2012 Buick Enclave Review

Pros & Cons

  • Sleek design inside and out
  • smooth and quiet ride
  • all three rows are spacious
  • ample cargo space
  • top crash-test scores.
  • Large size hampers maneuverability
  • some minor interior annoyances
  • compromised rear visibility.
List Price Range
$7,995 - $14,995

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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.

Vehicle overview

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.

2012 Buick Enclave models

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.

2012 Highlights

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

Performance & mpg

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.

Safety

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.

Driving

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.

Interior

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.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2012 Buick Enclave.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Oh, how we loved you, until you let us down
Kevin E.,05/22/2018
Leather Group 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)
We were so happy to get our Buick Enclave 2 years ago. It rides very nice. It is quiet. The seats are comfortable. It is easy to drive. While on a trip out west, we noticed the engine feels underpowered with 4 people and luggage traveling through the Rocky Mountains. It struggled going up some hills. All was well though until we hit 68000 miles. It started with the engine shutting off while driving. The power steering went out when this happened making it very difficult to try and steer to get off the road. After this happened 3 times in 2 days, we took it to the dealership. The power steering pump needed replaced, the timing chain needed replaced, and a cam shaft was bad. This came to around $12000. Thank God we purchased an extended warranty when we bought it. It was all covered except for the deductible. After going through that, the vehicle then started making a strange noise whenever we would turn the wheel. The brake booster is also going out. At this point, we decided to trade it in on a new GMC Acadia. I strongly recommend if you buy a used one to purchase an extended warranty. They are known for having timing chain issues (which I did not know when I bought it).
Sorry, Buick... one and done!
G Tornatore,04/19/2017
Leather Group 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)
Like the aesthetics and functionality of our 2012 Buick Enclave very much, however cannot recommend due to drivetrain major failures. Water pump failed at 75k miles. Engine and transmission failures at only 90k miles. 4 months ago (Jan. '17), had a fuel injector failure... GM service tech strongly suggested that all 6 by replaced at same time ($2400). OK,..happens. However, just diagnosed with a failing transmission (torque converter & transmission) in April '17. Cost to install a new transmission by GM... $5200. That's it,.. at only 90k miles on a 5 year old, well maintained vehicle...I'm out. No confidence in the Enclave reliability....shame.
Purchased a 2012 in 2017 with $85,000 miles on it
jennsavage2@cox.net,09/10/2017
Leather Group 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A)
We purchased this vehicle to replace a 2004 Navigator which was not needed to tow a boat we had sold. We have never owned a Buick product before so we thought we would give it a go. We fortunately had some factory warranty left on the vehicle when we purchased it and thankfully bought a 1 year extended warranty that covered major components. A few weeks after purchase we noticed a flutter in the engine, a hesitation. We took it in and found out that it needed an expensive part for the transmission and new struts...Our factory warranty covered the transmission part, and our extended warranty covered the struts. A few months after that we noticed that the RPM needed was jumping around when traveling at 45-50 mph...Took it to dealer and they said it is a known issue that happens when the temperatures are high (we live in AZ) but does effect the engine...so we would just have to deal with that. Then 8 months in, the AC went out and needed a manifold hose..our factory warranty had run out so our extended warranty covered it. We are VERY nervous about this vehicle once the extended warranty has expired because we really don't feel like we can trust it not to cost us a lot in repairs. I will probably trade out of it once the warranty is up.
My first BUICK ENCLAVE
mike,10/23/2017
Leather Group 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A)
IF you decide to buy one then make sure that you have it checked out completely before. you buy . Original owners almost never keep maintenance records . I bought one with 95000 miles on it and it needed a lot of work done because the first owner neglected to take care of the mechanical issues . The Lexus dealer in cool springs was supposed to do a 141 inspection on it according to their list sheet . I found too many things they overlooked and did not mention on the sheet. Tire where bald, front brakes down to the metal, rear brakes almost the same, brake, antifreeze, power steering, and transmission fluids never had been changed .... Front motor mount was leaking oil , engine missing at low speeds and needed plugs . Battery was 6 years old and not holding a charge very good .. After spending around 4000.00 to bring it up to speed I an now be safe to travel in it .. Gas mileage is about 18-20 in town and almost 24 on highway . I liked the vehicle because it's very comfortable . But the Lexus dealer of cool springs did not prepare it like their inspection said when they did it ... i would never buy from them again because of their dishonesty about the vehicle .. they do not care about their customers safety with any used car they sell..

Features & Specs

MPG
17 city / 24 hwy
Seats 7
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
288 hp @ 6300 rpm
MPG
16 city / 22 hwy
Seats 7
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
288 hp @ 6300 rpm
MPG
17 city / 24 hwy
Seats 7
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
288 hp @ 6300 rpm
MPG
16 city / 22 hwy
Seats 7
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
288 hp @ 6300 rpm
See all Used 2012 Buick Enclave features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover16.9%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2012 Buick Enclave

Used 2012 Buick Enclave Overview

The Used 2012 Buick Enclave is offered in the following submodels: Enclave SUV. Available styles include Leather Group 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A), Leather Group 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A), Premium Group 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A), Premium Group 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A), Convenience Group 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A), 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A), Convenience Group 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A), and 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A).

What's a good price on a Used 2012 Buick Enclave?

Price comparisons for Used 2012 Buick Enclave trim styles:

  • The Used 2012 Buick Enclave Base is priced between $7,995 and$12,150 with odometer readings between 78601 and110662 miles.
  • The Used 2012 Buick Enclave Leather Group is priced between $8,797 and$13,500 with odometer readings between 81047 and121997 miles.
  • The Used 2012 Buick Enclave Premium Group is priced between $11,490 and$14,995 with odometer readings between 71489 and97945 miles.
  • The Used 2012 Buick Enclave Convenience Group is priced between $11,995 and$11,995 with odometer readings between 123381 and123381 miles.

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Which used 2012 Buick Enclaves are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2012 Buick Enclave for sale near. There are currently 9 used and CPO 2012 Enclaves listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $7,995 and mileage as low as 71489 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2012 Buick Enclave.

Can't find a used 2012 Buick Enclaves you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Buick Enclave for sale - 11 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $19,740.

Find a used Buick for sale - 5 great deals out of 7 listings starting at $25,457.

Find a used certified pre-owned Buick Enclave for sale - 11 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $20,263.

Find a used certified pre-owned Buick for sale - 12 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $22,983.

Should I lease or buy a 2012 Buick Enclave?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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