2021 Buick Envision preview: Bold new look for Buick’s small SUV

Buick on Thursday detailed the redesigned 2021 Envision arriving at dealerships now in the U.S.

The crossover SUV features a bolder, more expressive look than its somewhat staid predecessor that has been on sale since 2016 and never managed to really excite the market. Sales in the United States have averaged about 30,000 units annually.

Envisions are powered by a 2.0-liter turbo-4 with 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard while all-wheel drive is an option.

The Envision’s grown-up look ties in with the refreshed 2022 Enclave visually. The longer stance comes courtesy of a new platform that pushes the wheels to the corners and provides a 30% stiffer structure. A new five-link independent rear suspension replaces the previous four-link setup and should deliver a better ride and handling. A MacPherson strut setup remains up front while top-spec Avenir models can be optioned with adaptive dampers.

2021 Buick Envision

2021 Buick Envision

Inside the Envision features an analog gauge cluster in a digital world paired with an available 10.2-inch touchscreen. The standard 8.0-inch touchscreen comes with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. A new push-button gear selector is located on the center console.

Other standard features on the 2021 Envision will be popular electronic driver-assist features such as automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitors, and rear park assist.

2021 Buick Envision

2021 Buick Envision

Buyers will be able to add a semi-autonomous park assist feature, as well as a surround-view camera, and head-up display.

Buick’s upmarket Avenir trim makes its first appearance on the Envision, and tops a trim walk that includes Preferred and Essence trims. A Sport Touring package adds a touch of attitude with darkened exterior trim and dark 20-inch wheels.

Envisions will have seating for up to five people with a 60/40-split folding second row. With the second-row seat folded the Envision can swallow up to 52.7 cubic feet of cargo, and up to 25.2 cubic feet of stuff with the second row occupied.

The current Envision was the first Chinese-made vehicle sold by General Motors in the U.S. and that won’t be changing with the 2021 model.

For more on the Buick Envision, read the in-depth reviews at The Car Connection.

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ABT CUPRA FORMENTOR GETS 365BHP

Say hello to the Abt Cupra Formentor, a 365bhp crossover that wants you to forget about the humble hot hatch.

The Cupra Formentor is the latest VAG product to be treated to an Abt makeover. Having already received a bespoke platform on which it was built, the Cupra Formentor boasted 306bhp from the famous EA888 engine.

Similar to the Cupra Ateca and the rest of its family members, though, a touch of fettling with the ECU has resulted in a horsepower increase of 59bhp and with that an extra 37ft lb of torque, too.

Abt quotes that the Cupra Formentor will now accelerate from 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds, shaving 0.3 seconds off of the factory time.

Abt Cupra Formentor

It’s not just an increase in performance, though, as Abt has treated the Cupra Formentor to a set of new springs to sit alongside the car’s adaptive suspension. This now drops the ride height by some 35mm, helping to fill the arch gap that was already being attacked by a new set of 20-inch wheels. Both a 19-inch set and 20-inch set of wheels are available as options.

Cupra and Abt continue to work closely as the pair partner on a new team that will compete in the inaugural Extreme E series later in 2021. For now, no prices have been confirmed for the power hike but given on other Cupra products the same power hike costs around £500, you should expect the same.

You can check out our video review of the Limited Edition Abt Cupra Ateca below.

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100 years ago: Rolls-Royce rolls along assembly line in Massachusetts

On January 17, 1921, a Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost rolled off an assembly line, but it wasn’t in Derby, England. Instead, that car and 2,945 that followed were assembled in Springfield, Massachusetts, USA.

“These Rolls-Royce ‘Springfield’ Motor cars benefited from the creativity of US coachbuilders including Brewster, Willoughby, Merimac and Hollbrook, and brought us some wonderful early commissions,” the British automaker noted in a news release celebrating the centennial of its American production effort.

From that start in 1921 and until the Springfield workshop closed in 1931 because of the Depression, 2,946 Rolls-Royce vehicles were assembled in New England. Among them were 1,703 Silver Ghosts, which joined the ‘Springfield Phantom’ in 1925.

Springfield assembly plant supervisory staff poses with the first US-constructed Silver Ghost

Springfield assembly plant supervisory staff poses with the first US-constructed Silver Ghost

Owners of the Springfield Rolls-Royces include President Woodrow Wilson, the Guggenheim and Bloomindale families, “and perhaps the most famous,” Rolls-Royce notes, “fictional Socialite Jay Gatsby with his 1922 Silver Ghost.”

After World War I, Charles Stewart Rolls’ partner Charles Johnson (Henry Royce lived until 1933, but was in ill-health after 1912), saw that the US market was in better condition than the British economy and saw assembly in the US as a way to avoid duties that made the cars even more expensive for American customers. So in 1919, Rolls-Royce purchased the American Wire Wheel Co. factory building in Massachusetts.

The Springfield assembly plant

The Springfield assembly plant

Cars ready for delivery in 1922

Cars ready for delivery in 1922

Building cars in America didn’t make them all that much less expensive. Prices ranged from $12,930 to $15,880, making the Springfield cars the most expensive of American-made vehicles.

The first 25 cars were produced entirely of imported parts, but afterward, the coachwork for the Springfield-built cars was produced in the US. Various American coachbuilders provided bodies. Rolls opened its own body-building workshop in 1923 and in 1926 acquired Brewster, a leading American coachbuilding firm whose work was popular with Rolls’ customers.

This article, written by Larry Edsall, was originally published on ClassicCars.com, an editorial partner of Motor Authority.

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