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The Buick Envista is making its debut for the 2024 model year as the first all-new model in some time from the American automaker. Additionally, the Envista serves as both a harbinger of the Buick’s future as the first to sport the brand’s new styling language while simultaneously harkening to its past as its last new gas-only model. However, under its attractive sheet metal and hood, the Envista has a problem in terms of performance.

The Envista is Buick’s new entry-level model

The 2024 Buick Envista starts at $23,495 MSRP, making it the new entry-level model in Buick’s lineup, though it’s not the smallest model overall. The Envista is nearly a foot longer than the Encore GX, and its wheelbase is 4 inches longer, though the Encore GX is slightly taller. The models offer similar passenger space, though the Envista’s sloping roofline equals slightly less rear passenger space and less cargo capacity behind the rear seats (the Encore GX has a notable 8-cubic-foot cargo advantage behind the second row of seats).  

To bring back an outdated tagline, the Envista “sure doesn’t look like a Buick” with its all-new design. It’s the first fastback SUV from the automaker and takes its inspiration from the Wildcat EV concept. The Envista styling has been likened to that Lamborghini Urus, and it’s easy to see some similarities, at least in styling. However, under its sporty styling, the Envista is just about the polar opposite of a Raging Bull.

The Envista delivers paltry power

The Buick Envista is powered by a 1.2-liter turbocharged inline-three engine delivering 137 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. If that drivetrain sounds familiar, it’s because it’s also equipped in the Chevrolet Trax, which should equate to 0-60 mph times just north of 9 seconds — not exactly in keeping with the Envista’s sporty styling. And there’s no way to upgrade to a more powerful engine as the 1.2-liter is the sole powerplant for the model, no matter your choice of trim.

Furthermore, Envista’s lackluster power will be sent exclusively to the front wheels as all-wheel drive (AWD) isn’t available on any trim level or as an optional upgrade.

The Buick Envista is more commuter than corner carver

The Buick Envista may not blow the doors off, well, much at all, but for those who want a stylish, well-equipped, and affordable subcompact crossover, Buick’s new model certainly has its appeal.

The Envista is, by a significant margin, the most affordable fastback crossover available, and its starting price of under $24,000 MSRP makes it a crossover at an economy car price. There’s also a long list of desirable standard features, including an 8-inch driver’s display with an 11-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity with a Wi-Fi hotspot, cloth and leatherette seats, 17-inch wheels, and a suite of active safety features. The range-topping Avenir model, which starts just below $30,000, sports additional amenities like wireless charging, leather upholstery, remote start, heated front seats, and a power liftgate.

The Envista is rated for 29 city, 31 highway, and 30 combined mpg by the EPA, so its low performance figures at least equate to good fuel economy. Additionally, although few experts have been behind the wheel of Buick’s new crossover, Car and Driver noted the Envista has respectable driving dynamics with a “well-controlled ride, precise steering, and a firm brake pedal.”

Related How Much Does a Fully Loaded 2024 Buick Envista Cost?

How Much Does a Fully Loaded 2024 Buick Envista Cost?