Envista Emerges as Buick Reimagines the Small SUV

CHATHAM, Mass. – Introduction of the swoopy and sleek new 2024 Buick Envista ST shatters any lingering images of the brand symbolizing large, lumbering sedans transporting the town’s aging family doctor.

Instead of the gas-guzzling V8 engine, the all-new Envista showcases an efficient turbocharged 1.2-liter three-cylinder motor which can achieve better than 30 miles per gallon of motoring in a reasonably priced small sport-utility vehicle (SUV).

Powertrain pieces

General Motors brought the three-cylinder engine back to the North American market for the 2021 model year and continues to base some of its small Chevrolet and Buick — like the new Envista — models on this unique design.

The aluminum block and cylinder head powerplant has a double-overhead camshaft layout featuring 12 valves, and, according to GM, is lighter and less complicated than its previous 1.2-liter motors.

Thanks in great part to the boost of the turbocharger, the mighty might of a motor puts 137 horsepower and 167 pounds-feet of torque through the six-speed automatic transmission into the front-wheel (FWD) drivetrain. FWD is the only drivetrain configuration available in this small sport-utility/crossover-utility vehicle (SUV/CUV); no all-wheel drive (AWD).

These mechanical pieces produce peppy off-the-line oomph but have to work hard to reach full highway speeds (Car and Driver recorded 0-60 miles per hour times of 9.7 seconds).

When it comes to fuel efficiency, the 2024 Buick Envista ST (the initials stand for Sport Touring) delivers. The federal Environmental Protection Agency rated the Envista at 30 miles per gallon overall (28 urban, 32 highway) – in a week of heavy-footed driving, really pushing the pint-sized machine hard, I saw 33.7 mpg in overall fuel efficiency.

As usual this result came from aggressive driving, up and down the twisting roads of Wellfleet (Massachusetts) along the Atlantic coast as well as a couple of hundred highway miles along the state’s south shore. The Envista never felt over its head regardless of road type, providing a quiet, comfortable ride and handling combination.

Simple, modern platform with today’s advanced driver-assistance systems

Keeping with the Envista’s efficiency them, the chassis pieces are straightforward. Up front, MacPherson-type struts and in the rear a compound crank setup. GM’s StabiliTrak stability-control system helps keep the Envista tracking true.

An electric, four-wheel disc brake system with Duralife™ rotors (11.8-inches front, 11.3 rear) and anti-lock (ABS) work within the 18×7.5-inch alloy wheels which wear 225/55R18 all-season tires.

Standard on all 2024 Buick Envista models is the Buick Driver Confidence package. This package includes six active safety and advanced driver assistance technologies (ADAS) such as automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane-keep assist with lane-departure warning, IntelliBeam auto high-beams.

The review ST was also equipped with the optional ($595) Advanced Safety Package which adds adaptive cruise control, lane-change alert with blind-spot zone alert and rear cross-traffic alert.

Also standard is a HD (high-definition) rear-vision monitor.

Clean, functional, modern interior with up-to-date technology

Large windows help provide the interior of the Envista with the feeling of spaciousness; a very comfortable place for four, and a fifth if the three in the rear are friendly.

The most striking visual upon entering the Envista’s cabin is the panoramic Ultrawide Infotainment Display ranging from just inside the driver’s door 30 inches across the dashboard above the right edge of the center console.

The display includes two LCD screens. The left one provides a customizable information cluster for the driver activated through steering-wheel controls.

The right touchscreen is an 11-inch (measured diagonally) unit which is the heart of the infotainment system. The infotainment system features Bluetooth streaming; SiriusXM satellite radio and one of the quickest connecting wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto functionalities I have experienced (after starting the Envista, CarPlay was ready to go before the satellite radio had found its signal).

The test unit included the optional ($1,195) Convenience 1 Package and the optional ($595) Convenience II Package. The first brings heated front seats (the driver’s with eight-way power adjustability and lumbar support); heated steering wheel; keyless entry and remote starting.

Convenience II includes power rear hatch; wireless charging, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

The optional Experience Buick Package includes the power moonroof as well as the black-painted alloy wheels.

All these elements, optional and standard, combine to make the Buick Envista ST a comfortable place for a quick run to the store or a highway trip across the state. The ride is supple; the interior environment is quiet – the overall experience is this is a nice small car.

Efficient, modern and affordable

Buick aimed at offering an affordable, premium entry into the small SUV category which it accomplished with the new 2024 Envista. The three-model range opens with the Envista Preferred at $23,495 and tops with the very well-equipped Avenir at $29,695.

The ST (Sport Touring) has a base price of $25,195 and, with the extensive optional package discussed and the $1,095 destination charge, as reviewed price of $29,070.

Next week TBR Drives the 2024 Hyundai Tucson Limited

Mike Geylin
Mike Geylin

Mike Geylin is the Editor-in-Chief at Hagman Media. Geylin has been in automotive communications for five decades working in all aspects of the industry from OEM to supplier to motorsports as well as reporting for both newspapers and magazines on the industry.