After riding solo in a 2017 Buick LaCrosse to Asheville, North Carolina, and being literally enveloped in high quality details and design two summers ago, I was eagerly anticipating my road trip to Key West with my friend in the new, 2019 Buick Envision. An aficionado of high-quality experiences herself, with a penchant for sensory bliss – I held back my knowing smiles as she took in, first-hand, Buick’s latest sensibilities and style that I had been raving about. I call it a spa on wheels, and she affirmed it’s no exaggeration: As it happens, its design was inspired by the day spas and coffee and tea shops and other places you’d go to unwind. From its spacious cargo area that seats up to five, to its soft-touch materials and modern amenities, every detail of the thoughtfully styled compact SUV’s interior works in harmony to enhance every moment and to ensure a relaxing driving experience. She looked around and caressed the console and settled in … it would be bliss for two.
“Good?” I asked.
“Amazing,” she replied.
Even though I was driving, she was passenger-piloting the 3.5 hour trek on “The Overseas Highway” from Miami to Key West – the southernmost leg of U.S. Highway 1.
At her fingertips, Buick IntelliLink indulged us with our favorite sounds with an improved hands-free microphone that helped her text and set directions just by using her voice; and DJ through the Apple CarPlay, which comes standard. Also standard is 4G LTE connectivity and a Wi-Fi hot spot for up to seven devices with faster wireless charging for mobile devices.
Whereas with Asheville, I wanted a quiet, meditative experience, on this leg of the trip we both wanted to be surrounded by the sonic booms of Dancehall and Soca. The Envision’s innovative acoustics and noise cancellation detected and neutralized unwanted sounds, and helped absorb road noise before it had the chance to reached our ears. We only heard precisely what we wanted to hear. And when it came time to talk, Buick’s QuietTuningTM technologies such as triple door seals and acoustic laminated glass in the windshield and front side windows helped block outside noises and allowed our conversations to flourish without strain.
For me, the Head-Up Display that projects information onto the windshield and the gentle seat vibrations did all the heavy lifting so I could stay focused on the road ahead but also take in the sights and water surrounding us. Not knowing about how wide the roads were going to be and how close we’d be to the water on the “Highway That Goes to Sea,” I was initially worried about the handling for the compact SUV. Thankfully, I felt grounded and safe whether cruising (the available turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder now works with a nine-speed automatic transmission that Buick claims results in quicker acceleration) or maneuvering the one ways of Key West. For instance, when in Reverse, the Rear Cross Traffic Alert provides alerts in the Rear Vision Camera display screen to help you avoid colliding into approaching detected left or right cross traffic (e.g., out of a crowded parking space or driveway with side obstructions). It was perfect for the narrow and pedestrian-heavy streets of Old Town Key West.
The new 2019 Envision kept us connected with technologies and flourishes that were so in sync with our needs, we wondered how we ever managed without them; and we wouldn’t do Key West any other way. — K.D. Whittaker