NewsArts & Culture / June 14, 2019

2019 Buick Envision, Jeep Cherokee Stir Up Trouble

2019 Buick Envision, Jeep Cherokee Stir Up Trouble2019-06-14T00:00:00-04:00
2019 Buick Envision, Jeep Cherokee Stir Up Trouble

It seems every automaker has a perfectly pleasant compact crossover in its line-up, so it’s a little hard to stand out without causing trouble.  That’s true of the two excellent vehicles we have here – neither trying to cause trouble, but having done so nonetheless.

Excellent 2019 Buick Envision Gets Caught In The Crossfire

It’s difficult to believe a handsome gray compact crossover could be controversial, but like the nerd who gets caught in a high school cafeteria food fight, it’s in trouble.  That’s because General Motors builds the popular model in China, subjecting it to a 25% tariff.  GM asked the Trump administration for an exemption, which of-course was denied.  For now, the Envision will continue to be offered domestically, but the days of this excellent crossover are probably numbered.  Staying out of politics, let’s focus on the vehicle.

No matter where it is built, the Envision looks the part of a Buick crossover.  Styling was finessed with a wing-strewn waterfall grille, restyled 19-inch wheels, LED headlamps, LED signature driving lights, and chiseled LED taillights.  Six portholes on the hood and body sculpting align with other Buicks, but it looks a little bland compared to the rakish Regal, TourX wagon and Enclave full-size crossover.

Interiors are lavishly plush with heated and cooled front seats, heated outboard rear seats, and a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel.  There’s dual-zone automatic climate control up front and the rear seats have their own controls.  Bose audio, head-up display, and panoramic moonroof are also pretty nice.  Wireless phone charging, remote starting, and hands free power liftgate add convenience.  There’s even an automatic parking system.

Our Envision was loaded with infotainment and safety gear, too.  The touchscreen is very easy to use for accessing navigation and audio.  Devices connect with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot.  Keeping everybody safe are lane keep assist, blind spot warning, adaptive cruise, forward automatic braking, and following distance indicator.  The safety alert seat vibrates when danger is detected while a chime reminds parents that kids are in the aft section. Cameras put eyes all around.

You’ll want to keep all of your eyes pointing forward because the powertrain is surprisingly peppy.  Step into the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine to stir up 252 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque – all routed to the all-wheel-drive system through a 9-speed automatic transmission.  Clipping the left lane of fast Interstates and dispatching farm trucks on country two-lanes proved little concern.  However, fuel economy of 20/25-MPG city/highway is unimpressive given you can buy a diesel Ford F-150 Crew Cab that gets exactly those numbers.

Beyond the powertrain, driving the Envision is quite nice.  A firm, yet compliant, suspension proves you don’t need a complicated electronic system for a controlled ride.  Even over broken pavement and railroad tracks, the little crossover soaked it up.  And, it is noticeably quiet – perfect for having an intimate conversation, listening to that Bose audio system, or insulating your thoughts from tariffs.

Buick needs to pump up the styling, but the rest of the Envision is spot on.  The interior has all of the expected features and is surprisingly roomy.  Out on the road, it is swift and controlled.  Compared to other luxury crossovers, it is a bargain with a base price of $32,990 or $43,600 fully loaded.  Tariffs may ultimately make the Envision uncompetitive domestically, but the vehicle is thoroughly competitive with the Jeep Cherokee, Lincoln MKC, Subaru Forester, Volvo XC40, and Acura RDX.

Updated 2019 Jeep Cherokee Gets You Through Trouble

Jeep had a smash hit with the sleek, all-capable Cherokee, but there’s always room for improvement.  Its sleek beak with squinty upper lamps stirred up the fashion police and V6 engines have become old news in the segment.  No worries, because Jeep sent the Cherokee for a facelift and heart transplant that should have it rolling good as new.  Now, it is more likely to get you through trouble than stir it up.

I happen to like the pinched nose with which this generation of Cherokee debuted, but apparently others did not.  So, it gets a new facia, grille, hood, and LED headlamps for a more conservative look.  It looks both tough and elegant placed over 18-inch wheels.  Pop open the power rear hatch by swinging your foot beneath.

Moving inside, details separate this Cherokee from previous versions.  A large leather-wrapped steering wheel, intuitive touchscreen with redundant controls below, and roomy passenger space remain.  It smells like the inside of a luxury shoe store.  Heated and ventilated front seats and a heated steering wheel add comfort – as do dual-zone automatic climate control and a large dual-pane moonroof.  The audio system sounds fantastic.

Devices connect seamlessly with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and 4G Wi-Fi hotspot.  Safety is enhanced with blind spot warning, rear cross path detection, forward crash mitigation, and lane departure warning.  Add that to adaptive cruise, rain-sensing wipers, navigation, and pinch-sensitive touchscreen to de-stress driving.

As an alternative to the available 3.6-liter V6, engineers conjured up a new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that delivers 270 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque.  It pairs with a nine-speed automatic transmission and auto stop/start to achieve 21/29-MPG city/highway – quite good given the Cherokee’s fortified off-road capabilities provided by Jeep’s Selec-Terrain system that configures the powertrain for Auto, Snow, Sport, Sand/Mud, and Rock.

If you liked the Cherokee before, you’ll like this one even better (unless you liked the distinctive schnoz).  Refined styling and a powerful turbo engine add to the luxurious interior for a crossover that’s difficult to deny.  A base price of $25,490, or $41,220 as-tested, make it tough competition for the Toyota 4Runner, Honda Passport, Subaru Outback, and GMC Terrain.

 

Storm Forward!

Send comments to Casey at AutoCasey@aol.com; follow him on YouTube @AutoCasey.

 

2019 Buick Envision

  • Five-passenger, AWD Crossover
  • Powertrain: 2.0-liter T4, 9-spd auto trans
  • Output:  252hp/295 lb.-ft. torque
  • Suspension f/r: Ind/Ind
  • Wheels f/r: 19”/19” alloy
  • Brakes f/r: disc/disc
  • Must-have features: Luxury, Powertrain
  • Fuel economy: 20/25 mpg city/hwy
  • Assembly: China
  • Base/As-tested price: $32,990/$43,600 

 

2019 Jeep Cherokee Limited

  • Five-passenger, AWD Crossover
  • Powertrain: 2.0-liter T4, 9-spd auto trans
  • Output:  270hp/295 lb.-ft. torque
  • Suspension f/r: Ind/Ind
  • Wheels f/r: 18”/18” alloy
  • Brakes f/r: disc/disc
  • Must-have features: Luxury, Powertrain
  • Fuel economy: 21/29 mpg city/hwy
  • Assembly: Belvidere, IL
  • Base/As-tested price: $25,490/$41,220 

 

 

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