2018 Buick Enclave Review


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2018 Buick Enclave Overview

Buick’s Enclave full-size luxury crossover has been around for a decade, and for 2018, it finally gets a significant redesign alongside its GMC and Chevrolet crossover cousins. The most noticeable changes are the sleek and improved exterior styling, especially up front, and a new Avenir trim that comes with unique touches like a mesh grille, special badges, 20-inch alloy wheels, and forward exterior lighting. Based on the same platform as the Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, and Cadillac XT5, the 2018 Enclave faces stiff competition in the premium crossover segment from the likes of the Volvo XC90, Acura MDX, Infiniti QX60, and Audi Q7, among others. In addition to the new high-end Avenir trim, the Enclave is available in base, Essence, and Premium trims.

All Enclave trims use a 3.6-liter V6 engine rated at 302 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque that’s similar to the one used in the first-generation model but more powerful. It allows for a significant bump in tow rating, up to 5,000 pounds total, and is paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission. Available in either front-wheel-drive (FWD) or twin-clutch all-wheel-drive (AWD) configuration, the Enclave can hit 60 mph in 7.2 seconds with FWD or 7.5 seconds with AWD. Estimated fuel-economy figures stand at 17 mpg city, 20 highway, and 25 combined with FWD and 17, 24, and 24 with AWD.

The 4,300-pound Enclave rides on standard 18-inch wheels, and suspension is by MacPherson struts up front and a 5-link independent system in the rear. The Avenir trim gets upgraded 20-inch aluminum wheels as well as adaptive dampers.

Buick claims the new Enclave makes even more efficient use of sound-deadening material than the first-generation model, and it comes with an active noise-cancellation system for an even quieter ride. Entry-level Enclave trims are equipped with Evonik Acrylite bi-functional LED projector headlights, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, push-button start, an 8-inch infotainment screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and tri-zone climate control. Higher trims receive IntelliBeam headlights, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, and even an air ionizer system that uses negatively charged particles to attract and filter out air contaminants.

Stepping up to the all-new Avenir trim predictably gives the cabin a more premium feel. It comes with a special Chestnut and Ebony interior with contrast stitching, piping on the seats, and embroidery on the headrests. Other features include additional leather trim on the dash, door panels, and console; a wood-trimmed steering wheel; navigation; wireless device charging; power-folding third-row seats; a 360-degree camera; and a dual moonroof.

The Enclave provides ample comfort for road trips, and it also offers commendable practicality. It’s slightly longer than the first-generation model, and Buick claims the cargo volume surpasses that of rivals like the Audi Q7, Acura MDX, and Infiniti QX60. With the seats up, the trunk has 23.6 cubic feet of space to work with, and a cubby beneath the cargo floor offers another 3.1 cubic feet. Folding the third row gives you 58 cubic feet, and with all rows folded the total cargo space stands at 97.6 cubic feet.

The 2018 Enclave is a brand-new design and therefore hasn’t been put through rigorous crash testing just yet. The first-generation model earned mostly Good scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and the new model should be an improvement. The Enclave offers more high-tech safety equipment than ever before, including a standard reversing camera with parking sensors and optional features such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist with lane-departure warning, a surround-view camera, and forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking. The 2018 Buick Enclave should arrive in the fall with prices starting at $39,995 for the base trim, although loading up on options can take you well past $50,000.


Andrew Newton first got into cars through vintage racing a Formula Vee. After receiving history degrees, he followed his passion for cars and became a contributor for sites like Sports Car Digest, BoldRide.com and JamesEdition.com in addition to serving as Education Manager at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA. Andrew currently covers the collector car market full time as Auction Editor for Hagerty Classic Car Insurance.

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