Buick Enclave

The 2012 Buick Enclave shares its underlying architecture with the Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia. It comes powered by a 3.6L V6, which makes 288 horsepower and has the responsiveness of a small V8, thanks to variable valve timing. The Enclave's good for an EPA-estimated 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway on regular gas. The only available transmission is a 6-speed automatic. Buyers have a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive with either the base, Convenience, Leather and Premium trim.

Although carrying passengers is the Enclave's forte, it can tow up to 4,500 pounds when properly equipped, and the transmission has automatic grade braking to maintain control. The Enclave's intelligent all-wheel drive system is especially well-suited for driving in deep snow and on steep, icy driveways, as it works with the stability control system to send more power smoothly to the rear wheels when needed.

The Enclave is one of the new generation of more car-like crossover SUVs, but it combines some of the best attributes of cars and trucks, with a 4-wheel independent suspension combining MacPherson struts in front, an H-arm setup in back along with fluid-filled bushings to help isolate road harshness.

With a standard third-row seat and room for up to eight, the interior makes the most of the Enclave's available space, and passengers will likely be comfortable no matter where they sit. Second-row captain's chairs are standard across the trims, but a second-row split-folding bench is available and fits three across. Even the rearmost row, with a Smart Slide feature allowing easier entry/exit, has ample space for adults.

The Enclave is among the best-performing vehicles in its class in crash tests from the federal government and the insurance-funded IIHS, and comes with StabiliTrak stability control with rollover mitigation technology, plus anti-lock brakes and a total of six airbags standard.

The entry-level base trim comes with many typical luxury-brand features, such as HID xenon projector headlamps, fog lamps, heated mirrors, tri-zone automatic climate control and steering wheel audio controls, with a 6-speaker sound system and XM Satellite Radio compatibility. Convenience and Leather models upgrade to heated power seats, memory seat settings and showier 19-inch machined aluminum wheels, while Premium adds an auxiliary power outlet, rear audio controls, a premium sound system, cooled front seats and power folding mirrors.

Even considering the extensive standard equipment, there's a very long list of options to choose from. They include a sunroof, 20-inch chromed wheels, trailer-towing package, a cargo net and chrome package. There are also several entertainment packages that bring 10-speaker Bose sound as well as a navigation system, backup camera and rear DVD entertainment system. Each of those packages includes an AC household-type outlet.

Editors' Review

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There's a plethora of midsize, three-row crossovers on the market today. Options run the full gamut, from boring to stylish, affordable to luxurious, comfy to sporty. For those looking for a crossover that's safe, inoffensive and above all else, comfortable, Buick has you covered with the 2021 Enclave.

Clean looks

On the outside, the Enclave's styling is mildly attractive. By no means is it a showstopper, but it's not manila-folder bland, either. Subtle character lines in the hood and on the sides give it some flavor, along with front quarter portholes and a fair amount of chrome details. On my range-topping Avenir test car, unique grilles with mesh inserts and 20-inch nickel-finish wheels liven things up a smidge more.

Inside, you're greeted by simply laid out controls, panels built from quality materials and a general design that's not half-bad to look at. It's here where the Avenir extras make the biggest impact, with a nice contrasting chestnut-and-black color scheme. Real wood steering wheel trim and embroidered logos in the head rests and floor mats complete the Avenir treatment, and a dual-pane moonroof provides a light and airy environment.

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The Good ~ Handsome styling ~ Roomy, comfortable cabin ~ Smooth ride

The Bad ~ Ho-hum drive character ~ Some driver-assist tech optional ~ Avenir trim isn't a huge step up in luxury.

The Bottom Line The Buick Enclave is a good three-row crossover that's laser-focused on comfort.

Editors' Rating
  • Performance 7
  • Features 7.5
  • Design 7
  • Media 8

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