Buick Envision Tuning

"All you need to know about performance tuning the Buick Envision engine!"

We were emailed for more information on tuning and building a modified Envision and particularly which turbo upgrades work best, so we've created this article that covers our go-to modifications for this engine and what we feel are the best value modifications you can do.

As part of the North American International Auto Show, the Envision made its North American début on January 11, 2016, with the second-generation GMC Terrain and the Chevrolet Equinox

Buick's entry into the hotly contested small SUV sector is the Envision, which sits between the midsize Enclave and the tiny Encore.

It was the first GM car to be sold in the United States that was made in China, and it went on sale in the summer of 2016. All-wheel drive was originally available, then front-wheel drive was added for the 2017 model year.

The Buick Envision really good project engines and with carefully chosen tuning mods like remaps, turbo kits and camshafts you will positively maximise your driving experience.

Here we review and look at Envision tuning and summarise the ultimate modifications for your car.

History of the Envision Engine

There are two engine options for the North American version of the Envision and one for the Chinese market:

boasting 197 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque from a 2.5-liter engine,

As well as an SAE-certified 252 horsepower (188 kW) and 260-lb-ft (353 N-m) turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine.

First generation

Gasoline:

  • 1.5 L LFV turbo I4 (China)
  • 2.0 L LTG turbo I4
  • 2.5 L LCV I4

Second Generation

  • 2.0 L LSY turbo gasoline I4

Second generation six-speed transmissions were used for both. The Envision was only offered in Premium I and Premium II trim levels for the 2016 model year.

The 2017 model year saw the introduction of five different trim levels.

A Chinese version of the 2019 Envision made its debut at the end of 2017, and a North American version followed in 2018. The back aesthetics and tail lights have been reworked, as well as the stop-start calibration and new seat design.

Envision's second generation was unveiled in the United States by General Motors (GM) in May of 2020.

A 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 228 horsepower (170 kW) and 258 pound-feet of torque (350 Newton-meters) powers the vehicle, which is mated to a 9-speed automated gearbox.

The new 2021 Buick Envision is a big improvement over its predecessors. This attractive and well-equipped crossover shares its underpinnings with the Cadillac XT4.

Alloy pedal covers, headrests, and floormats with embroidered "ST" badges are now included with the Sport Touring package on Preferred and Essence versions. With the Sport Touring option, Essence vehicles get seats with red stitching.

Tuning the Buick Envision and best Envision performance parts.

Best Engine Mods for the Envision

  • Suspension upgrades (coilovers)
  • Brake Upgrades
  • Fast road camshafts
  • Remapping
  • Intake
  • Exhaust

So let's look at these mods in detail and see where to start building your ultimate modified Buick Envision.

Tuning tips and articles

 

Please watch our video which covers the 5 principles of tuning your Envision. Be sure to subscribe and support our new channel.

Best mods for your Envision

  1. Brake Upgrades - Improve your Envision's stopping power ought to be near the top of your Mods list.
  2. Tunes - A remap provides the biggest gains in terms of cost, aftermarket ECUs, and piggyback ECUs are all alternatives.
  3. Fast road Camshafts are one of the most significant mechanical changes, but they must be setup by someone who knows what they are doing and they are not always easy to source but you might find a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft.
  4. Envision Suspension Upgrades - Replacing worn bushings and shocks dramatically improves Envision handling Poly Bushes and Coilovers are typically fitted to achieve this
  5. Internal engine mods - crank, pistons, conrods & compression ratio including balancing and blueprinting
  6. Turbo upgrades - Adding a turbocharger is the most efficient approach to increase air supply, allowing you to burn more fuel and make more power. Although one of the most costly upgrades but provides the best gains.
  7. Air Induction and Exhaust Upgrades - Please note that on their own these mods will NOT ADD POWER in most cases, but they can help enhance power after other mods by removing the restriction.
  1. So we will break these usual recommendations down and see if these 'best mods' are appropriate for your car and we shall look in detail at the mods that will work for you and your needs.

Envision Tuning Stages

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Remaps/piggy back ECU, Sports exhaust manifold, Drilled & smoothed airbox, Fast road camshaft, Intake headers, Panel air filters.

Typical stage 2 mods often include: Ported and polished head, fuel pump upgrades, Sports catalyst & performance exhaust, high flow fuel injectors, induction kit, Fast road cam.

Typical stage 3 mods often include: Engine balancing & blueprinting, Adding or Upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Internal engine upgrades (head flowing porting/bigger valves), Crank and Piston upgrades to alter compression, Competition cam, Twin charging conversions.

The Envision engines respond well to upgrades and we're happy to report there is a growing number of upgrades and performance parts about.

Envision Handling/Suspension upgrades

Improving the handling is generally speaking top priority for loads of people on your Envision tuning project.

Make sure the bushings and mounts are all in good order and use a strut brace to tighten up the front end and restore the factory geometry, because as the car ages, the suspension mounts will tend to spread out and this ruins the sharp handling.

Putting a small amount of negative camber at the front and a few degrees of toe (in for better stability or out to improve cornering), will dramatically benefit your Envision in handling and cornering.

We suggest that you fit sports suspension and lower the car by 25mm - 42 mm. Larger drops require arch work - especially on models already equipped with uprated suspension.

Uprated Bushes

Bushing upgrades are needed so what's involved?

It is possible to connect the Envision's suspension components around the chassis of the Envision using poly bushes, which are replacements for the rubber mounts. The rubber ones will degrade with time and need replacing anyway so why not upgrade.

New OEM rubber bushings may have a major impact on the performance of your vehicle. Think about polyeyurothane bushing upgrades though.

Because polyurethane bushes are stiffer, the ride may be rougher, but the bushes will last longer and maintain the car's handling over a longer time.

The increased vibration and play may also lead to an increase in the depreciation of other suspension parts.

With a new set of poly bushes, the excessive play associated with rubber bushes may be eliminated.

A common misconception is that a non-adjustable suspension system that lowers the vehicle by 30mm from a franchised component shop is the best option.

Vendors may claim that their Envision suspension kits are compatible with any or all model year Envisions.

For a vast variety of vehicles, a 'generic one set for all models' approach is obviously incorrect.

How low should you go on the Envision?

TorqueCars research and testing indicate that the maximum suspension drop for most road vehicles is 27 - 39 millimetres, whereas the maximum suspension drop for versions that come with lowered suspension already is 21 millimetres.

These tolerances may be drastically lowered if the wheel size is changed. Even with 16 or 17-inch wheels and conventional suspension, lowering the vehicle may create a slew of issues.

Envision Brake upgrades

Putting meatier brake discs and better high friction brake pads should make for radically improved stopping.

We should point out that race brake pads can be noisier and will need to be really hot before they bite.

On a road car the brakes are only applied now and then so won't be all that effective so source brake pads which work well in daily use.

Don't just look at the peak power figures, you need to see the whole torque curve when determining if a mod is right for you Envision.

Best Envision tuning parts

Spending just a little money on the best engine and handling mods should transform your car into a high performance car.

When talking about the optimum modifications for your Envision engine, we are going to concentrate on the ones that give the best value for money.

Sporty camshaft profiles helps you to boost upper RPM range power which makes it a best mod for NASP and turbo petrol engines, but not so much on diesels. In most cases you will see top end power increases through performance camshafts on most engines.

So altering your Envision camshaft will make a difference to the engine torque. Choosing a higher performance camshaft profile raises the torque & power range accordingly.

Fast road cams normally boost the torque through the rev range, you may sacrifice a little low down bhp but higher rpm power will be higher.

Motorsport cams, boost the higher rpm power band but as a result the car will not idle smoothly and low end power nearly always suffers.

On a road car you'll need to optimize your engines power to your preferences.

I'd be gobsmacked to hear from any driver that a Envision Race camshaft is a pleasure to live with when driving in heavy traffic.

This is because a competition cam causes a very lumpy idle, and makes the car more prone to stall or jerk along in stop start traffic, sadly though many ignore this and end up ruining a perfectly good car and having to revert back to a fast road, or OEM cam profile.

Some Envision engines respond better to more aggressive camshaft durations so set your engine up on a rolling road.

The engine timing and injectors and fuel pump also will say much on the torque gains you'll hit.

Longer valve durations can alter the torque band and on most engines the exhaust and intake durations do not need to match, although most cams and tuners use matched pairs there are some advantages to extending the intake or exhaust durations.

Envision remapping & ECU tuning

Remaps allows a tuner to unlock the full potential of all the parts you've done to your Envision.

(Sometimes flashing the ECU is not an option, so an aftermarket ECU is the route to take, and many of these will outperform factory ECU's but make sure it has knock protection and that you get it setup properly.)

It will usually give around 30% more power on turbocharged vehicles and you can expect to see around 15% on NASP engines, but power output will rely on the parts you've carried out and the condition of your engine.

Be very wary of peak power gains quoted. The graph above compares a 200bhp map with a 175bhp, but when you look closely the power curve only shows a peak spike in red, and is much lower elsewhere, whereas the green map gives a nice power boost though the whole rpm range.

Feeding air into each cylinder is vital to any engine tuning task.

Intake headers flow the air from the air cleaner and allow it to be pulled into the engine cylinders with fuel for the squish phase.

The bore size, shape and rate of flow of the Intake manifold can make a substantial change to fuel engine efficiency on the Envision.

Many mass produced engine plenum chambers are in dire need of aftermarket parts, although a few manufacturers provide reasonably good plenum chambers.

Fitting big valve kits, getting port matching and head flowing will also raise power, and more importantly will permit raising the power increase on other upgrades.

Envision Turbo upgrades

An engine's ability to burn fuel is directly correlated to the amount of air it receives, therefore adding a turbocharger boosts induction significantly.

Turbocharged engines have, generally speaking better parts, often forged and certainly stronger components, making tuning parts easier to install.

To varying degrees, each engine has a tuning envelope that may be pushed to its breaking point and you want to stay just below those limits.

Finding these limits and putting in better components is essential to withstand the power.

After spending a lot on turbo enhancements for the Envision, we've seen customers take it out for a spin and have the entire thing break because they were overenthusiastic in the mods they applied and didn't get the mapping or fuelling set correctly.

Turbochargers that have been modified with larger internals may suffer from a lag in the bottom end, whereas smaller turbos can spool up rapidly but won't have the high-rpm horsepower benefits of larger units.

This technology has been around for a long time, but it has recently become more commonplace in turbo chargers, where the vane angle may be adjusted to reduce latency and improve top-end performance.

The exhaust flow from twin scroll turbo chargers is diverted into two separate channels and pushed into the turbocharger by different-sized vanes. They also help the engine's scavenging capabilities.

The Envision's air flow sensor (AFM/MAF/MAP) often shows a restriction when more air is pumped into the engine.

At higher rpms, you'll discover 4 bar air sensors capable of handling significantly more power than the OEM air sensor could handle.

Even though it's more difficult to get going, slapping on a supercharger or another turbo will result in significant torque improvements.  We have this feature on twinchargers if you want to read more.

Envision Fuelling Mods

Don't dismiss the need raise the fuel delivery when you are increasing the power - it makes the car more thirsty.

We would recommend you to over specify your injectors flow rate.

The rule of thumb is to add 20% when buying an injector, which takes into account injector deterioration and gives a little spare capacity should the engine need more fuel.

We think this one is common sense, but you'll need to match your fuel injector to the type of fuel your car uses as well.

All the following flywheel power targets will assume an injector duty cycle of 80% and a base of 58psi of fuel pressure at idle.

4 Cylinder turbocharged engines

      • 58 PSI 340cc/min 200hp
      • 58 PSI 511cc/min 300hp

5 Cylinder turbocharged engines

      • 58 PSI 273cc/min 200hp
      • 58 PSI 409cc/min 300hp

4 Cylinder NASP engines

      • 58 PSI 285cc/min 200hp
      • 58 PSI 426cc/min 300hp

Envision Performance Exhausts

Only upgrade your exhaust if your exhaust is limiting your performance.

Most factory exhausts will flow well even when you make moderate power improvements, but if you want to go any farther you will need a significantly better exhaust.

Exhausts designed for racing may aid improve airflow from the engine, but a broad exhaust might impede the flow rate. Always aim for a thickness of 1.5-2.5 inches.

An aftermarket performance filter may unlock that lost power without resorting to undertaking an illegal catalyst removal so that the vehicle is still legal to drive on public roads.

Since the larger size and surface area of a sports catalyst removes this restriction and allows the car to perform as it would without a catalyst, we should point out that it is comparable to a test pipe mod but also keeps your car street legal. This means that a sports catalyst improves performance to the level you'd expect without a catalyst while also keeping your car street legal.

For off-road purposes, the alternative catless mod or catalyst removal should be regarded an off-road only modification, since removing a catalyst is prohibited in most areas and regions (and in others you can't even replace a functional catalyst).

Envision Alloy wheel upgrades.

Because alloys are less heavy they improve performance and they can help to cool the brake disks.

Don't forget that your choice of rubber greatly affects your cars grip and handling. It is not worth compromising performance with cheap tires when you can buy track legal slick performance tires.

The downside to large alloys on your Envision is that you're altering your effective final drive ratio and this will have a detrimental effect on acceleration.

For this reason, we would advise sticking to a maximum wheel size of 18 inches, although we know some of our members have gone larger than this with no problems.

For more information on Tuning your car please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss Envision options in more detail with our Envision owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Buick tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

Weak spots, Issues & problem areas on the Envision

The Envision engines are generally reliable and solid as long as they are regularly serviced and maintained.

Regular oil changes are vital on the Envision, especially when tuned and will help extend the life and reliability of the engine.

If you want to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your Envision engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss Envision tuning options in more detail with our Envision owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Buick tuning articles to get insights into each modification and how effective they will be.

Please help us improve these tips by sending us your feedback in the comments box below.

We love to know what our visitors have got up to and which mods work best for them on each model of car. Comments are used to improve the accuracy of these Envision articles which are continually updated.

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