2018 Buick Enclave: The Enclave has been a big deal for Buick. First introduced way back in the pre-GM-bankruptcy days of 2007, it initially had GMC and Saturn siblings (the Acadia and the Outlook); the Saturn fell away and the Chevrolet Traverse now completes the trio. The Enclave was a hit right off the bat, and its sales have remained strong enough that General Motors felt comfortable delaying the arrival of its successor for nearly a decade. Now the second-generation Enclave finally is here, and, in more ways than one, it’s even bigger than before.
Big News: The 2018 Enclave’s unveiling trails that of the new Chevy Traverse and the GMC Acadia, and the differences among the three are greater than they were. The Enclave, like the Traverse, has grown in size, while the Acadia has gotten smaller. Both the Chevy and the Buick now ride on a 2.0-inch-longer wheelbase (120.9 inches) and stretch 204.3 inches from stem to stern, an increase of 2.4 inches in the case of the Buick. That puts the Traverse and the Enclave at the outer edge of the mid-size, three-row crossover segment, beyond the Ford Explorer and the burly new Volkswagen Atlas (both 198.3 inches long) and the Mazda CX-9 (199.4). The Acadia, by contrast, rides on a wheelbase roughly eight inches shorter, and the GMC’s overall length of 193.6 inches puts it closer to the Honda Pilot (194.5) and the Toyota Highlander (192.5).
Despite their differences in size, the three use variations of the same vehicle architecture and share key mechanical components. As before, a 3.6-liter V-6 is the Enclave’s single engine offering, with preliminary output figures of 302 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque (previously 288 hp and 270 lb-ft). Chevy and GMC also use a 3.6-liter V-6 (with slightly different outputs) along with four-cylinder base engines not seen in the Buick. The Enclave, like its siblings, will come with front-drive or all-wheel drive, and a new nine-speed automatic replaces the previous six-speed. Buick expects EPA ratings for the all-wheel-drive model to inch up from 15 mpg city and 22 mpg highway to 17/24, while the front-drive version should manage 25 mpg highway. The maximum tow rating climbs from 4500 to 5000 pounds.
On the Avenir: The new Enclave also is big news because it marks the U.S. debut of Buick’s Avenir sub-brand. Taking its name from the rear-drive sedan concept that wowed crowds at the 2015 Detroit auto show—and unfortunately will not be built—Avenir will be the top trim level across multiple Buick models. In the Enclave, it’s denoted by a special grille, 20-inch wheels with a “pearl nickel” finish, a two-tone brown-and-black interior with contrast piping and stitching plus embroidered headrests, a wood-trimmed steering wheel, and Avenir-logo sill plates and floor mats. The Avenir also brings a higher level of standard equipment, including navigation, heated first- and second-row seats, ventilated front seats, a dual-pane sunroof, a 360-degree camera system, and Buick’s first use of the camera-based virtual rearview mirror that debuted on the Cadillac CT6. Available adaptive dampers—with a Sport mode!—are an Avenir exclusive. All Enclaves come with second-row captain’s chairs, a power-folding third row, an 8.0-inch touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, 4G LTE Wi-Fi, a hands-free power liftgate, and passive keyless entry and ignition. Available active safety features include automated emergency braking (with pedestrian detection), lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and rear cross-traffic alert.
The passenger’s-side second-row seat tilts forward, even with a forward-facing infant seat installed, to allow access to the third row. Another family-friendly feature is an air ionizer, which allegedly rids the cabin air of pollen, bacteria, viruses, and odors—just the thing for a vehicle likely to transport gamy teens home from sports practices. Buick isn’t announcing pricing until closer to the new Enclave’s fall on-sale date, but the current version starts at roughly $40,000 and can run into the mid-$50,000s. Buick notes that the top two trim levels have been the most popular, so expect the Avenir to push the upper edge of that envelope even higher, as Buick makes a play to bring home some bigger profits.
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Post time: Jun-15-2017