SUV and crossovers run a descriptive gamut from boxy to masculine to sleek, but seldom are they called beautiful ? except for maybe the 2013 Buick Enclave. It?s big and beautiful.
When it first appeared in 2008, the Buick Enclave changed the face of Buick and suddenly the brand that could have easily gone on the General Motors chopping block, became popular, or at least it got noticed. The looks got shoppers into Buick showrooms and when they drove the Enclave ? it was good. It wasn?t a runaway success, but it sold well, and influenced the new look of the brand.
Even though the 2013 Buick Enclave is starting to age, it still looks fresh thanks to a freshening this year. Careful attention was taken not to mess with the winning formula. New are body-colored fascias (front and rear) and rocker moldings along with a new hood and grille. It also gets the popular LED daytime running light treatment and LED taillights.
After some minor changes, the 2013 Buick Enclave still offers the same plush ride, opulent interior and good looks. And sales remain strong, actually improving over the years.
Inside the instrument panel and door trims are new and look richer with stitching on the panels. Ice-blue ambient lights and new climate controls cap off the changes. In addition, it still has one of the best third row seating access systems and an outstanding potential cargo capacity of 115.2 cubic feet when the second and third rows seats are folded.
Mechanically there has been some tuning with new suspension technology, which made subtle improvements to the ride and handling.
A 3.6-liter direct injected V-6 engine powers all versions of the Enclave. The engine produces 288 horsepower, driving the front wheels through a six-speed Hydra-Matic transmission ? all wheel drive is an option. Fuel economy is listed at 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway for the FWD and 16/22 mpg for the AWD. The trip computer said we averaged 18.9 mpg during the week we drove the Enclave. The Enclave accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds. The towing capacity of 4,500 pounds is sufficient for taking along some adult toys like snow machines or personal water craft.
Enclave has some innovative new safety features, too. It?s the first vehicle to use the front center airbag, which fills the space between the front two seats in a side impact crash to protect the front seat passengers from colliding with each other. The rear camera includes a cross traffic alert system that becomes very helpful in avoiding backing out of a parking space into another vehicle driving down the row.
Enclave comes in three trim levels Convenience (1SD), Leather (1SL) and Premium (1SN). Pricing runs $40,165, $44,180 and $47,345 including the destination charge. All-wheel drive adds $2,000. Pricing peaks at about $55,000 when all the options are included on the Premium.
The 2013 Buick Enclave may not be like the Buicks of yesteryear, but it certain offers a quiet comfortable ride. Plus it handles surprising well for such a big, heavy crossover. At times around town, it almost could have been considered agile.
Consumers must like the Enclave, too, because it?s the bestselling three-row luxury crossover in the U.S. significantly beating out competitors like the Acura MDX, Volvo XC90, Audi Q7 and Lincoln MKT. In fact, Enclave sales were nearly as good as all these competitors combined.