2012 Buick Enclave SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2012 Buick Enclave SUV

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Buick Enclave Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.6 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 288 hp @ 6300 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 17/24 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2012 Buick Enclave

  • The three-row 2012 Buick Enclave crossover SUV is an excellent choice for families who want minivan functionality along with classy styling and a luxurious interior.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Sleek design inside and out; smooth and quiet ride; all three rows are spacious; ample cargo space; top crash-test scores.

  • Cons

    Large size hampers maneuverability; some minor interior annoyances; compromised rear visibility.

  • What's New for 2012

    Other than receiving some minor feature changes, the Buick Enclave carries over unchanged for 2012.

Full 2012 Buick Enclave Review

What's New for 2012

Other than receiving some minor feature changes, the Buick Enclave carries over unchanged for 2012.


The family hauler has changed a lot over the years, with wagons making way for minivans and then truck-based SUVs. Today, crossovers have largely melded the attributes of the latter two, with a few wagon bits occasionally thrown in for good measure. One of the best of these modern family haulers is the 2012 Buick Enclave, a large crossover that boasts a refined ride and an enormous cabin that can fit up to eight adults.

The Enclave rides on the same unibody platform as the Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia. To help distinguish it as the most premium model in the group, the Enclave has sleeker exterior styling and the most luxurious interior. Other traits are similarly shared but are still quite positive, including a powerful V6, a comfortable and quiet ride and massive cargo capacity.

As with its cousins, though, the Enclave does have some weaknesses, the most notable being its large size that makes maneuvering in tight quarters a challenge. Some prospective buyers may also have a hard time getting past the Buick brand's stodgy image, though the Enclave is modern enough in both design and execution to make this a non-issue for anyone willing to judge the vehicle on its own merits.

While the 2012 Buick Enclave remains a very appealing choice in a crowded segment, there are a few other crossover models we'd urge buyers to have a look at. These include luxury brand competitors like the 2012 Acura MDX, 2012 Lexus RX 350 and 2012 Lincoln MKT. Upper trim levels of some mainstream models like the 2012 Ford Flex and 2012 Toyota Highlander are also nice enough inside to make them worthy of consideration. And for sheer practicality, there's just no beating modern minivans like the 2012 Honda Odyssey and 2012 Toyota Sienna. Overall, though, the Buick Enclave stands out as a solid pick for an upscale family hauler.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 Buick Enclave is a large crossover SUV that's offered in four different trim levels. All have a standard seven-passenger seating configuration via second-row captain's chairs and a third-row bench seat. An optional second-row bench seat, available at no extra charge, increases capacity to eight.

Even the base model is nicely equipped with 19-inch alloy wheels, bi-xenon headlights, foglamps, a power liftgate, heated outside mirrors, tri-zone automatic climate control and cloth upholstery. Other standard features include partial power front seats, a tilt-and-telescoping leather/wood steering wheel, keyless entry, cruise control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth, OnStar and a six-speaker CD/MP3 audio system with an auxiliary audio jack and satellite radio.

Stepping up to the Convenience Group trim level adds remote starting, rear parking assist and a rearview camera. The Leather Group tacks on leather upholstery, heated power front seats (eight-way driver, four-way passenger) and driver memory settings.

The top-of-the-line Premium Group has the above equipment plus 19-inch chrome wheels, adaptive xenon headlights, heated power-folding outside mirrors with built-in turn signal repeaters, heated and ventilated front seats, a power-adjustable steering column, a 115-volt household-style power outlet and a 10-speaker Bose premium audio system with USB/auxiliary audio input jacks and a pair of rear seat headphone jacks.

Major options vary by trim level and include 20-inch chrome alloy wheels, a dual-pane sunroof, the second-row bench seat and a second-row center console. Electronics upgrades include the 10-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system, a rear-seat entertainment system and a navigation system.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2012 Buick Enclave is offered with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Either way, it's powered by a 3.6-liter V6 that pumps out 288 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. With the optional trailering package, the Enclave can tow up to 4,500 pounds.

EPA fuel economy estimates stand at 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined for front-wheel-drive models, while all-wheel-drive versions rate 16/22/18.


Stability control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags are standard on every 2012 Buick Enclave. In brake testing, the Enclave came to a stop from 60 mph in 139 feet, a longish distance for this class of vehicle.

In government crash testing, the Enclave earned a top five-star rating for overall performance, with four out of five stars given for front-impact protection and five stars for side-impact protection. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the Enclave earned the best score of "Good" in both frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

While the first things you're likely to notice about the Enclave's interior are its stylish design and quality materials, these superficial elements are just the beginning. The ability to comfortably transport up to eight passengers with the available second-row bench seat is something not all crossovers can claim. Even the third-row seats are suitable for adult passengers. If carrying a full load of grown-ups is something you expect to be doing a lot of, however, we should point out that there's a bit less room back here than in the Ford Flex's third row.

With or without passengers there's a good amount of cargo room here as well, including 19 cubic feet of usable space behind the 60/40-split third-row seat. For bulky items, folding down the second and third-row seats creates a nice flat load floor with 116 cubic feet of cargo room, a number that handily beats many crossovers but falls short of the massive carrying capacity of modern minivans.

Downsides here include chrome trim that can cause blinding reflections on a sunny day and audio and climate control buttons that are a bit on the small side. Outward visibility to the rear quarters is also relatively poor.

Driving Impressions

While it's hard to describe any 2-ton vehicle as light on its feet, the 2012 Buick Enclave feels decidedly less truck-ish than traditional SUVs. Other large crossovers feel more nimble, but overall the Enclave's handling inspires confidence. The suspension also earns high marks for ride comfort.

The 3.6-liter V6 provides good acceleration in a wide variety of driving conditions. This performance, combined with the Enclave's hushed cabin, makes this a fine choice for daily driving, long road trips and everything in between.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

No cell phones in front

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Vehicle: 2012 Buick Enclave Premium Group 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

The seat belt alarm keeps going off in my 2012 Enclave. The dealer gave me a service notice ID 3120743/ 08-09-41-0071. This states that any electronic device in the front seat or audio cords or large drinks will cause the seat belt alarm to ping. This is NOT TO BE REPAIRED. If you want a cell phone, iPad or audio cord in the front you have to click the seat belt. GM can not give me any assurance that with said interference the air bags will deploy. GM Customer Service stated "The Vehicle is designed to do that" REALLY? I don't think so. They inadequately shielded the module and now don't want to fix it.

Great lease deal

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Vehicle: 2012 Buick Enclave Convenience Group 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

Took delivery of a 2012 Buick Enclave Convenience FWD in Cyber Grey/Ebony Cloth interior in Oct. 2012. The lease deal was way to good to pass up. Paying $333/mo for a $39,200 SUV with free Onstar, free maint, free XM radio for the whole 24mo lease! The Enclave is BIG, it drives BIG, goes down the road BIG. Power is ample for a heavy SUV and the 6sp automatic shifts very well to get you moving. Its got style, function, and looks. Very QUIET and chews up miles with ease. The MPG could be better (I am getting 17 city and only 20-21 HWY) but its only got 5,000 miles on it. Driver and passenger comfort are great, love the middle captains chairs, and 3rd row is fine for 2 adults or 3 kids.

Enjoying the car, but the

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Vehicle: 2012 Buick Enclave Leather Group 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

We purchased our Enclave in July 2012. After 5 seat cars, we are really enjoying the space and can now carpool with others and bring the dog on trips. I wanted captains chair in 2nd row and 3 spaces in 3rd, and most SUV's can't do that. It could always use another USB port but we juggle just fine. My only major complaint so far is the milage. This winter it has been averaging 16.4 miles per gallon. This thing chews through gas like you wouldn't believe. Over the summer, it was slightly better, but we were doing more highway traveling. With nothing but metro driving, it is sobering how much we are spending on fuel. Clearance is ok, but check measurements - this is lower than hoped.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Love my new car

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Vehicle: 2012 Buick Enclave Leather Group 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

I purchased this car after 4 years of research on crossovers and SUVs. It was worth all the time and energy. This vehicle is easy to drive, loaded with extras, very comfortable and doesn't drive like an SUV at all. With the rear camera and parking assist, there are no worries backing out of my driveway or parking spots. The A/C cools rapidly in our very hot summers with very high humidity. It has a very tight turning radius and when this is combined with the variable speed steering - she is a breeze to manuever. I have received so many compliments when people see my new vehicle that I have lost count. I have fully enjoyed the first 6 weeks and look forward to many years of enjoyment.

26 of 79 people found this review helpful

I adore this vehicle!!

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Vehicle: 2012 Buick Enclave Premium Group 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

I traded in my 2004 Rainier and purchased my 2012 White Diamond AWD Premium Enclave a few days ago. It was very hard trying to decide between the Enclave, the Acadia Denali and the Cadillac SRX. After driving all three, the Enclave was the hands down winner. It is roomy, elegant, smooth, quiet, and very luxurious. It was a bit pricey - even more expensive than my 2003 Yukon Denali XL - but it is worth it. This vehicle is loaded with every amenity you can think of!

75 of 231 people found this review helpful

Buick has come a long

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Buick Enclave Premium Group 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

Really enjoy driving my new Buick SUV....... it is quick an nimble, very stylish and filled with great bells and whistles.

Talk About The 2012 Enclave

Gas Mileage


  • 17
  • cty
  • 24
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

Identifix Reliability Ratings

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