Designers penned a beautiful body for the 2018 Buick Enclave, and gave it a subtly rich cabin that marries technology with taste. We give it a 9 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
From nose to tail, the new Enclave loses the bottom-heavy look of the first-generation SUV. The nose is lower, sleeker, and the Buick logo splits the grille with wide, thin wings. The waterfall-style grille has vertical slats on most versions, but the Avenir trim level turns the slats into mesh. The LED headlights wear LED running lights like cufflinks.
The side view telegraphs a single expressive line better than any SUV we can name. A band of metallic trim arcs from the tail to the side mirrors, then sweeps up below the side windows only to stop short of connection to the roof. The slim separation of black trim gives it a cursive-letter signature that reads like a styling sketch. The tail of the Enclave wears its band of metallic trim like a tie bar. Some lovely SUVs have been unveiled in the past couple of years—CX-9, F-Pace. The Enclave is lovelier.
Avenir models get their own grille, nicely styled 20-inch wheels, and good-looking leather on the cabin’s dash, console, and door panels. It’s a handsome way to charge more for the basic shape, but we’re not convinced the Enclave needs the help.
Even in base trim, the Enclave’s interior is masterful and elegant. Spare lines sweep across the dash and envelop digital gauges, touchscreens, and a modicum of buttons and switches. Matte metallic frames on the side air vents overlap the doors, and stitch the interior together invisibly.
Base models come only in a handful of gray or black tones, but other Enclaves wear almost edible color palettes. The Exner-like shapes dress up as Avenirs with a black-gloss trim that transitions to woodgrain; with real open-pore wood, the Avenir cabin would be exceptional.