2019 Buick Envision vs. 2018 Subaru Forester

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/05/30

Both the Envision and Forester have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Envision has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The Forester’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

The Envision Premium offers an optional Surround Vision to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Forester only offers a rear monitor.

Both the Envision and the Forester have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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The Envision comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Forester’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Buick’s powertrain warranty covers the Envision 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Subaru covers the Forester. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Forester ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

The Envision’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Forester’s (6 vs. 5 years).

Buick pays for the first scheduled maintenance on the Envision. Buick will pay for the first oil change, lubrication and any other required maintenance in the first year. Subaru doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Forester.

There are over 3 times as many Buick dealers as there are Subaru dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Envision’s warranty.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2017 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Buick vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick 13th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 18 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 25th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Buick vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick third in reliability, above the industry average. With 51 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 24th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2017 Auto Issue reports that Buick vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Buick third in reliability. Subaru is ranked 11th.

Engine

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The Envision’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 27 more horsepower (197 vs. 170) and 18 lbs.-ft. more torque (192 vs. 174) than the Forester 2.5i’s standard 2.5 SOHC 4 cyl. The Envision Premium’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 2 more horsepower (252 vs. 250) and 37 lbs.-ft. more torque (295 vs. 258) than the Forester 2.0XT’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

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In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Envision’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Forester doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Buick Envision uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended on Envision Premium for maximum performance). The Forester 2.0XT requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Envision has 1.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Forester (17.3 vs. 15.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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The Buick Envision comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Forester.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Envision’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Forester:

 

Envision

Forester 2.5i

Forester 2.0XT

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

11.6 inches

12.4 inches

Rear Rotors

12.4 inches

10.8 inches

10.9 inches

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Envision Premium’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Forester (235/50R19 vs. 225/60R17).

The Envision Premium’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Forester 2.5i Touring/2.0XT’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Envision has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Forester 2.5i. The Envision Premium’s 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Forester 2.5i Touring/2.0XT.

The Envision has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Forester doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

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The Envision’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Forester doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Envision’s wheelbase is 4.4 inches longer than on the Forester (108.3 inches vs. 103.9 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Envision is 1.1 inches wider in the front and .9 inches wider in the rear than on the Forester.

The Envision Premium handles at .81 G’s, while the Forester 2.5i Touring pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Envision Premium executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.1 seconds quicker than the Forester 2.5i Touring (27.5 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 28.6 seconds @ .55 average G’s).

Chassis

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The front grille of the Envision uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Forester doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Envision uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Forester doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

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The Envision has .5 inches more front hip room and .1 inches more rear hip room than the Forester.

Cargo Capacity

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To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Envision’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Forester doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

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The Envision has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The Forester doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

Ergonomics

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The Envision Essence/Premium’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Forester doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Envision Premium offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Forester doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the Envision and the Forester have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Envision is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Forester prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Envision’s front and rear power windows all lower with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Forester’s power windows’ passenger windows don’t open automatically. The Forester’s optional rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to lower them fully.

The Envision Premium’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Forester’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Envision has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. When the ignition turns off, the headlights turn off after a delay timed to allow you to securely get to your front door. The Forester has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Limited/Touring/2.0XT.

The Envision’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Heated mirrors cost extra on the Forester and aren’t offered on the Forester Base.

When the Envision Essence/Premium is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Forester’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Envision has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats cost extra on the Forester, and aren’t available on the Forester Base. The Envision Essence/Premium also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Forester.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the Envision Premium keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Forester doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The Envision has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Forester Base doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

The Envision has a standard dual zone air-conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air-conditioning is only available on the Forester Touring.

Both the Envision and the Forester offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Envision has standard rear air-conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Forester doesn’t offer rear air-conditioning vents, only heat vents.

The Envision Premium’s optional Automatic Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Forester doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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The Envision is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Forester doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Recommendations

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J.D. Power and Associates rated the Envision third among compact suvs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Forester isn’t in the top three.

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