2018 Enclave New Car Test Drive
Buick Enclave has been fully redesigned for the 2018 model year. In addition to a sizable list of improvements, Buick has introduced a new top-of-the-line version, named Avenir.
Enclave was first launched as a 2008 model, then facelifted for 2013. The all-new 2018 Enclave begins the second generation of Buick's largest premium crossover. Among the more expressively designed crossover SUVs, the Buick Enclave is related to the Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia.
Buick says the new Enclave is sleeker and more aerodynamic than its predecessor. The wheelbase has grown, the roofline is lower, and the windshield is more angled. Vehicle weight has dropped a little, and use of LED lighting has increased. Buick promises a 10-percent increase in cabin space, including concealed under-floor storage.
In addition to promising a smooth ride, the Enclave's allure mixes lovely body lines with greatly improved handling. A considerable helping of technology also enters the picture.
The new Avenir has some unique styling cues, as well as premium-grade materials. A premium suspension with continuously variable, real-time damping is available for the Avenir.
Four trim levels are offered, topped by the new Avenir. Each employs the same powertrain: a robust version of GM's latest 3.6-liter V6, producing 310 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. A quick-shifting 9-speed automatic is the sole transmission. Enclaves are available with standard front-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive. Two all-wheel-drive systems are available: standard and twin-clutch.
Engine output has grown by 22 horsepower, compared to the 2017 model, though torque has declined slightly. Active noise cancellation promises to reduce engine sound to a subtle purr.
A substantial amount of accident-avoidance technology is available. Typically, those safety items are offered in Driver Confidence or Technology packages, for upper trim levels only. Each Enclave has a rearview camera, parking sensors, and a rear-seat reminder. Automatic emergency braking is offered only on higher-cost models.
Safety options include adaptive cruise control and active lane control with lane-departure warning. An available rear camera mirror can expand the field of vision to 300 percent, according to Buick. An optional surround-view camera provides a 360-degree view.
Enclave ($39,995) comes standard with front-wheel drive, LED headlights, a power hands-free tailgate, keyless ignition, pushbutton start, heated power front seats, cloth upholstery, three-zone automatic climate control, and 18-inch wheels. Eight-inch touchscreen infotainment includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. (Prices do not include $975 destination charge.)
Essence ($44,215) adds perforated leather seat upholstery, lane-change alert, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. All-wheel drive ($2,000) is additional.
Premium ($48,015) includes 10-speaker Bose audio, ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, front/rear parking sensors, power third-row seats, and forward collision alert with automatic emergency braking. Upgraded twin-clutch all-wheel drive ($2,300) is available.
Avenir ($53,415) has distinct styling touches as well as navigation, wireless charging, a wood-accented steering wheel, a dual moonroof, and 20-inch wheels. Upgraded twin-clutch all-wheel drive ($2,300) is an option.