Do you need a big three-row crossover SUV that can shuttle lots of people and cargo? The 2017 Buick Enclave could be for you. Here's a quick rundown of what we like, what we don't and the bottom line from the Edmunds editors.
BRYN MACKINNON: I'm Bryn MacKinnon from Edmunds, and this is an Edmunds expert rundown of the 2017 Buick Enclave. The first thing to know about the 2017 Enclave is that it's not an all new vehicle, unlike its corporate cousin the 2017 GMC Acadia. Instead, the Enclave soldiers on as essentially the same vehicle we had in for a long-term test way back in 2009. On the bright side, that means it's still a remarkably spacious crossover with much more cargo room than the new Acadia. If you want more space, a minivan is just about your only option. The Enclave also offers a smooth ride and seating for up to eight, although we're less impressed by the V6 powertrain's fuel economy and performance. Pop inside the Enclave, and you'll see there's ample passenger space in the second row. You'll also find a roomier third row than what the new Acadia gives you. This isn't the SUV for you if you're looking for the latest features and technology. Upfront, Buick's tried to keep this thing up to date, but there's just no hiding its age from the uninspired dashboard design to the outdated infotainment interface. The bottom line is that the 2017 Enclave's on its last legs. So we'd be remiss not to recommend its newer and more competitive rivals, including the Honda Pilot and the Mazda CX-9, as well as that Acadia we keep mentioning. But the Enclave does have the distinction of being a very roomy crossover. So it has a lot of utility if that's what your family needs. For more Edmunds expert rundowns, click the link to subscribe.
If you're looking for an eight-seat family vehicle, your choices are limited — and if you want one with a posh interior, the list of eligible vehicles gets even shorter. However, one you'll want to consider is the 2017 Buick Enclave. Not only is it a crossover with an upscale and practical interior, but it costs less than its luxury-branded competitors.
The Enclave is closely related to the Chevrolet Traverse (but no longer to the GMC Acadia, which was redesigned for 2017 as a smaller vehicle). To see the differences, take a ride: The Enclave drives like a Buick should, smoothing out rough pavement and banishing wind and road noise. It's at its best on the open road, but you'll feel the Buick's size and heft on the curvy stretches, and maneuvering in tight spaces can be a challenge. The Enclave is powered by a 288-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 paired with either front- or all-wheel drive; the former EPA-rated at 18 mpg combined (15 city/22 highway) and the latter at 17 mpg combined. Those numbers are lower than we expect from a V6-powered crossover, and full-throttle acceleration isn't as strong as we'd like.
The interior is attractively designed, with nice touches like padded-vinyl trim on the dashboard. The Intellilink infotainment system is fairly intuitive and easy to use, though the screen is mounted lower than we'd like. The subscription-based 4G LTE service (which turns the Enclave into a mobile hotspot) is handy. From a practical standpoint, the Enclave can be configured as an eight-seater with a second-row bench; individual captain's chairs in the second row reduce seating capacity to seven.The second row offers plenty of space, though the seat-bottom cushions are set rather low to the floor, and the third-row seat offers enough room for teens and small adults, provided the second-row occupants are willing to scoot their seats forward and give up a little legroom. Unlike many three-row SUVs, the Enclave offers a usable amount of luggage space with all three rows in use, and folding down both rows of backseats turns the Enclave into a moving van.
The Enclave is available in Convenience, Leather and Premium models. The Enclave Convenience is nicely equipped, though it's the only trim level that doesn't offer an eight-seat configuration. You can probably figure out the primary feature of the Leather model, but it adds other luxury nice-to-haves as well. The Premium offers a suite of upgrades and driver aids. Buick also offers two special editions: the Tuscan Edition and Sport Touring Edition, which give the Enclave a distinctive look. Which to pick? Let Edmunds help find the perfect 2017 Buick Enclave for you.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.