Buick first introduced its midsize Enclave in 2007. Since its debut, it has enjoyed progressive sales success as a top-selling three-row luxury crossover. For the 2018 model year, Buick has completely redesigned the Enclave, the highlight of which is the introduction of the “Avenir” trim level. The Enclave offers unique styling cues, premium materials, and an extensive set of standard features.
The new design architecture showcases a balanced, athletic appearance. Buick revised the car’s proportions, giving the Enclave a more aerodynamic profile. Its lower roofline, increased windshield angle and longer wheelbase all contribute to a more dramatic stance.
The Enclave has four trim levels. Beyond the base Enclave, there’s the Essence, Premium, and new Avenir model with extensive active safety, connectivity and luxury appointments. The base model comes only in front-wheel drive. The car’s higher trim levels are available in both front- and all-wheel drive.
Buick’s sculpted exterior design evolves a sophisticated elegance established by previous Enclave models. The revised exterior includes restyled, contrasting color front and rear fascias and rocker moldings. There is no longer a composite lower cladding surrounding the vehicle. A chrome glass profile surround trim and chrome-capped door handles add a nice touch, as do the blacked out pillars and floating roof effect.
Standard safety equipment on all 2018 Enclaves includes Rear Park Assist and seven airbags throughout the cabin. An available rear camera mirror eliminates annoying obstructions such as headrests. In addition, the available Surround Vision provides an overhead, 360-degree view around the vehicle while maneuvering at low speeds. Forward collision alert and low-speed automatic braking are also available options.
COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE
The interior benefits from a newly designed instrument panel and door trim. Soft ambient accent lighting bathes the cabin in a warm, pleasant hue. The 2018 Buick Enclave seats seven or eight passengers, and features Buick’s SmartSlide system to provide easier access to the third row.
There’s a 7.0-inch (8.0 inch on Avenir models) infotainment system with Buick Intellilink and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto support. Four interior color combinations are available with complementing wood tone trim accents.
Noise, vibration and harshness has all improved through Buick’s “QuietTuning”. The car includes a new active noise cancellation feature that helps to further deaden unpleasant noise. A new air ionizer is available that eliminates odors while providing better air quality.
In terms of safety, the latest Enclave kicks off with customizable safety alerts and seven standard airbags. The Driver Confidence Package on Essence models includes Blind Zone and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Going further, the Driver Confidence II Package available on Premium and Avenir models includes the features in the first package plus Lane Keep Assist, plus Front and Rear Park Assist, Forward Collision Alert, Low-Speed Automatic Braking and IntelliBeam headlamps.
Buick set the base price for the Premium 1SN I tested at $50,315. However, after factoring in options and the destination charge, the final price was $57,055. Options included a dual moonroof, 20-inch aluminum alloy wheels, and White Frost Metallic Paint. My test car also had some convenience features, including the rear camera mirror, Surround Vision, and a factory-installed towing package.
The 2018 Buick Enclave is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine. It generates 310 horsepower at 6,800 RPM and 266 lb-ft of torque at 2,800 RPM. Power is sent to the driven wheels through a Hydramatic nine-speed automatic transmission. Buick’s Intelligent AWD features an active twin-clutch rear differential. It allow allows the driver to switch to front-wheel drive only, the first Buick and one of the few luxury crossovers to do so.
Despite its more than two ton mass, the 2018 Enclave handles like a much smaller vehicle. Acceleration is more than adequate and shifting is smooth while rolling up and down the gears. Stability is spot on, with no pronounced body roll.
In the final scheme of things, if you were a fan of the old Enclave, you’ll almost certainly love this latest generation. The new interior design treatment is warm, inviting and elegant, displaying top-notch craftsmanship and attention to detail.
The 2018 Buick Enclave has always been a luxurious and attractive crossover, but now it has reached a higher level. It looks better with its visual enhancements, handles better with its mechanical improvements, and is more comfortable with its added convenience features.
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SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Buick Enclave Premium
|Price as Tested:||$57,055|
|Engine:||3.6-liter V-6 w/ direct injection and VVT|
|Drivetrain (Layout):||Transversely mounted front-engine, all-wheel drive|
|Horsepower:||310 hp @ 6,800 RPM|
|Torque:||266 lb-ft @ 2,800 RPM|
|Transmission:||Hydramatic 9T65 nine-speed automatic|
|Suspension:||Front: MacPherson strut w/ hydraulic control arm ride bushing, hollow stabilizer bar, variable damping
Rear: Four-link independent w/ auxiliary springs aids, hollow stabilizer bar, premium damping
|Brakes:||Power-assisted four-wheel discs w/ ABS, Duralife rotors and low-drag calipers|
|Tires:||Continental CrossContact LX20 EcoPlug P255/55 R20 107H|
|Fuel capacity:||21.7 gallons|
|Fuel economy (EPA):||17 City/26 Highway MPG|
|Turning Circle:||39.0 feet|
|Curb Weight:||4,358 pounds|