Used 2015 Buick Enclave Review

The 2015 Buick Enclave is a great middle-ground option for families who want a lot of space with luxury ambience, but aren't ready to pay the premium asking price for a three-row SUV from one of the import luxury brands.




what's new

The 2015 Buick Enclave is essentially unchanged.

vehicle overview

There are many choices for hauling your family around these days, and each offers its own set of benefits. A large crossover SUV can give you the passenger comfort, cargo space and fuel economy you're looking for. But if you also want one that rises above the utilitarian fray yet is still reasonably priced, the three-row 2015 Buick Enclave could end up being your ideal choice.

Along with the requisite cargo and passenger space, the 2015 Buick Enclave's calling card is its impressively smooth and quiet ride. Unlike some traditional truck-based SUVs, it can be driven daily on pitted freeways and uneven asphalt in comfort. And if you need the Buick to do some boat-tugging duty, it can haul 4,500 pounds when properly equipped. It's also pretty nice inside, benefitting from quality materials and plenty of standard and optional feature content.

Of course, if you don't deem these luxury leanings absolutely necessary, you can save some money with the Buick's siblings, the Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia, and still get pretty much the same vehicle. The Infiniti QX60 is another smart choice given its roomy seating and classy interior design. We also like the 2015 Acura MDX, as it offers three rows of seating along with a much sportier personality, though it's not as roomy in back as these other options. So the Edmunds.com "B" rated Buick Enclave is up against some varied rivals, but considering its combination of sheer interior volume, a comfortable ride and upscale ambience, is shouldn't go overlooked.

trim levels & features

The 2015 Buick Enclave is a full-size crossover that essentially comes in three trim levels that are referred to as groups: Convenience, Leather and Premium.

Every Enclave comes standard with second-row captain's chairs and seven-passenger capacity. A second-row bench seat is optional on the Leather and Premium groups and increases the seat total to eight.

Standard equipment for the Enclave with the Convenience Group includes 18-inch wheels, automatic xenon headlights, rear privacy glass, a power liftgate, heated mirrors, rear parking sensors, remote ignition, cruise control, tri-zone automatic climate control, an eight-way power driver seat (plus two-way lumbar adjustment), a two-way power passenger seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Electronics for the Convenience Group include OnStar telematics, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a rearview camera, a 6.5-inch touchscreen display, Buick's IntelliLink electronics interface (which includes voice control and smartphone radio app integration), dual USB charge ports (on the rear of the center console) and a six-speaker sound system that includes a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack, an iPod/USB audio interface and satellite radio.

Stepping up to the Leather Group adds 19-inch wheels, a blind-spot warning system, rear cross-traffic alert, leather upholstery, a power-adjustable steering wheel, heated front seats and an eight-way power passenger seat.

The top-of-the-line Premium Group includes all of the above plus adaptive headlights, power-folding and auto-dimming mirrors, a forward collision alert system, a lane departure warning system, heated and ventilated front seats and a 10-speaker Bose sound system.

Options on the Leather and Premium groups include 20-inch wheels, a dual-panel sunroof, a rear-seat entertainment system, a 120-volt power outlet, a Bose surround-sound audio system and a navigation system integrated into IntelliLink.

performance & mpg

All 2015 Buick Enclaves come with a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 288 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard, while all-wheel drive is optional. Properly equipped, the Enclave can tow up to 4,500 pounds.

In Edmunds performance testing, an all-wheel-drive Enclave went from zero to 60 mph in 8.6 seconds, which is a little slower than average for large crossovers, some of which are equipped with more powerful V8 engines.

The EPA estimates that a front-wheel-drive Enclave will return 19 mpg combined (17 city/24 highway), and all-wheel drive brings that number down slightly to 18 mpg combined (16 /22).

safety

All 2015 Enclaves are equipped with antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front outboard side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, rear parking sensors and a rearview camera. Also standard is a large airbag that deploys between the front seats in the event of a side impact. The standard OnStar system includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, an emergency button, stolen vehicle locator and active intervention, and remote door unlock.

The Leather and Premium Groups include cross-traffic alert and a blind-spot warning system. The Premium Group also includes forward-collision alert and lane-departure warning systems, both of which are available on the Leather Group also.

In Edmunds brake testing, an Enclave with the optional 20-inch wheels came to a stop from 60 mph in 126 feet, which is an average distance.

In government crash tests, the Enclave earned the highest possible rating of five out of five possible stars for overall performance, with five stars for total front-impact protection and five stars for total side-impact protection. The Enclave also did well in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests, earning a highest rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset impact test as well as the side-impact, roof strength and seatbelts and head restraints (whiplash protection) tests.

driving

The 2015 Buick Enclave isn't exactly light on its feet. The V6 engine provides adequate performance but lacks authoritative punch during passing maneuvers. In addition, the automatic transmission can be slow to react when a quick downshift is needed, but gearchanges are at least smooth. It's an excellent highway cruiser, however, thanks to its impressively smooth ride and low levels of wind and road noise. Driven around turns, this big crossover SUV is reasonably secure, but it does feel bulkier and less maneuverable than the sportier MDX.

interior

The interior of a Buick Enclave isn't quite as rich as those found in some competitors, but surfaces are still attractive and of good quality. We particularly like the padded vinyl trim on the dashboard: Thanks to contrasting stitching, it looks like real leather and contributes to the Buick's classy ambience.

The climate controls are operated by three easy-to-use knobs, while every Enclave features Buick's IntelliLink 6.5-inch touchscreen display. IntelliLink allows smartphone radio app integration, and features a clean layout and intuitive menu structure. The screen itself is mounted low in the driver's sight line, however, and requires a longer glance away from the road than we'd like. In addition, the system is sometimes slow to respond to touch inputs (and occasionally misses them entirely), making the interface a bit frustrating.

As for more practical matters, the Enclave (along with its GM cousins) is one of the most spacious crossovers available for both people and cargo. And really, no luxury-branded model comes close. Front-row passengers will enjoy abundant head- and legroom, as will most second-row occupants. But those middle-row seat cushions are mounted a bit low, which impacts comfort for adults. Sliding those seats all the way back helps alleviate this issue, but doing so effectively kills third-row legroom.

The third row is actually roomy enough for adults to fit in comfortably (as long as second-row occupants are generous), though it's realistically best suited for those of smaller stature or children. This is especially true if you want to fit three across. Rearward visibility is almost nonexistent when you have a full crew onboard, so the standard rearview camera is a huge help.

When it comes to cargo space, the Enclave is definitely a leader in its class. Even with the third-row seats in place, it can carry more luggage than most rivals. Space remains abundant when lowering either the second or third row, as the Enclave offers more cargo space than any crossover apart from its Chevrolet and GMC siblings.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.