New & Used Buick Enclave: In Depth
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The Buick Enclave is a full-size, three-row luxury crossover that can seat up to seven passengers. It's been a part of the Buick lineup since the 2007 model year.
Spun off from the same architecture as the Chevy Traverse and GMC Acadia, the Enclave has a sleeker look and more luxury features than its companions, though their powertrains and safety equipment are nearly identical.
MORE: Read our 2015 Buick Enclave review
Buick introduced the Enclave at the 2006 Detroit Auto Show as the indirect replacement for its aged Terraza minivan and Rendezvous crossover. A more attractive, much more satisfying effort, the Enclave immediately earned kudos for its handsome styling, which might be our favorite of all the big GM crossovers, just slightly ahead of the GMC Acadia and a few well-detailed steps ahead of the more plain Chevy Traverse. Curvaceous fenders and glamorous detailing are matched inside by a subdued, luxurious design.
In its first year of production, the Enclave was fitted with a 275-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. With this combination, the vehicle offered decent acceleration and reasonable fuel economy of 16 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway. For 2009, the Enclave's engine was upgraded with direct injection technology and offered up to 288 horsepower.
The Enclave still gets the same 288-horsepower, 3.6-liter direct-injected V-6. Fuel economy still comes in at 16 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway, according to EPA estimates, although real-world figures are likely to be worse, based on our experience. The Enclave also comes standard with front-wheel drive but is available with an optional all-wheel-drive system.
All Enclaves feature three rows of seating, with a total of seven places for passengers. The second row is fitted with a pair of captain's chairs, while the third has a three-person bench; the latter is notable for its ability to accommodate adults of medium stature and not just small children. Behind the back row, the Enclave offers 19 cubic feet of cargo space. When properly equipped, the Enclave can tow up to 4,500 pounds, which is good enough for most weekend duties.
Crash scores have remained excellent even as testing criteria have changed. The NHTSA gives it five stars overall, with a four-star rating for front and a five-star rating for side impacts. It also receives top 'Good' scores in all categories it has been tested in by the IIHS.
One note for buyers: The Enclave's former trim levels have been jettisoned. Now, customers simply choose option packages that add on features like a sunroof and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system. Since the big crossover is already pretty well equipped, this system makes a bit more sense. Buick has similarly removed trim levels from its other models.
The Enclave received a light update for the 2013 model year, with upgraded infotainment features, a new grille, and some new interior trim, as well as improved struts for better ride control and new programming for its automatic transmission to relieve some gear-hunting.
For the 2015 model year, all Enclaves include a standard rearview camera.
Pricing starts in the mid-$30,000s, which is substantially cheaper than comparable vehicles like the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz M-Class but pricier than its Lambda-based siblings and the two-row Lexus RX 350.