The Buick Enclave mid-size luxury, seven-passenger SUV made waves when first introduced, and it will make waves with its newly redesigned, second-generation, 2018 model that comes in Enclave, Essence and Premium trim levels.
Here’s the Cliff Notes version on changes to the next evolution of the Enclave: New and versatile functionality, spaciousness and intuitive technologies, increased third-row space, improved towing capability, and a thoughtful combination of safety technologies.
“Enclave was introduced as a game-changer for the Buick brand and has since become one of our most successful and important vehicles,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president, Global Buick and GMC. “It set the tone for a more progressive Buick, helping change perception for us and serving as the standard-bearer of what our products stand for: smart, stylish luxury.”
It doesn’t come cheap, but when compared with its competition, the $56,455 sale price tag is a veritable bargain.
I climbed back into the third-row to verify, and I can accurately report, the legroom is adequate for full-grown adults, not just prepubescent rugrats. The Enclave provides 5.4 more inches of legroom than an Acura MDX and 4.3 more inches of space than an Audi Q7.
When not needed, the third-row folds forward with the press of a button in the cargo area, folding flat to create the versatility needed to own this type of vehicle. Two captains’ chairs comprise the second row, along with SmartSlide, making entrance to the third-row less of a challenge.
Enclave is powered by a 3.6-liter V6, SIDI engine with start/stop technology mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. The Buick receives an EPA rating of 25 miles per gallon down the highway rating by the EPA. There was power to spare (310 horsepower), but even scarier, the ride was so smooth you never felt like you were exceeding the speed limit.
It’s hard to complain about visibility when the rear-view mirror includes a full-time camera that provides a wide-angle view. Of course, I still managed to back-up into a Bentley when leaving a recent Seahawks game. Nothing to see folks, no damage, no harm, no foul!
The Enclave is loaded with creature comforts including leather seats, dual power moon roof, navigation, surround vision bird’s-eye rear camera, 17 radar wheels, camera and ultra-sonic sensors, 10-speaker Bose premium sound system, onboard Wi-Fi, satellite radio, heated seats and steering wheel, and more.
Standard safety features include forward collision alert, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keep assist with lane-departure warning, front and rear parking assist, intellibeam auto high-beam control, front pedestrian braking, low-speed forward auto braking and side blind-zone alert.
The Enclave’s final assembly point is Lansing, Mich., with the engine and transmission assembly in Mexico.
There’s more. Plenty more. But you’ll have to take a test drive to see for yourself.
Base Price: $50,315
Price As Driven: $56,455