Taking Buick’s QuietTuning for a Spin in Slauson-Norwalk-Pioneer Triangle

2019 Buick Envision Premium II AWD photos by Matt Coker

Perhaps you noticed, after the winter rains, the potholes popping up everywhere.

So, when Buick offered a test drive with a new vehicle that has undergone the QuietTuning process, I was all in.

QuietTuning aims to reduce, block and absorb unwanted noise from entering the cabin by utilizing different parts, tires and materials based on tests on each individual Buick. Engineers used wind tunnels, 3-D mapping and various road surface tests to essentially fine-tune the vehicles so they deliver the quietest ride possible.

I decided to take the 2019 Buick Envision AWD Premium II compact SUV to the “devil’s triangle” of Slauson Avenue and Norwalk and Pioneer boulevards, which fall in a section of Santa Fe Springs filled with chewed-up roadways.

The tires figure into the QuietTuning equation.

But my QuietTuning introduction actually began on the way there, as the Orange County portion of the 405 freeway has recently been filled with super-heavy trucks and construction equipment associated with promised lane additions. Though we are only in the early stages of that project, it’s already filling existing lanes with new bumps and cracks.

I could still hear these under the Envision’s tires–Buick engineers are not miracle workers, after all–but it was as if the volume had been turned down a few notches on the usual racket.

Something freakier happened when one of my fingers just happened to rest on part of the steering column. Although it was faint, a steady vibration was detectable–but only there and nowhere a rider would otherwise notice it. It could have been coincidental and nothing to do with QuietTuning, or vibrations could purposely be directed to certain spots where they have the least impact on human hearing and feeling.

What I noticed at the Santa Fe Springs triangle was how quickly the noise and shaking stopped after running over bumps and cracks. It got me wondering if QuietTuning would be even more noticeable–by being less noticeable?–on a heavier vehicle, such as the 2019 Buick Enclave Avenir I’d recently tested.

Lighting has been upgraded on the 2019 Envisions.

The QuietTuning on a 2018 Buick Encore Premium I had driven from Orange County to the Bay Area impressed me equally, but that was along a relatively smoother Golden State (5) Freeway as opposed to the bad roads I purposely sought out a year later.

So why is any of this important? Buick maintains that a quieter, less-distracting cabin makes it easier to hear others in the vehicle, use voice-controlled features and make outgoing phone calls.

As for the Envision Premium II, I found it extends Buick’s reputation for comfortable driving, although not as impressively as the Enclave but better than the Encore, which makes sense considering the Envision falls between those two size-wise.

The four-cylinder, 2.0-liter turbo engine generates 252 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Updates to the engine and nine-speed automatic transmission as billed as making 0-60 mph acceleration half a second faster than what was achieved with the 2018s.

This gives you an idea of how comfortable the ride was … even over the bumps!

The 2019 models also have better braking, lighting upgrades, faster seat warmers, new exterior design elements, enhanced rear vision camera visibility, hands-free calling improvements and next generation wireless device recharging. The engine start/stop deactivation switch is a Buick-first in North America.

The Envision Premium II gets an overall 22 miles to the gallon, or 20 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. The overall vehicle score in Government 5-Star Safety Ratings is a five out of five.

My Satin Steel Gray Metallic test vehicle with Dark Galvanized leather-appointed seats and Ebony interior was loaded with safety, comfort and performance features that put the base price at $43,600, which compares to $32,990 for the base model Envision. The Premium II included $3,750 in options–ranging from adaptive cruise control to a panoramic moonroof–that took the total manufacturer’s suggested retail price up to $48,345 when also factoring in the destination charge.

Buick offers a six-year or 70,000-mile (whichever comes first) limited powertrain warranty and a four years/50,000 miles bumper-to-bumper warranty.

Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.

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