2018 Buick Enclave Premium AWD

The Buick Enclave gets redesigned for 2018 and is a strong contender among midsize SUVs. It offers an upscale cabin, three comfortable rows of seating, lots of cargo space, smooth handling and decent fuel economy. Surprisingly, it’s one of the less popular midsize SUVs, which means you may be able to get a good deal.


The seven-passenger Enclave comes in base, Essence, Premium and Avenir trims. Starting prices range from $39,995 to $55,715. These prices are higher than some competitors, but the Enclave offers many bells and whistles and an upscale interior similar to what you’d find on some luxury models. Front-wheel-drive is standard; all-wheel-drive is available on all but the base model.


All trims are powered by the same 3.6-liter V6 that makes 310 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque, paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. Acceleration is quick and smooth with the nine-speed quickly finding the right gear. The Enclave is downright spirited, especially for a crossover weighing 4,400 pounds. Merging and passing on the freeway is a breeze. The Enclave is also surprisingly balanced when cornering with little body lean. The ride is very smooth, comfortable and quiet. Bumpy roads and potholes are barely noticeable. We had a little snow during my week with the Enclave and it was surefooted on the hills in my neighborhood.


EPA mileage estimates for my tester are 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway with a combined rating of 20 mpg. This is very good for the segment. I got 20 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.


The roomy interior is upscale with many amenities. Controls are logically laid out. Seats are comfortable and supportive. The second row has captain’s chairs providing plenty of room for passengers in the second row. And unlike many competitors, the third row of seating is actually comfortable for adults. Getting back there is easy, too, thanks to the sliding captain’s chairs and a large gap between the two seats in the second row.


All Enclave models come standard with a user-friendly infotainment system with an eight-inch touchscreen. It responds quickly to touch and voice commands. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard as well as the OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot so the kids can stream movies to their hearts’ content. Other standard features include remote start, rearview camera, rear parking sensors, power-adjustable front seats, heated front seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, six-speaker audio system and Bluetooth.


My tester has the 10-speaker Bose audio system, which sounds great. This trim also gets many driver assistance technologies including forward collision warning, low speed automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, active lane keep assist, lane departure warning and front parking sensors. There’s also the Safely Alert seat, which makes the driver’s seat vibrate to alert you if the system detects the vehicle about to run into something.


The Enclave beats most competitors when it comes to cargo space. There are 23.6 cubic feet behind the third row, 58 cubes with the third row folded and a whopping 97.6 cubes with both rows of seating folded down. A hands-free power liftgate that you can activate with a wave of your foot under the rear bumper is standard on all models, making it a breeze to load the Enclave after a trip to Costco or the grocery store. The Buick tri-shield logo illuminates the ground below the spot where you need to move your foot. There’s also a large storage bin in the center console plus many cubbies and pockets in which to stash smaller things.


The good:

Lively handling

Smooth, quiet ride

Good fuel economy for the class

Lots of room for passengers and cargo

Even third row is roomy enough for adults

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard

Standard 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot provides internet access to multiple devices

Good value for the money


The not-so-good:

Prices for upper trims are higher than most competitors


Pricing info:

My tester starts at $50,315. Dual moonroof adds $1,400. 20-inch Aluminum wheels are $1,400. Rear camera mirror, inside rearview with full camera, Surround vision, bird’s eye view including front, side and rear vision cameras are $825. Trailering equipment including heavy duty cooling system is $650. Red Quartz tintcoat is $495. Navigation is $495. Destination charge is $975, bringing the grand total to $56,555.


Bottom line:

The 2018 Buick Enclave is a very nice midsize crossover that provides a long list of features and technology for the money. It has many bells and whistles normally found on luxury models, plus a smooth ride, good fuel efficiency, attractive cabin and lots of room for passengers and cargo.

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