Buick announced a new compact crossover Monday morning, and it doesn't look like anything the brand's produced so far.

The Envista—already on sale in China—replaces the Encore as Buick's entry-level offering. It starts at just $23,495, cheaper than a Honda Civic, and below the $27,195 starting price of the smaller Buick Encore GX. For just under $24,000, you get a compact crossover with a 1.2-liter turbocharged three-cylinder, making 136 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque. That's paired exclusively with a six-speed automatic which sends power to the front wheels only. If you want all-wheel drive, you'll need to pay up for an Encore GX or another brand's compact crossover.

Inside, you get an 11-inch infotainment system as standard, with an 8-inch driver information display instead of a traditional gauge cluster. Forward collision braking, lane keeping, and auto high beams are also standard. The everyman roots of the Chevy Trax-based Buick, but on the mid-grade ST and top-trim Avenir, there's enough tinsel to make it an attractive package. Buick's release did not include photos of the base model.

The exterior, though, is the more notable part of the Envista's design. The Buick adopts a crossover-coupe body style—a rarity at this price point. The sloping roof is reminiscent of a budget Lamborghini Urus, with a front design that evokes the same SUV. Whether the practicality-minded buyers in this segment will go for such a dramatic roofline remains to be seen, as the maximum cargo volume of the Envista with its seats folded (42 cubic feet) is less than even the smaller Encore GX (50 cubes).

Buick's bet is that a low starting price and a dramatic design will help court younger buyers, even if they can't get all-wheel drive or a massive cargo area. That wager is already paying off in China, so we'll just have to see if Americans are on board, too.

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2023-04-17T15:30:07Z dg43tfdfdgfd