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Updated Buick Enclave lives up to luxury label Featured

Sep 23, 2018 Hit: 149 Written by 
The 2018 Buick Enclave gets a much-needed redesign.
The 2018 Buick Enclave gets a much-needed redesign. Photo courtesy of Buick

With its first design lasting a full decade (2008 to 2017), after a very long wait the Buick Enclave finally gets updated for the 2018 model year.

And the results are pretty spectacular.

The new exterior look for the entry-level luxury brand’s biggest ride is much smoother looking looking than the previous version, and inside it’s more practical too.
I’m back with a full report after spending some time in the new-look Enclave.

LOOKS

The less bulky, slimmer look of the new Enclave is clear upon first glance and a big improvement on its predecessor. As part of the redesign, the vehicle got slightly longer but still shed weight while increasing interior space.

Inside, the materials in the Enclave are consistently high-end and you get a litany of creature comforts, even if you don’t go for the top trim lines. The three rows in the Enclave can host up to seven people. Third row is easy to access, but best for kids.

 

Among comfort features are heated and ventilated front seats (driver and passenger), tri-zone climate control and heated second row seats.

 

Additional Info

  • Vehicle:: 2018 Buick Enclave Premium AWD
  • Price as tested:: $56,560
  • Best feature:: Roomy, plush interior; strong tech features
  • Rating:: 4.5 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?:: Families looking for an impressive luxury SUV that’s more affordable than traditional luxury brands


Vehicles of this size tend to be used among families, and needs depend on the day, so the versatility of the Enclave is great. Whether you need to haul a boatload of people, or a boatload of cargo, or some combo of both, it’s got you covered without any concerns.


THE RIDE

GM is known for power, and the Enclave lives up to that reputation.

All things considered, the Enclave’s 3.6-liter V6 engine (paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission) gets you moving swiftly with its impressive 310 horsepower and 266 lb.-ft. of torque. The Enclave is offered with either front-wheel drive or AWD.


Sound deadening blocks out road noise well and the ride is quiet.

Handling and responsiveness to driver input are about as well as can be expected for a vehicle of this size. For those who plan to use the Enclave to pull a boat or camper, max towing capability is 5,000 pounds.


TECHNOLOGY, SAFETY

For a family vehicle, safety is perhaps the most important aspect to many buyers. And technology needs to be up-to-date to compete. GM succeeds here with the Enclave, which did not disappoint in the tech and safety arenas.

My test vehicle featured keyless open, keyless start, auto high beam control, plus helpful features including: lane keep assist with lane departure warning, low speed forward auto braking, following distance indicator, forward collision alert, rear cross-traffic alert, front and rear parking assist, and lane change alert with side blind zone alert.

Sirius satellite radio is free for three months, OnStar connection is included, and the infotainment system and its 8-inch screen was well-designed and easy to use. It’s also compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for phone mirroring. Navigation was also impressive, getting me where I needed to go in the most efficient way. The system responds well to voice commands, too, and a 4G hotspot is offered.

An optional tech feature on my test vehicle that was very cool was the Surround Vision rearview camera, which features a birds eye view of everything around the vehicle via front, side and rear cameras.

MPG

In terms of fuel mileage, the numbers are good but not spectacular. Officially listed at 17 city/25 highway/20 combined, I was a bit shy of these numbers during my time driving the Enclave. Compared to similar vehicles from Volvo, Acura and Infiniti, the official numbers just a couple ticks behind in overall fuel economy.


PRICE, BOTTOM LINE

The 2018 Buick Enclave Premium AWD that I tested was priced at $56,560 after all options. For the most basic version, the 2018 Enclave starts off around $40K. With pricing from 40K to 60K, the Buicks are not cheap, but compared to some foreign rivals in this segment they can be a bargain (the others tend to start off around $45K or higher).

For a while, the Buick brand was a bit forgotten in the U.S., but it’s started to regain its mojo, and with updates like this one to the Enclave, that trend should continue to go in a positive direction. It’s becoming a much more agreeable option for luxury buyers who don’t want to go overly crazy on their pocketbook but still get a very sharp vehicle.

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AutoTechReviews.com can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page.

Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.

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Matt Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

Website: www.autotechreviews.com

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