First, I am well aware that there is an inflatable hearse on my lawn, which is also haunted. Just go ahead and get used to that background for a few weeks.
Second, the 2024 Buick Envista is a great car! Easily the most surprising thing I’ve driven this year, and although I’ll go into everything else in a full review coming soon, the cargo area contributes to that general sense of pleasant surprise.
The specs say it has 20.7 cubic-feet of space, which would be consistent with the subcompact SUV segment it competes with on price (even if it’s more comparable to a compact in terms of length). Let’s see how that amount translates into actual stuff.
At first look, I was not expecting good things. Yes, its ample length is pretty indicative of a compact SUV, but the height is nowhere close. With the rigid cargo cover in place, it basically looks like a trunk — but more on that cover in a moment.
Unlike most subcompact and compact SUVs, the Envista does not offer a dual level cargo floor that adds extra cargo space while still making a fold-flat back seat possible. In other words, Buick is clearly leaving some cubic-feet on the table here.
This cover would be of the gigantic, rigid, nowhere-to-keep-it-in-the-car, hatchback variety. I am not a fan, especially for the Envista. You’re about to see why.
Bring on the bags. As with every Luggage Test, I use two midsize roller suitcases that would need to be checked in at the airport (26 inches long, 16 wide, 11 deep), two roll-aboard suitcases that just barely fit in the overhead (24L x 15W x 10D), and one smaller roll-aboard that fits easily (23L x 15W x 10D). I also include my wife’s fancy overnight bag just to spruce things up a bit (21L x 12W x 12D).
That would be the three biggest bags, but that’s all you’re fitting. I tried to dislodge the cover and let it rest on top, but nope, liftgate wouldn’t close. At least the middle bit of the cargo cover has that raised middle bit that perfectly wrapped around my big blue bag. Without that, this result would’ve been even worse.
So, if you were picking up someone from the airport, they had more bags than this and you forgot to remove the cargo cover, you’d be in trouble.
If, however, you remember to chuck the cargo cover …
Holy cow, all the bags fit!
I was genuinely surprised by this result. The Tetris formation is a little weird, but it wasn’t hard to fit everything in here. Fancy bag looks a little smashed, but rest assured, it would fit even if full of stuff.
In the subcompact SUV segment, only the Bronco Sport, VW Taos and Kia Seltos (in that order) are clearly superior to this. Although many other entries in the segment managed to also fit everything, the ease with which they fit in the Envista and the amount of room leftover put it on top of that second tier.
I think the key element here is all that cargo area length, and again, if Buick managed to offer a dual-level cargo floor and went with a different cargo cover design, there would be even more present. Nevertheless, when you pair this cargo capability to its equally surprisingly back seat leg- and headroom, the Envista is a surprisingly practical vehicle despite those sleek, curvaceous looks and low price. This well-equipped Sport Touring model cost only $29,070.