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Buick shows off a new Envision SUV for 2021, now with Avenir trim

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Fresh styling joins a host of interior revisions and some Canadian-engineered tech

Having recently relegated all its sedans to the dustbin of GM history, the Buick brand has turned its attention to refreshing its crossover and SUV offerings. The two-row Envision sits in the middle of its product lineup, between the small-footprint Encore and the bigger three-row Enclave.

For 2021, Buick endows the Envision with front styling that more closely aligns it with the rest of the tri-shield brand, binning the toothy waterfall grille and replacing it with a sleeker maw bearing a spear of chrome and sleeker headlights.

Helen Emsley, director of Global Buick Design, says the 2021 Envision will be lower and wider than its predecessor. It’ll also be the first Envision to earn the brand’s “Avenir” badge.

This is a murderously competitive segment, explaining why Buick is putting an emphasis on active safety equipment now standard on the 2021 Enclave. Automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping, and a forward collision alert help keep things shiny side up, while a rear park assist and HD backup camera will prevent unfortunate accidents while reversing out of a parking space leaving the shuffleboard club. The 2021 Envision will also offer Buick’s first available 10-inch diagonal touchscreen infotainment system.

Powertrain details are scarce, save for the mention of a 2.0L turbocharged engine and 9-speed transmission. A mill of the same displacement is on offer in the current car, making 252 hp and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. The naturally-aspirated 2.5L, making less than 200 ponies and showing up for work in entry level trims of last year’s Envision, goes unmentioned for 2021. All versions of the Envision presently sold in Canada are all-wheel-drive.

It’s been suggested the previous Envision was primarily purchased by middle-class customers with a well-intentioned but slightly misplaced sense of American patriotism, given the vehicle was actually made in China. According to company spox Stateside, this one will be assembled there as well.

An interesting Canadian connection pops up in the aforementioned active safety kit. Engineers at the Canadian Technical Centre played a critical role in fine-tuning technologies like the Lane Keep Assist and Front/Rear Park Assists. GM lays claim to the largest automotive software engineering workforce in Canada, with sites in Oshawa, Markham, and the fun-to-say Kapuskasing.

More details of the Envision, including its Avenir trim, will be revealed later this year.

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