Have Buick Got the 2018 Enclave Right?

The Buick Enclave shares the same GM Lambda platform as the Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia, it’s a cost-effective method for GM to get a number of vehicles out there, although they are of course competing against each other.

The official Buick website says that the 2018 Buck Enclave is “smart, stylish and connected, the all-new Enclave is more for every moment”. No, we aren’t sure what that means either.

Overall, the Enclave is well-designed and quite stylish, the 2018 Model Year looks slightly more curvier, and it is very slightly longer than the predecessor, but not that it’s noticeable by eye.

Not much has changed for 2018, mainly just minor styling details, enough for Buick to class it as a facelift but certainly not enough to be considered as the next-generation model.

Why haven’t Buick updated the 2017 Enclave engine?

Buick have come under heavy criticism for not swapping out the 3.6 liter V6 engine for something smaller and turbocharged, but they have updated the V6 slightly – a small increase in power means that the V6 makes 302 horsepower and 260 pounds of torque, and they have even manged to eek out a little more gas mileage, but it’s still pretty heavy on fuel – it just isn’t an efficient motor.

The front-wheel drive Enclave should get 17 mpg in the city and 25 mph on the highway, but the all-wheel drive version will lose around 2 mpg on those figures.

300+ horsepower in a vehicle like this is about right, yes it would be nice to have a little more get up and go, but you wouldn’t want to lose any – so perhaps Buick have done the right thing by keeping the stronger V6 motor – a turbo is OK, but you really need to drive them hard to make progress.

The 2018 Enclave will be front-wheel drive as standard, but will have an all-wheel drive option. All drivetrains will use the updated 9-speed automatic transmission.

Winged headlights & new grille – the "new" Buick Enclave for 2018

As for the styling, all models including the Avenir will have the ‘winged’ headlights, the standard model has an updated front grille, and the Avenir will have a grille inspired by the Avista concept vehicle.

18-inch wheels come as standard, but again, the Avenir gets an upgrade to 20-inch, which on a vehicle of this size, is a much needed look – we think that all the models should get 20-inch wheels.

There’s a few new paint colors for 2018, but not much else. Having said that, the Enclave is pretty well-equipped, even the base model will get a rear-view camera and parking sensors fitted as standard. Should you want more, there’s plenty of choices and options.

Aside from the Avenir, we don’t have any details confirmed as to what will be offered across the range, or what will be extras, even on the top-line model. But we do know that equipment will include: moonroof, rear power liftgate, ambient lighting, 5-link rear suspension (although the Avenir will have adaptive dampers), 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay, intelligent all-wheel drive, surround vision camera system, rear cross-traffic alerts, forward collision alerts with automatic low-speed braking, front pedestrian detection and braking and QuietTuning technology – a system to improve interior noise, like active noise-cancelling headphones.

Splash out for the Avenir, and you’ll also get wireless charging, re-configurable 8-inch drivers display, premium trim and upholstery (including real wood accents and premium grade leather). Other extras include embroidered front seats, Avenir badging and few other minor trim bits.

Available for Fall 2017

Buick haven’t released any further details regarding price or availability, aside from saying it will be arriving in the Fall of 2017, we would guess that this means a September release date, but we’d also guess that Buick will be showing off the Enclave at one of the larger auto shows around the middle of the year – they want to drum up business sooner rather than later!

If you’re in the market for an Enclave, there will be plenty of special offers while dealers try to shift the current inventory, if it was our money, we’d be tempted to jump in now rather than waiting for the 2018 Model Year – there just isn’t that much difference. Having said that, it’s doubtful that Buick will be raising the prices too much from the current model.

Buick have given no indication of pricing, but the current model sits around $40,000 for the entry-level model, going up to around $53,000 for the fully-loaded version.

The Avenir is something new for the line-up, and Buick say that it’s special, so whether that means it will sit above the current flagship or will become the flagship, we don’t know.

Overall, we’d say that the Enclave is a good-looking full-size luxury SUV, it’s capable of seating six adults in comfort and the third-row seating isn’t a compromise – it’s been designed that way so benefits from all the usual features you’d get in the second-row, including the technology, of which there is plenty.

If you’re in the market for a full-sized crossover SUV, there is plenty of competition for your hard-earned dollars, your best bet is to try a few out; whatever your requirements, you will absolutely find one that fits your needs, no matter what those needs are. Even the driving position changes throughout the brands – if one doesn’t quite feel right, move on to the next!

2017-06-1 by Luke Widmeyer