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FWD 4-Door ConvenienceGas V6, 3.6L
Front Wheel Drive
|$ 37,097||$ 39,050|
FWD 4-Door LeatherGas V6, 3.6L
Front Wheel Drive
|$ 41,277||$ 43,450|
FWD 4-Door PremiumGas V6, 3.6L
Front Wheel Drive
|$ 44,939||$ 47,305|
AWD 4-Door LeatherGas V6, 3.6L
All Wheel Drive
|$ 43,177||$ 45,450|
It has very little in common with a minivan, but like many other large seven-seat crossover utility vehicles, the 2015 Buick Enclave serves many of the same purposes as the widely derided people-moving boxes. It just does it in a tall but far more stylish SUV body that offers much of the same flexibility and practicality.
The Enclave is now eight years old, and it's selling today as well as it ever has. The handsome design has managed to reset a lot of stereotypes among buyers over the years--not the least of them having to do with the styling, comfort, and features of the Buick brand. Of the three large GM crossovers that share the same basic underpinnings, the Enclave is by far the most appealing to our eyes, from the chrome waterfall grille to its slight Coke-bottle shoulder line over the rear wheels. By comparison, its Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia siblings come off as far blockier and more slab-sided.
After a mild styling update a few years ago, the Buick Enclave is very little changed for the 2015 model year. There are a few new colors inside and out, and a heated steering wheel can now be ordered in certain high-end trim levels.
But Buick's biggest SUV offering is still powered by the same 288-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6, delivering power to the front wheels or all four corners through a six-speed automatic. Updated transmission control software last year removed some of the six-speed's indecisiveness; there's now less hunting through upper gears--and the powertrain never really struggles despite the Enclave's hefty curb weight. Gas mileage of 24 mpg highway max is on par with other big crossovers.
With retuned shocks and new dampers fitted last year, the Enclave rides better than ever. It's smooth and reasonably responsive for a vehicle so long and tall. It's still a crossover that "drives big," but it's never been one that's felt anything but predictable.
But back to that practicality-of-a-minivan idea: The Enclave can seat up to eight passengers, and it provides lots of standard features along with acceptable gas mileage and reassuring handling. The seating configuration and flexibility inside the Enclave remains the same, and that's just fine. It's a strength of this big minivan replacement. The front seats add ventilation as an option, and with seating up to eight, the Enclave's an excellent family wagon, though the third-row seat isn't a place we'd choose to sit for hours on end. There's over 23 cubic feet of space behind the third row, and if you fold the second and third rows there's over 115 cubic feet of cargo space. It all folds down neatly and flat and is just begging for outings to big-box stores.
There's also a safety industry-first in the Enclave. Recently, it added a new front-center airbag, which helps protect front occupants in a side impact. Blind-spot monitors and a rear cross traffic alert system are available, as are lane-departure and forward-collision warning systems.
As for features, IntelliLink is the big news for some shoppers, as it brings the Enclave's interior up to the leading edge in connectivity, with a relatively easy interface, well-integrated Bluetooth hands-free calling and audio streaming functionality, and apps for Pandora and Stitcher audio. A rearview camera system, a USB port, HD Radio, satellite radio, and voice recognition are also part of the standard equipment this year, while navigation is optional, as is a ten-speaker Bose sound upgrade.
- Third-row seat more roomy than some
- Second-row seats are adult-tested
- Vast, lovely interior
- Smooth looks
- Smartphones? Bring 'em
Next: Interior / Exterior »
- Big, and handles that way
- Pricey for a "premium" ute
- Fuel economy