Buick is at a crossroads. The brand’s popularity in China has waned in each of the past six years, and its transition to a fully electric automaker by 2030 appears foggy without any electrification—no hybrid, no plug-in hybrid, no battery electric—in any car it currently sells in North America. The 2024 Buick Envista doesn’t diminish those facts, but the brand’s last new gas-powered car heralds a promising start to whatever GM’s premium brand becomes next.
Related to the Chevrolet Trax and costing just $2,000 more, it prioritizes value without compromising style, features, or safety. Starting at just $23,495, including a $1,095 destination fee, the new Envista anchors the brand’s lineup that otherwise consists of just three crossover SUVs, and it encourages shoppers to revisit Buick. With the average new car price hovering around $47,000, and with the $20,000 new car a thing of the past, the Envista charmed our editorial team enough to join the Trax as one of nine finalists for our Best Car To Buy 2024 award.
The Envista looks more like a four-door coupe out of Europe than anything else in Buick’s lineup, even though this global model was built in South Korea. The arcing roofline tucks into the tail, which is pinched to make it look sportier than it is, especially with the ST model’s 18-inch black alloy wheels and other blacked-out trim elements. The black vibe carries over inside on a monotone cabin that lets the technology take center stage so the eye doesn’t linger too long on the lower plastic panels that belie its budget car status.
One start of the buzzy 137-hp 1.2-liter turbo-3 will remind you it’s not a sport car, but it rides a little lower and handles more like a hatchback than a lumbering crossover SUV. The 6-speed automatic transmission powers only the front wheels, and the lack of an all-wheel-drive option is why we classify it as a hatchback instead of hewing to GM’s marketing of it as a crossover SUV.
It seats five, and four adults can fit more comfortably than in the smaller but taller Encore GX thanks in part of 38.7 inches of rear legroom, and good headroom that gets trimmed with an optional sunroof. Fold down the 60/40-split rear seats and the cargo room expands from 20.7 cubic feet to 42.0 cubic feet. That’s smaller than the redesigned 2024 Chevrolet Trax and the Encore GX mostly due to the tapering design of the roof. If you need that extra vertical space, check out the Trax.
Like the Trax, the Envista is a rare new car value. Buick upgrades the size of the standard touchscreen from 8.0 inches in the Trax to 11.0 inches here, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto appeals across generations. The base Preferred also has cloth and synthetic leather upholstery that’s a step up from the Trax, and an 8.0-inch digital instrument cluster. Standard safety features include automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and automatic high beams. We prefer the ST trim for $26,290, but heated power front seats still cost extra. It’s standard on the Avenir but the $4,500 price increase over the ST dampens that top Envista’s value proposition.
The Chevy Trax is a better value overall, but the Envista stands out on looks, at least for an entry-level car. That combo of value and styling uncommon in the premium segment make it a finalist from the dozens of new or redesigned cars eligible for our Best Car To Buy 2024 award. The verdict will be announced Jan. 3, 2024, along with the Best Car To Buy 2024 winners from our sister sites, Motor Authority and Green Car Reports.