Buick has been pushing to reinvigorate its image and product lineup in recent years, and the Enclave played a big part in the transformation. It competes in the highly competitive midsize crossover class and does so with a near luxury experience for a less than luxury price.
The Enclave features an upscale interior, smooth ride, plenty of room for both passengers and cargo, and top safety scores. If you're looking for a new or used large luxury crossover SUV with a number of family-friendly features — such as a roomy cabin with easily accessed and adult-friendly third-row seats — the Enclave is worth checking out.
Current Buick Enclave
The Buick Enclave is a full-size crossover SUV powered by a 3.6-liter V6 rated at 288 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic and front-wheel drive are standard. All-wheel drive is optional on higher trim levels.
There are three trim levels for the Enclave: Convenience, Leather and Premium, all with standard seven-passenger seating. An available second-row bench seat increases capacity to eight.
The front-wheel-drive-only Convenience trim comes with 19-inch wheels, a power driver seat, automatic xenon headlights, a power liftgate, tri-zone automatic climate control, a rearview camera and rear parking sensors, Bluetooth connectivity, smartphone app integration and OnStar. The Leather trim level adds leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power passenger seat and driver-seat memory settings, a blind-spot monitoring system and rear cross-traffic alert. The Premium trim level features lane departure warning and forward collision warning systems, active headlights, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, power-folding side mirrors with heating, ventilated front seats and a 10-speaker Bose audio system. Option highlights include 20-inch wheels, a navigation system, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, towing package and a dual-panel sunroof.
In reviews, we have praised the Enclave for its practicality and upscale feel. High-quality materials are plentiful, especially on higher trims, and the ride quality is excellent. It offers a spacious interior, with third-row seats that offer enough room for larger children and even smaller adults. Access to the third row is excellent, with second-row seats that tilt and slide out of the way, and there's a useful 23 cubic feet of space behind the upright third-row seat. Folding down both rows yields an expansive 115 cubic feet of cargo space.
The six-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly. On the highway, the Enclave is quiet and smooth-riding, though some buyers may find that the optional 20-inch wheels degrade the ride noticeably. But the Buick is feeling its age. The infotainment interface is starting to look dated, and acceleration and fuel economy haven't kept up with competitors. The Buick Enclave's V6 manages the go from zero to 60 mph in a placid 8.2 seconds, and only promises a maximum of 18 mpg (15 city/22 highway). Overall handling is competent and predictable, though the Enclave feels heavier and more ponderous than other similar vehicles.
Used Buick Enclave Models
The Buick Enclave is still in its first generation, which debuted for the 2008 model year. Changes have been minimal, with a handful of minor improvements and tweaks to trim level names and packages. Overall, any used Enclave will be a solid choice for an upscale, family-friendly crossover SUV.
In its first year, the V6 had a lower output of 275 hp and 251 lb-ft of torque. The following year welcomed an updated V6 with 288 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque as well as other upgrades that included Bluetooth connectivity and a traffic feature for the navigation system. Until 2010, there were just two trim levels — the base CX and luxury CXL. Also, for the first two model years, the transmission could be lazy to downshift due to programming biased toward fuel economy. For 2010, the transmission was reprogrammed for quicker response. Additionally, Enclaves from 2008 to '12 have slightly different exterior styling than the current model as well as some lower-quality switchgear.
The Enclave's current, more descriptive trim levels of base, Convenience, Leather and Premium, arrived for 2012. Two years later saw the addition of the lane departure warning and forward collision warning systems. We'd encourage buyers considering a used Buick Enclave to look for 2010 and later models for the extra power, better transmission and upgraded technology.