With a richly styled cabin and exquisite exterior, the 2018 Buick Enclave is a quiet and capable family hauler. So, pack up the kids and the beach toys in this three-row SUV and hit the road this summer. This big, comfortable vehicle is just what families need when vacation time comes.
The Enclave will pamper its occupants, but if you really want to be spoiled, opt for the Avenir version, which is the most luxurious and technologically-advanced Enclave to date. I had to “settle” for the Premium trim with AWD during my week with the Enclave. Other trims include the base Enclave and the next step up, Essence.
This Buick is powered by 3.6-liter V6 engine that delivers 310 horsepower and 266 lb.-ft. of torque. The engine is mated to a quick-shifting 9-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, but AWD is available.
Fuel economy with front drive is 18 miles per gallon in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. Subtract one mpg if you choose AWD.
Our Premium trim test Enclave had optional 20-inch aluminum wheels, a dual moonroof, a navigation package and a heavy-duty cooling system.
The Enclave’s exterior is completely redesigned for 2018. The front end has a sleeker look and the body is more athletically proportioned.
Buick says the new Enclave has a total of 17 radar, camera and ultrasonic sensors to help the driver. One of those camera systems operates in the rearview mirror, allowing it to be used normally or as a camera when the driver’s view is blocked because the cabin is piled high with luggage or beach toys. Using the camera in the rearview provides a much wider field of vision as well.
The Enclave also adopts a surround-view camera that provides an overhead 360-degree view of the vehicle. It may seem like magic, but it works with four cameras: one in front, one in each side mirror and one in the back.
The Enclave’s big draw is its roomy and comfortable cabin. Front seat headroom is 41 inches, in Row 2 headroom is 39.9 inches, and even back in Row 3 it’s 37.6 inches, which was good enough for my 6-foot-1 frame.
Legroom in Row 2 is 38.9 inches, but in Row 3 it’s just 33.5 inches. The second-row seats can slide forward, however, giving Row 3 occupants more room. The power dual moonroof slides back past Row 2, meaning occupants in back get more daylight. The third-row seats, by the way, can be folded down via a power switch in the cargo area.
Speaking of cargo, look for 23.6 cubic feet of space behind the third row. Fold that third row down and you’ll have 58 cubic feet of cargo space. Fold down everything behind the front row and you can haul 97.6 cubic feet worth of stuff in the Enclave. There’s also a nice wet storage area below the cargo deck in back.
The Enclave cabin is quiet and relaxing, even at Interstate speeds. There are lots of soft touch materials in all the right places, and thankfully, not as much chrome. Road noise is filtered out through Buick’s QuietTuning system, and a cabin ionizer helps clean cabin air. Keyless entry and push button start are standard, and the Buick shield puddle lights help light the way up to the car in the dark. Also standard are tri-zone automatic air and a universal home remote.
There are six – count ‘em six – USB ports so everyone can power up. Row 2 has its own AC control as well as heated seats.
When it comes to safety, the Enclave has yet to be tested by the government and the insurance industry. But the vehicle has a rearview camera, rear park assist and seven airbags as standard equipment. A range of optional safety technologies help the driver avoid crashes. Available safety technologies include forward collision alert, rear cross traffic alert, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, a following distance indicator, front park assist and a safety alert seat that vibrates to alert the driver to various monitored situations.
2018 Buick Enclave Premium AWD
$50,315 ($57,055 with options & freight)
EPA fuel economy estimates:
17 mpg city/25 mpg highway/20 mpg combined
Estimated highway range: