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- Highs Elegant styling, comfortable ride, plenty of room for people and cargo.
- Lows Handling not equal to some rivals, interior lacks luxury-class quality, unsupportive seat bottoms.
- Verdict The 2018 Buick Enclave offers handsome styling, class-leading cargo space, and a comfortable ride, but its interior lags behind many luxury-class rivals.
A crossover in more ways than one, the Buick Enclave is part car, part truck, part luxury, part mainstream—and part Chevrolet. Essentially a Chevy Traverse in a snazzier package, it’s the more elegantly styled of the two large-sized three-row offerings. The Enclave is a cargo-hauling champ, and both its powertrain and its on-road demeanor are smooth and agreeable. Infotainment and active-safety offerings are broad, although the latter requires upgrading to costly upper trims. Buick’s overly ambitious pricing pits the Enclave not against mainstream crossovers but rather luxury-class leaders, and in that arena its imperfections are magnified.
What's New for 2018?
After a long 10-year run, Buick’s largest crossover finally receives a much needed redesign. Everything is changed for the better, and the new Enclave still offers cavernous space for people and cargo, but its luxury price pushes it out of the mainstream and into the luxury big leagues.
- Base: $40,990
- Essence: $45,295
- Premium: $49,095
- Avenir: $54,495
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Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Under the hood of every 2018 Enclave is a 3.6-liter V-6 making 310 hp, driving either the front or all four wheels via a smooth-shifting nine-speed automatic transmission. It’s not the quickest crossover, but the Enclave is fast enough that there’s never any cause for anxiety when driving around town or merging onto the highway. Front-wheel drive is standard and should suit most buyers just fine, but for those who require all-wheel drive, the Enclave has two different setups available. The midrange Essence trim can be had with a simple on-demand all-wheel-drive system that shuttles engine torque back and forth between the front and rear axles. Upscale Premium and range-topping Avenir trims get a more advanced setup that can route power from the front wheels to the rear and also distribute power to either side of the rear axle to optimize traction. A well-damped suspension helps the Enclave hide its mass, but it never feels as athletic as, say, the Audi Q7. Instead, it trades on comfort with a smooth, luxurious ride, gliding over pockmarked asphalt and barely registering harsher impacts. The steering provides an appropriate amount of feedback for a crossover, responds relatively crisply, and is nicely weighted.
EPA fuel economy testing and reporting procedures have changed over time. For the latest and most accurate fuel economy numbers on current and older vehicles, we use the U.S. Department of Energy's fueleconomy.gov website. Under the heading "Find & Compare Cars" click on the "Compare Side-by-Side" tool to find the EPA ratings for the make, model, and year you're interested in.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Enclave’s cabin is as roomy inside as you’d expect from a vehicle this size, and Buick has integrated many comfort and convenience features. Unfortunately, the interior’s fit and finish fails to match that of its luxury-class rivals. With seating for seven, the Enclave is a legitimate minivan alternative, and it boasts class-leading passenger space in its second and third rows. This should come as no surprise, since GM’s other big-bodied crossover—the spacious Chevrolet Traverse—rides on the same platform. If cargo space is your main concern, the Enclave is the best choice in this segment, as it offers the most cubic feet of storage in each of its configurations. The Enclave's swooping dash features faux-leather textures and clearly labeled controls. The wood trim looks and feels chintzy, the sunshades for the optional panoramic roof aren’t power operated, and only the passenger-side second-row seat slides forward to allow third-row passengers in and out. Some occupants may find the front seat bottoms too narrow and lacking proper support. Second-row passengers get adjustable captain’s chairs, but they, too, aren’t as supportive as we’d like. A power-folding third-row bench seat offers space for three additional riders; adults will even find it acceptable for shorter jaunts. There are two USB ports in each of the three rows, making it easy for everyone to juice their mobile phones and other devices.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Nestled into the dash between two asymmetrical air vents is the Enclave’s standard 8.0-inch IntelliLink touchscreen infotainment system. The interface is user-friendly and rendered in a lovely arrangement with crisp graphics and an abundance of features. Not only is the system robust and easy to use, it’s quick to respond to commands, too. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both standard, and users can connect their devices to the internet via an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot powered by a 4G LTE data connection. Navigation with real-time traffic and weather updates is optional, as is a wireless charging pad for smartphones. All three rows of seats have two USB ports for charging devices. Buick’s smartphone app, standard with all new Enclaves, allows remote access as well as vehicle diagnostics and geolocation services; it comes free for the first 10 years of original ownership and works alongside the General Motors OnStar telematics service.
Safety Features and Crash Test Ratings
Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA)
Some older vehicles are still eligible for coverage under a manufacturer's Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program. For more information visit our guide to every manufacturer's CPO program.