My Car Quest

October 21, 2018

Behind The Veil Of Luxury: A Drive In A 2018 Buick Enclave

by Wallace Wyss –

I have to admit that, after years of waiting for a chance to test drive a Buick Enclave, I was pleasantly surprised. I remember when I was a kid, that Buicks were the next highest ranking GM car behind Cadillac.

And I think with all their innovation of late (coming out with a wagon style and a convertible) they are being innovative again. I wouldn’t say they are a full luxury brand but damn close.

2018 Buick Enclave Avenir

The original Enclave made its debut 10 years ago. I think it fulfills its purpose as an SUV by being roomy, silent and serves notice that Buick could be very stylish even with a “two box” design.

Buick has done a lot to come up with new product in the last ten years so has upgraded the Enclave. Right ahead of them is Cadillac, and while I think the Cadillac is more distinctive with its vertical LED running lights, the Buick still has some sensuous curves.

Prices start at $39,995 USD for the base model that has front-wheel-drive only. Go up to all wheel drive and the price goes up by about $7000. This AWD is not for off roading, mind you, just better traction on the street.

The engine is the same no matter what model you buy—a 310 hp 3.6L V6. The top of the line All-wheel-drive Enclaves start at $46,215. Avenir models start at $53,415 for front-drive and $55,715 for AWD.

2018 Buick Enclave Avenir

What has made SUVs more practical than a decade ago is the automatics, this one boasts to a new nine-speed automatic so you can have good acceleration but then relax the drive on the super highway when it’s in the overdrive ratios.

On mileage, in the city don’t hope for better than 17 mpg in the city, but out on the highway it’s 25 and 20 in combined driving in EPA tests.

Our test car came jam-packed with options–adaptive cruise control, automatic front braking, lane keeping assist, Bose audio, Bluetooth compatibility, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, and a power sunroof over the front seat while there was a fixed sunroof over the rear seats. The tailgate was powered so you didn’t have to lift it yourself.

The Enclave is in the same market as the best from Japan– luxury SUVs like the Acura MDX and Infiniti QX60. Customers are moving up from Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan and Toyota. The higher priced Enclave Avenir competes against luxury SUVs like the Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90.

2018 Buick Enclave Avenir

This one is big enough to offer a third row seat that can accommodate adults. The middle row’s two captain’s chairs are comfortable and can be folded flat to create a large cargo bed. The Avenir’s third row can be laid flat with a power switch.

Buick had a firm vision of the customer’s collective tastes and the goal of the interior design was to use soft materials and stitching that reminds you of European luxury cars.

The exterior styling has these square edged fenders that give it strong shape. New for the ’18 model is swept back LED lights in the nose. Character lines give the car more of a chiseled look.

2018 Buick Enclave

I think to keep the kids entertained, you need a factory-installed rear-seat entertainment system. Buick leaves it to the dealers to source that which is good if you update these kind of systems to keep current on electronic innovation.

In sum, I could live with this Enclave. It is styling enough so I won’t miss having a sedan. It is roomy enough that I won’t need a pickup truck. I have to balance the price, though, with what comes from Japan to see if it’s worth the extra $10,000 that I see in the price tag. There is actually a smaller Buick SUV I would like to try to see how much “Buick” feel it has in it…

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

Wallace Wyss

 
 
 
 
 
THE CRITIC: Wallace Wyss has tested more than 100 cars for magazines like Motor Trend. At present, he is knee deep in portraying classic cars on canvas for Monterey. For a list of his paintings write Photojournalistpro2@gmail.com.

 
 

 

 

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Summary
Behind The Veil Of Luxury: A Drive In A 2018 Buick Enclave
Article Name
Behind The Veil Of Luxury: A Drive In A 2018 Buick Enclave
Description
Buick had a firm vision of the customer’s collective tastes and the goal of the interior design was to use soft materials and stitching that reminds you of European luxury cars.
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Comments

  1. Mike Clarke says:

    The Mazda CX5 has all the same features plus more, a heads up display. Loaded it sells for 34K. The CX 5 gets 34 MPG on the HWY and 24 in city. Next year they will introduce the new Skyactive X which allows the gas engine to perform at peak performance. Move over Lexus , Mercedes , BMW Mazda is the new rising star.

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