2024 Buick Envista Avenir Interior Review: A real winner from Buick

The 2024 Buick Envista is the first Buick product I’ve driven in recent history that’s kept me thinking about it for much longer after handing the keys back. Much of that credit is due to Buick pricing it so low, but it’s not like there aren’t other cheap cars out there. The difference, of course, is that the Envista is both affordable and a really good car at the same time. You can read about how effective the tiny and frugal 1.2-liter turbo engine is in our First Drive, or get the full download about the various trims in our Buying Guide, but here I’m going to focus on its impressive interior in its most exemplary form.

My test Envista pictured throughout is the Avenir trim, which is the top-shelf, priciest model, and yet it still only starts at $29,695. That feels like a steal in today’s ever-expensive car market given its size and level of equipment. So, what’s the catch? 

First impressions are wildly positive when I settle into the Avenir’s comfortable, heated leather seats and run my hands along the soft leather of the heated flat-bottom steering wheel. Then I check out what’s in front of me and notice the dual-screen layout housed cleanly in a single slab in the dash. The 11-inch touchscreen infotainment system is barebones as it gets from a software and user interface perspective, but that simplicity is somewhat refreshing. You get wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, along with good enough hardware that everything runs fluidly and responds quickly to touches. The 8-inch digital instrument panel is verging on being too simplistic in favor of minimalism, though. Many of the typical gauges you might see in a cluster are instead tucked into a menu on the infotainment display, and customization of that cluster screen is similarly limited. It’s functional, but there’s room for improvement or at least customization.

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The Pebble Gray and black two-tone look of this Avenir model is rather dashing combined with the Cinnabar Metallic exterior paint, and “Avenir” being stitched into the headrests is an upper-class touch. Also appreciated is the soft dash in front of the passenger with pretty stitching and an intriguing crease-like pattern in the material. This carries through into the doors and the door armrests, which are also padded, something you don’t get in the brutally hard doors of this car’s platform mate, the Chevrolet Trax.

Everybody inside the Envista gets to enjoy a rather quiet cabin for this car’s lower-market segment, in part due to active sound tuning that helps reduce road noise. It being equipped with a turbocharged inline-three-cylinder results in an engine note that is neither loud nor displeasing to the ear, which we can partly thank its six-speed automatic for – no CVT groaning! So, it doesn’t sound or look like a budget vehicle, even if its price says it is.

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Returning to “the catch,” though, I can already tell that this interior will wear quite poorly with time thanks to the abundance of piano black plastic trim it uses. It’s strategically placed to try and class the insides up better than flat black plastic, but its presence on high-touch zones such as the center console, gear shift knob and climate controls is going to result in a scratched-up mess after a couple years of use. At least Buick refrained from using piano black on the steering wheel, but it’s a small win. 

This car’s cheapness is hidden well with hard plastic panels used in places that don’t particularly matter much, though one area I wish Buick spent a little bit more money on are the stalks, particularly the turn signal. Not that this is a new GM phenomena, but it’s easily one of the worst-damped and cheapest-feeling turn signal stalks you’ll come across in a new vehicle. I usually don’t call out turn signal stalk feel, but it really is that bad. The HVAC system also didn’t seem as powerful as typical for GM products, resulting in long warm-ups, less-than-stellar defrost performance and passengers complaining they were cold long after most cars would’ve fully warmed up in winter.

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That’s about all I have for the negatives, though. The same passengers complaining about the cold were happy as can be when it came to legroom and space in the backseat. Buick says the Envista has 38.7 inches of rear legroom, and it feels every bit that big back there. Plus, despite the raked roofline for its crossover coupe proportions, the Envista will easily afford taller folks enough headroom to get comfortable. Senior Editor James Riswick found its shape to somewhat hamper overall cargo functionality in his luggage test, but head there to get the full download on storage capacity. One nice silver lining is that under the floor Buick does provide a spare tire, which is never a given these days.

The Envista is a rare, big win for Buick. Too often our positive reactions to the brand have been related to concepts like the Wildcat EV that we want to see in production, but often disappear into history. The Envista Avenir interior punches just as high as its competent powertrain does, and man, the space! Building a truly pleasant, affordable, new car in a time where it feels like those cars are fast-dwindling is a big deal, and the Envista does the trick at an exceptional level.

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