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.