The less-powerful variant starts $8,000 below the higher-spec 2016 model.

General Motors is already preparing to offer a less expensive Buick Envision crossover in the US market.

After launching in China with a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine, the Envision is heading to the US for the 2016 model year. It will initially be available only with a 2.0-liter turbo mill, which delivers 252 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels.

Early adopters in the US are forced to purchase the Premium I trim, which fetches $42,995. The price is significantly higher than the Acura RDX, BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class, all of which start at below $40,000.

To better compete with cheaper segment rivals, the 2017 Envision will be offered in front-wheel-drive form with a 2.5-liter four and a less decadent interior, according to Car and Driver. The naturally-aspirated engine will reduce output to 197 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque.

Opting for the base model will bring the entry price down to $34,990 -- $8,000 below the 2017. A 2.5-liter all-wheel-drive variant sits among numerous midrange builds, though it lacks the Cadillac XT5-derived torque-vectoring AWD tech that is exclusively paired with the 2.0-liter turbo.

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The 2016 Envision is slated to arrive in US showrooms by June, four months ahead of the 2017 edition.

Live images by Brian Williams.