- Classy exterior
- Spacious second row captain's chairs
- Quality materials
- Smooth ride
- Nosedive in braking
- Can add up in options
- Lagging behind in fuel economy
The 2017 Buick Enclave is a good-looking SUV for families and one of the better-aging GM cars in recent memory.
The Buick Enclave has lived longer than many thought it would. Crossover SUVs are hot properties these days, and aging models typically don't perform as well in the showroom as newer models.
But the Enclave has been killing it, remaining one of Buick's best sellers almost a decade down the road. It's our favorite of GM's big front-drive-based utility vehicles, which also includes its siblings, the Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia.
Its appeal is all prime rib dinner—it's comfortable and classy, and doesn't have a dress code, or a timestamp. We hope that continues next year, when the Enclave gets a new body it'll share underneath with the latest Cadillac XT5 and GMC Acadia.
For now, the Enclave scores a 7.2 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
2017 Buick Enclave styling and performance
The Enclave was the first of a series of new designs from Buick that was introduced as a 2008 model. From its chrome waterfall grille and tasteful shoulder lines, to a well-appointed interior and smartly configured seating arrangement, the Enclave has aged well into its ninth model year. (Even if its longevity was extended due to a bankruptcy.)
Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is available on trim levels above its base.
For 2017, the Enclave adds a Sport Touring package—similar to other Buick models—that heaps on new colors and a black grille.
Mechanically, the 2017 Buick Enclave is the same right down to the 3.6-liter V-6 up front. That engine, which produces 288 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque, is a calm customer when mated exclusively to a 6-speed automatic.
The Enclave rides smoothly, and the handling is reasonably responsive. On narrow roads it feels like a big vehicle, but in curves it does not lean excessively. It is a heavy vehicle and its mass is felt in the way it handles, takes off and stops. The Enclave has a functional third row for adults, though the third row is not a place we'd choose to sit for hours on end.
2017 Buick Enclave comfort, safety, and features
Inside, the Enclave is awash in leather (when equipped) and space. Its 23 cubic feet of cargo space when the seats are up—115 cubic feet when the seats are folded—is downright useful, although we'd hesitate to nick those soft hides.
We don't expect the Enclave to change its skeleton, which means its good safety ratings for 2016 should carry over. The feds gave the Enclave a 5-star overall rating, and the IIHS has given the SUV "Good" ratings in all of its tests, except the small-overlap crash test, where it hasn't been rated. Additional safety equipment includes blind-spot monitors, rear cross-traffic alerts, and forward-collision warnings, although the Enclave lacks automatic emergency braking that's now becoming standard in the segment.
Standard features on the 2017 Buick Enclave include 19-inch wheels; Buick's IntelliLink with a 6.5-inch touchscreen and voice recognition; AM/FM/satellite radio with MP3 and aux-in; three USB ports for charging and playback; power, heated rearview mirrors; second-row captain's chairs with a 60/40-split folding third row; automatic xenon headlamps; eight-way power adjustable driver's seat; universal home remote; power liftgate; six months of OnStar with three months or 3 GB of wi-fi connectivity (additional data sold separately); rear parking assistance; remote start with keyless ignition; tire-pressure monitors; and a rearview camera.
The Enclave's gas mileage of 24 mpg highway with front-wheel drive is on par with many other big crossovers, though an MDX or Highlander can outpoint it on the EPA scale. The 2017 Enclave with all-wheel drive is rated at 16 mpg city, 22 highway, 18 combined.