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2018 Buick Enclave Avenir Test Drive and Review

Jerry Reynolds | January 16, 2018
2018 Buick Enclave Avenir Test Drive and Review

This week I bring you the all-new 2018 Buick Enclave.  The first Enclave I ever reviewed was back in 2008 and at that time, I’d never been in an SUV like it.  Now 10 years later, GM has redone the flagship Buick with a new look, 10% more interior room, and the Enclave shed 350 pounds.

My review vehicle is the first of Buick’s sub-brand, called the Avenir, which you will see in the future on other Buicks, and the Avenir will be the top-of-the-line.

2018 Buick Enclave Avenir

You’ll notice the Avenir has an exclusive mesh grill, 20” wheels, a Chestnut colored interior, special floor mats, embroidered headrest, and a wood and leather-wrapped heated steering wheel.

Behind that new grill and some pretty cool LED lights, you’ll find a 3.6-liter V6 and a 9-speed automatic transmission.  Together they are putting out 310-horses.  This is the front-wheel drive version, but all-wheel is available as well.

The interior of the Enclave Avenir is well done, and the leather seating is very soft and comfortable.  Behind the wheel, you see a configurable driver information center in the middle of the dash, and as you look around, stitching abounds on the seats and dash.

The center console is large and soft to the touch.  By the gear shifter are a couple of cup holders and there is a bin with a wireless phone charger.

Above the center console is the Buick Infotainment system which operates by an 8” color touchscreen.  From there, you operate the Bose sound system, navigation system, Bluetooth, Apple and Android connections, and it comes with 4G LTE connectivity.  You can also project your phone onto the screen.

Also from there, you operate OnStar, many of the settings, and you can get real-time weather and traffic information.  This is where the rear camera with cross-traffic alert is housed.   There is also an ionizer to eliminate odors.

Marketplace App, Teen Driver, and Rear Seat Reminder

A new app I’ve never seen before is called Marketplace.  From it, you can order from Starbucks, Wingstop, IHOP, get a table reservation at TGI Fridays and more.  Oh, and you can do it while you are driving, but I don’t recommend it.

Other features I really like include Teen Driver, so you can monitor and control your kids or a valet parker.  It also has the rear seat reminder.  If you open either of the back doors, when you get where you are going, it will remind you there may be something in the back seat, like a kid or a pet.  And the rear view mirror is pretty amazing, too.  It works like a normal mirror, but with the flip of a switch, it turns into a wide-angle rear camera.  This is really useful if you have people in the far back seat blocking your vision.

Fits 7- or 8-Passengers

Moving to the second row, my review vehicle has captain chairs making this a 7-passenger, but you can get a bench seat too, giving it seating for 8.  The third-row seat is as roomy as any I’ve seen without going all the way to an SUV the size of large ones like Tahoe and Suburban.

To get to the third-row seat, the right side second-row seat tilts and slides forward allowing easy access, and it is simple to operate.  It would even work great with a child seat strapped in, without the child in it of course.

Cargo area behind the third-row seat is actually quite good, and if you put the power third-row seat down, it is great.  There is also a large storage area under the rear floorboard.

Standard Features and Options

Almost everything you see comes standard on the Enclave Avenir.  The most notable include heated and cooled front seats, heated second-row seat, power tilt wheel, remote start, dual moon roofs (the rear one is fixed, the front one is power), and power liftgate with hands-free function.

On the safety and security front, standard features are keyless entry, pushbutton start, front and rear parking sensors, forward collision alert, lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring, and pedestrian alert with braking.

My review vehicle has only two options.  One is the $2,085 technology package, which gives you adaptive cruise control with full speed stop and go function, forward automatic braking, and premium suspension with real-time damping.  It also has the $850 trailer-towing package, which will take the towing capacity up to 5000 pounds.

Enclave is quiet inside, the steering is good, and you get virtually no body roll in curves.

Two things I don’t like are the gear shifter, which is cumbersome, and you cannot disable the start/stop system.  As much as I like this vehicle, that might keep me from buying it.

Fuel Economy and What You'll Pay

This Enclave is rated at 18 in town, 26 on the highway, for an overall 21 average.  MSRP is $57,135 which is OK considering this is a true luxury SUV.

If you are looking for a really nice 7 or 8 passenger SUV between $50,000 and $60,000, this is certainly worthy of a look and test drive.

2018 Buick Enclave Avenir

  • What I liked most:  The interior and exterior changes for 2018.
  • What I would change:  Let me turn off the freakin’ start/stop if I want to.    
  • MSRP: Base price $53,415 as equipped $57,135.
  • Fuel Economy: 18 City/26 Highway, 21 combined.
  • Fuel Tank: 19.4 gallons with filler on the driver’s side.
  • Dimensions:  204.3” long/78.8” wide/69.9” high.
  • Weight:  4358 Pounds.
  • Trailer Towing: 5000 pounds
  • Miles When Tested:  1400 miles.
  • Official Color: Dark Slate Metallic outside and Chestnut interior with Ebony accents.
  • Spare tire: Full-sized spare.
  • Final Assembly Point:  Lansing, Michigan.  
  • 2018 Enclave in a few words:  Very nice and roomy SUV with a lot of value.
  • Warranty:  4-year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper, 6-year/70,000 mile power train warranty with roadside assistance, and two free maintenance visits.
  • Manufacturers website:  Buick
Tags: 2018, Avenir, Buick Enclave
Jerry Reynolds
Hi Mike! Sorry you're having trouble with the search function. Here is Jerry's article on the topic: https://www.carprousa.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-stop-start-systems
Mike R.
Sorry, but I don't understand what is meant by "start/stop system". It seems like it's pretty well distained, but I have no idea what it is. [I also searched the site for "start/stop system" before raising the question here: the response was both '32 results' and '0 results' - and I became confused even more.]

Thanks. The Enclave is on our list of vehicles to consider as we begin our search for a new vehicle.
Jerry Reynolds
No, they are different engines. The Enclave has the LFY with stop/start (3.6L V6, SIDI, VVT stop/start (310 hp [231 kW] @ 6800 rpm, 266 lb-ft of torque @ 2800 rpm). The XT5 has a newer generation LGX V6.

Managing Editor
Car Pro
Jerry Reynolds
I will try to get my hands on one, but it’s not as simple as that. They only put certain vehicles in the press fleet and there is no way to know if there will be one available for 2018. I had it last year and there have really been no changes: https://www.carprousa.com/2017-dodge-durango-test-drive.

Jerry Reynolds, President
Car Pro Radio Network
G. W.
Would you review & test drive a 2018 Durango , as I would like to see the comparison with 2018 Buick Enclave Avenir. I currently have a 2013 Durango Crew, which I love but like the looks of both these vehicles.
Mike .
Is this the same engine that is in the Cadillac XT5 ?
clamleggs .
My Volvo dealer said start/stop is mandatory starting in 2018. That's why I bought the 2017. I hate the stop/start.
D. P.
The idiotic stop/start function is a deal breaker for me also. They decided to put the previous generation engine in the new Enclave which was not designed for stop/start. The minuscule amount of savings from stop/start will be a pittance compared to the cost of engine repairs from the thousands of extra cycles it wasn't designed for.

Supposedly, however, you can disable the stop/start by disconnecting the hood latch sensor, or by installing a device which makes the computer think the hood is open (autostopstart.fix@gmail.com).
R. H.
After years of Buicks and GM products, the advent of stop/start technology has me shopping for suv brands other than those offered by GM. Your corporate people made a bad decision when making stop/start technology standard on most models. I've driven this type of vehicle in the past and it just drove me crazy wondering if the thing will go when I press on the accelerator.