2024 Buick Envista Review: Cheap Crossover Throws Down A Challenge

  • A style reboot for Buick that looks great
  • Well equipped despite the price tag
  • Small engine fine for everyday driving
  • No all-wheel drive option
  • Definitely not as sporty to drive as it looks
  • Real-world economy falls short of estimates

The 2024 Buick Envista hides sensible business behind its head-turning sheet metal, and — though imperfect — it's hard to argue with the result. With cars like the Regal and LaCrosse ousted from its line-up, Buick needed a route for sedan owners to segue into SUVs. If it was eye-catching enough to grab the attention of a younger audience of shoppers, too, all the better. From those brand gateway basics, the Envista was born.

The new-for-model-year-2024 crossover shares at least some of its design DNA with Buick's startlingly pleasing Wildcat EV concept from 2022. Fully electric, with dramatic proportions and a trick double-hinged roof, the sleek coupe promised a bold and — finally! — memorable reimagining of what a modern Buick should look like. Ironic, then, that the first of the automaker's vehicles to benefit from that glance to the future is the cheapest option in Buick's current line-up.

Gone is the concept's all-electric Ultium drivetrain — an impossible inclusion, given the 2024 Envista's sub-$23k starting price — with a far more humble gas engine in its place. Practicality demands four doors and a sizable hatch, too (even if the curving roofline means you get 20.7 cu-ft of trunk space, compared to the platform sibling 2024 Chevrolet Trax's 25.6 cu-ft). Reality stings, but there's no denying this is a cheap crossover. Question is, though, is it a good one?

Cheap. Like, really cheap

Envista ownership kicks off at $22,400 (plus $1,095 destination) for the Preferred trim. The Sport Touring trim you see here starts out at $25,195 (plus destination); Buick's flagship Avenir trim begins at $29,695 (plus destination). All three get the same drivetrain, a 1.2-liter turbocharged three-cylinder gas engine paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission, pushing power to the front axle.

It is not, you'll likely be unsurprised to hear, a wildly potent engine. 137 horsepower and 163 lb-ft of torque are humble numbers, and there's no option to have what grunt the Envista does offer be routed to all four wheels.

Fuel economy clocks in at 28 mpg in the city, 32 mpg on the highway, and 30 mpg combined, according to the EPA. That's solid for the FWD non-hybrid set — a Corolla Cross will do a little better, whereas a Honda HR-V does a little worse — though it might be a tad ambitious. In my own mixed driving, I saw 25 mpg, suggesting a seventh gear might not go amiss for a little more frugality.