The hubs and I took the first long vacation we’ve taken without kids in years and we did it in style.
In the new Buick Envision AWD, that is. We were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary and we wanted the trip to be special, so we’d set up accommodations in a resort high in the Santa Ynez Mountains above Santa Barbara. Less than two hours from home, it’s relatively close yet felt like a world apart.
Because we were staying in a cabin at an RV resort, we knew we’d have a lot of room to play cornhole and we’d need a couple of coolers for transporting food. This meant we needed a vehicle with a lot of cargo space yet was comfortable enough for both freeway and unpaved roads. A boatload of luxurious amenities is always appreciated, too, so we were very excited to hear we were given the opportunity to test drive what I think is really the best luxury SUV for a romantic getaway: the 2019 Buick Envision AWD.
Why is the Buick Envision the best Luxury SUV for Road Trips?
The Buick Envision AWD is a luxury SUV that’s going to meet the needs of many demographics. It’s a perfect commuter car, would make a great vehicle for a dog mom like me (now that my kids aren’t little anymore) or I can easily put the grandbaby’s car seat in there. Or two, not that I’m pressuring my adult kids or anything.
Fancy date night, a grocery run, vet visit, group Disney day, my son and his friends and all their football gear, this crossover SUV fits the bill. At 20 mpg city, 25 freeway, it’s economical enough for a daily driver and if you decide to veer off-road rather than head to the office one morning – and who could blame you because this car won’t break your budget – then the AWD will make it easy to take a spontaneous detour.
But How Does It Drive?
Let’s talk about the driving experience. Getting into the driver’s seat, you adjust your seat’s positioning (further away from the wheel and straighten up for me, please) and push the button to start the engine. Grab that leather-wrapped steering wheel and you’re quickly on your way.
With a 9-speed automatic transmission, the Envision has very quick acceleration, yet it’s light enough to not feel heavy. It has a lot of pep on the freeway, and even when climbing the mountains, we never felt any lag. The braking system was smooth without shuddering that sometimes happens in SUVs if there is a need to suddenly brake.
One thing that surprised us was the hybrid engine that shuts down when you’re at a complete stop. We didn’t even know it was happening, because it’s not audible until you take your foot off the brake and press on the gas. It’s a quiet vehicle, so you barely hear the restart that’s designed to improve gas mileage.
And It’s All About the Comfort and Amenities Next
Too hot or too cold? The heating and air conditioning options are clearly lit and easy to reach even if you need to do it while you’re already on the road. The temperature display is right in the same console as the seat options.
Seat options, you ask? Not only are the seats heated, but they are air-conditioned, too. Who knew how much I would like it when sitting down on leather seats on a hot day. I will warn you, if you’re not used to it, you may be inclined to think you spilled something because it really does keep your backside cool. This is a really good amenity when living here in SoCal, and I wish my personal car had it! It sure beats throwing a towel down over expensive upholstery or doing the Ooh ah ah ha IT’S SO HOT squirm or peeling your thighs off sweaty leather. (We’ve all been there.)
Two drink holders between the driver and passenger seats, right next to the shift console. A fun little surprise also there is the wireless charging system for your mobile device. No messing with cords while you’re trying to pay attention to the road around you! Game changer.
Once the car is charging, you will see a notification pop up on the navigation/music display screen asking if you give permission for the car to access your phone. This eliminates the need to go through a connection process that many older cars use.
Navigational Help, Cameras and Digital Readouts Are No Slouch
Speaking of that navigational system, it’s one of the biggest screens I’ve seen. It’s easy to see the map and you can turn down the guidance system independently from the audio volume. Like many nav systems, you can program it by address or POI (place of interest) name, or it will help you find places within so many miles of your current location. It has its own wifi system, which is invaluable when you’re driving through mountains where the cell may be spotty. I was impressed that I could still see the map up in the valley by our RV resort, even when our cell phones weren’t picking up a signal.
Digital readouts for the driver are large and easy to view while driving. Your current speed is large and central on your dash, and if you’ve kept the HUD on – the display that projects your speed and next steps for navigation – you’ll see it on your windshield right above the dash. Because my husband and I didn’t change the seat height as we switched as drivers, he would need to make some adjustments to it if he chose to use it like I did. I loved being able to see the stated speed limit, my own speed, and which direction I needed to turn next without having to turn away from the road.
If backing-up is not your favorite thing, you can stop worrying with the back-up cameras in the Envision. I was able to zip into my driveway without worry about veering in the grass, and I normally don’t back in at all. The crossover SUV is also equipped with front cameras, something you don’t see that often.
Even More Bells and Whistles
There are a lot of things in the Envision that makes you feel like it’s a luxury vehicle, little things you don’t realize you need until you try them. My favorite was the blind spot assist, a system that generates a small orange symbol in your side mirrors when another vehicle is in your blind spot. This makes lane-changing less of a worry.
Additional automated assists are also available, such as notifications when you are too close to the car in front of you or veering from your lane. When you set your cruise control, with the help of the following distance indicator, if the car in front of you slows down, your car will also slow down on its own, to readjust for your safety while still keeping the speed you’ve chosen when again appropriate to accelerate.
The passengers in the second row will also be happy with their amenities, such as air conditioning options, USB charging and an outlet for other items. With a Bose premium sound system, everyone is going to be happy. If no one’s sitting in the middle seat, a cup holder can be folded down.
Not great at parking? There’s an automated parking assist option. I have to be honest, I didn’t try this one. I am not good at parallel parking so my habit is to continue to avoid curbs unless I can pull right up to the edge and be done with it all.
Safety Options and Price Will Seal the Deal
All the safety systems you can ask for are on-board the Envision: a litany of airbags, traction control, keyless entry (with remote start), tire pressure warnings and a teen driver mode, amongst others. It’s also OnStar capable, with a button easily accessible, next to your rearview mirror.
Standard vehicle price is $43,600 but if you want all the bells and whistles, many of the ones I’ve listed above and in the model, we test drove, it’ll run you around $48,000.00. There are so many bells and whistles available, it’s hard to list them all. In short, the Buick Envision AWD makes driving fun. You feel as though you’re in a luxury cockpit as you’re surrounded by everything you’ll need for whatever travels are ahead.
There are a few trim levels for the Buick Envision: Envision 1SV (the base model, starting at $33k+), Preferred (which adds rear camera, rear park assist, and smartphone connectivity and starts at $36k+), Essence (with rear cross-traffic alert, wonderful if a pedestrian or child runs behind the vehicle, as well as upgraded leather and heated rear outboard seating, starting at $38k+), Premium (including forward collision alert, 2.0L Turbo 4-Cylinder SIDI Engine, lane assist with departure warning, and a Bose premium speaker system, starting at $41k+), and the Premium II (which offers the automated parking option, Buick infotainment, heads-up display and more, starting at $44k+).
I spend a lot of time sitting on Los Angeles freeways, so I need a vehicle that’s comfortable to sit in, has a stereo that cranks the Sirius tunes loudly yet doesn’t talk over my navigational voice and isn’t so complicated that I have to relearn how to drive. All while keeping me safe and making me look good. Definitely not too much to ask for with the Buick Envision AWD! Oh, all the gear I mentioned? It held my huge Avengers cornhole set, two coolers, a few suitcases, two bags of shoes (don’t judge), seven dresses on hangers (easily hung from hooks inside each passenger door), and a bunch of random picnic gear without a hitch. Our visibility wasn’t blocked and we still had room to add extra bags of gifts we bought. Then there’s this organizer…
Who Should Buy This Car?
The 2019 Buick Envision AWD is an ideal vehicle for the traveling family, the pet lover, and the busy mom or dad stowing kids’ gear into the car after a day on the sports field. It’s for the solo traveler or the group that wants to take a road trip and wants to do it in comfort and style. It’s also the perfect car for those morning school drop-offs, then off to work or to meetings, grabbing some groceries on the way home, then taking the dog to the vet kind of days where you’re exhausted, tired of the traffic and just want to stay cool and have that iced coffee handy. In other words, it’s one of those vehicles that can fit almost any need or lifestyle.
Here’s a video tour!
Give it a spin and I think you’ll be impressed. The Buick Envision AWD is indeed the best SUV for road trips! For the price, the spaciousness, the smooth cruising, and versatility, you can’t go wrong with this car.