The Buick Enclave is aimed squarely at families that need the space that a three row crossover provides, but with a bit more style than you’ll get with some more basic crossovers. For the second generation, Buick has amped up the style of the 2018 Enclave, while also making the interior more luxurious. You can think of the latest Enclave as the Cadillac of crossovers, well at least until Cadillac finally introduces its own three row crossover.
Just like before the 2018 Buick Enclave shares its platform with the Chevy Traverse and GMC Acadia, although the Enclave gets a style that’s all its own to separate it more from its corporate cousins. Compared to the first generation Enclave, the 2018 Enclave has a more sculpted and classy exterior that hides the fact that it’s meant for family duty. The Enclave’s elegant curves also hide the fact that the Enclave is a big crossover, with its length stretching 204 inches, which is 8 inches longer than the Acura MDX and almost 10 inches longer than the Volvo XC90.
If you select the top spec Enclave Avenir, the style meter is dialed up even further with a unique grille, 20-inch wheels with a Pearl Nickel finish, a real wood steering wheel and a Chestnut/Ebony interior.
Inside the 2018 Enclave’s interior is just as stylish as the exterior. The dashboard is elegant and sculpted with very few buttons to give it a clean design. The interior does have some fake wood, but it doesn’t scream fake and most of the surfaces are covered in high quality materials, which again makes the Enclave feel more luxurious than you might expect, especially the Avenir trim level. There were a few misses, like the weird joystick shifter that feels awkward every time you need to go in reverse and the sun shades for the dual moonroofs that felt a bit cheaper than we’d expect.
The 2018 Enclave comes standard with an eight-inch touchscreen that features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. There’s also a 4.2-inch color display in front of the driver and the 4G LTE WiFi hotspot will keep everyone satisfied on the trip. There’s also wireless charging for your cell phone and the Surround Vision rear view camera makes parking the Enclave a breeze.
The Enclave comes standard with three rows of seats and room for up to seven passengers, which means that the second row is only offered with captain’s chairs. Since there isn’t a middle seat in the second row, getting to the third row isn’t too difficult, although we wish that both of the captain’s chairs slid forward and not just the passenger side. The available legroom in the third row is a bit tight, but the Enclave still has more legroom than the MDX, 33.5-inches compared to 28.1-inches.
With the third row seat up, the Enclave has 24 cubic feet of space and if you fold both the second and third row seats, you’ll have 98 cubic feet of space for your stuff. Putting your stuff in the Enclave is easy thanks to the standard hands free liftgate and you can also hide some smaller items in the storage bin under the cargo area.
On the road the Enclave is a strong performer thanks to its standard 3.6L V6 with 310 horsepower and 266 lb-ft. of torque. The V6 is mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive is an option. Push it hard and the Enclave gets up to speed with ease, the front-wheel drive version will even spin its front wheels from a stop. The Enclave gets up to highway speeds with little fanfare, which is something buyers in this segment will appreciate. The nine-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and always manages to find the ideal gear.
Even with its large exterior, the 2018 Enclave doesn’t drive like a bus. It’s suspension keeps body roll to a minimum and the steering provides ample feedback. Everything is tuned for comfort, but this isn’t your grandpa’s Buick – the Enclave doesn’t merely just float down the road. If you go for the Enclave Avenir with the Premium Suspension package you’ll get an upgraded suspension with a real-time damping system.
The Enclave is rated at 18/26 mpg with front-wheel drive and 17/25 mpg if you opt for all-wheel drive.
Pricing for the 2018 Buick Enclave starts at $39,995 for the base Enclave that comes standard with cloth seats. The Essence trim level starts at $45,295 and it adds leather seats, lane change alert with side blind zone alert, rear cross traffic alert. The Premium trim level starts at $49,095 and adds a 10-speaker Bose audio system, second row heated seats, ventilated front seats, forward collision alert, lane keep assist and front and rear park assist. The top Enclave Avenir starts at $54,495 and adds unique styling, a dual moonroof, an 8-inch driver information center and 20-inch wheels.
The second generation Buick Enclave picks up where the first generation left off, but its now more refined and classy. The Enclave’s sculpted exterior looks more luxurious than the Traverse and Acadia, while the interior will make your friends look for the Cadillac badge on the steering wheel.