2011 Enclave New Car Test Drive
The Buick Enclave is a luxury crossover sport utility vehicle that seats seven or eight, offers big cargo space, and gets good fuel economy and performance from a modern V6 engine. As a large midsize crossover, it offers the space of a truck-based SUV yet it is built using car-like unibody construction.
Enclave features a modern cabin, with stylish illumination, crisp graphics, genuine wood trim and nice leather. The seats are comfortable, and it can be ordered with a second-row bench seat or luxurious captain's chairs, depending on whether seven- or eight-passenger capacity is needed. There's lots of convenient cubby storage and the Enclave offers 115 cubic feet of cargo space with all the seats folded down.
Equipped with GM's smooth 3.6-liter V6, Enclave offers strong acceleration and smooth highway cruising. It gets an EPA-rated 16 city and 22 highway miles per gallon with all-wheel drive, or 17/24 mpg with front-wheel drive.
With the optional trailering package, it can tow up to 4,500 pounds, though we'd prefer the truck-based GMC Yukon for serious towing. Enclave rates 5 stars in frontal and side crash for both front and rear occupants, and 4 in rollover, by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Luxurious, practical and safe, it's an excellent vehicle.
For 2011, there are few changes. Standard on the upscale CXL-2 model are 19-inch, 9-spoke chromed aluminum wheels, while three new metallic colors have been added.
Enclave shares its basic platform with the GMC Acadia and Chevy Traverse, but they are not the same and its styling is considerably different from its siblings.
The 2011 Buick Enclave is offered in CX and CXL trim levels, each with front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD). Both come with the 3.6-liter 24-valve V6 with direct injection and variable valve timing, making 288 horsepower.
Enclave CX ($35,615) and CX AWD ($37,615) come standard with cloth upholstery, three-zone automatic climate control with rear controls, tilt/telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, cruise control, six-way power driver's seat with lumbar adjustment, two-way power front passenger's seat, second-row captain's chairs, split-folding third-row seat, OnStar assistance, power windows, power locks, power heated mirrors with turn signals, remote keyless entry, AM/FM/CD stereo with XM satellite radio and an auxiliary input jack, Bluetooth cell phone connectivity, auto-dimming rearview mirror, compass, outside temperature indicator, power liftgate, automatic bi-xenon headlights, fog lights, roof rails and P255/65R18 tires on alloy wheels.
Enclave CXL ($38,730) upgrades with leather upholstery, rear-view camera, eight-way power driver's seat and four-way power front passenger's seat, memory for driver's seat, mirrors and steering wheel, upgraded power seats and heated front seats. Enclave CXL is also available with AWD ($40,730).
Options include a trailer towing package ($455), second-row center console ($300), power sunroof with second row skylight ($1,400), audio system with touchscreen navigation and DVD rear seat entertainment system ($3,185), wheel upgrades and paint upgrades.
Safety features that come standard include dual front airbags, front side airbags, side-curtain side airbags with rollover deployment, OnStar emergency communications (with turn-by-turn navigation), tire-pressure monitor, anti-lock brakes and StabiliTrak electronic stability control with traction control and rollover mitigation. All-wheel drive enhances safety in slippery conditions.