenir – is a rear Watt’s link suspension that helps reduce lateral movement for better handling.

The Envista is FWD-only, and while that’s not unique in this segment, all-wheel drive (AWD) is popular in this country and beyond. If you’re looking for extra traction, check out the Buick Encore GX. Still, it’s a bit smaller, and I found the Envista offers better driving performance and a smoother ride.

Fuel Economy: 8/10

The Buick Envista is rated by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) at 8.4 L/100 km in the city, 7.4 on the highway, and 7.9 in combined driving, and it takes regular-grade gasoline. In my cold-weather week, I averaged 8.6 L/100 km.

The Envista is slightly thirstier than rivals in FWD in the segment, but by decimals. The Kia Seltos rates at 7.6 L/100 km in combined driving; the Toyota Corolla Cross is 7.4; the Nissan Kicks is 7.2; and the Hyundai Venue is 7.5.

Value: 8/10

The Envista’s starting prices of $28,999 to $33,899 are in line with the segment. The smaller Hyundai Venue and Nissan Kicks start at $22,599 and $24,128, respectively; the Kia Seltos at about $27,345; and the Toyota Corolla Cross begins at $29,180. Among premium brands, the Lexus UX is similarly sized, but it comes only as a hybrid – and with standard AWD – and starts at $44,505 (all prices including delivery).

The Buick Encore GX starts at $31,649 in FWD; for AWD, prices range from $33,649 to $38,579. The Envista’s FWD-only Chevrolet Trax corporate cousin runs from $23,699 to $30,199. But if you’re opting for the Envista, get the Avenir, rather than fully loading up the ST; you actually get more for less with that highest trim.

The Verdict

Given that the Chevrolet Trax is less expensive, offers more cargo space and rear-seat headroom, shares most of the Buick’s cabin design and controls, and has its brake lights where they belong, it should be cross-shopped when you’re test-driving. Even so, for its combination of price, packaging and performance relative to its entry-level status, the 2024 Buick Envista is likely the most impressive model this brand is offering right now. The now-departed Encore was one more model in a crowded segment, but the Envista is a contender.

Engine Displacement 1.2L
Engine Cylinders I3
Peak Horsepower 137 hp @ 5,000 rpm
Peak Torque 162 lb-ft @ 2,500 rpm
Fuel Economy 8.4 / 7.4 / 7.9 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb
Cargo Space 586 / 1,189 L seats up/down
Model Tested 2024 Buick Envista ST
Base Price $30,299
A/C Tax $100
Destination Fee $2,000
Price as Tested $34,984
Optional Equipment
$2,585 – Experience Buick package of power sunroof, Watt’s-link suspension and 19-inch black wheels, $1,195; Convenience II package of rain-sensing wipers, wireless charger and power liftgate, $700; block heater, $195; Ebony Twilight Metallic paint, $495