“2018 Buick Enclave Premium AWD 1SN”
A Highly Versatile Midsize Luxury SUV
The Enclave was first introduced by Buick in 2007 and it has enjoyed progressive sales success ever since, as a top-selling three-row luxury crossover. For the 2018 model year, the Buick Enclave, has been completely redesigned and has introduced an Avenir sub-brand as the highest expression of Buick luxury, offering unique styling cues and an extensive set of standard features and premium materials.
The new design architecture showcases a balanced, athletic appearance, with revised proportions giving the redesigned Enclave a more aerodynamic look that delivers greater efficiency with its lower roofline, increased windshield angle and longer wheelbase, all contributing to a more dramatic stance. There are now seven total levels of trim: The base Enclave; the Essence; Premium; and the new Avenir model with extensive active safety, connectivity and luxury appointments. The base model comes only in FWD, while the other trim levels are available in both FWD and AWD.
The Enclave now incorporates extensive use of LEDs, including bi-functional LED projector headlamps and LED tail lamps, and standard safety equipment on all 2018 Enclaves includes a rear vision camera, rear park assist and seven air bags, including a front center side airbag.
A premium suspension with continuously variable real-time damping (CDC) is available on Avenir models providing a smooth, comfortable ride, with enhanced body control and handling, especially in Sport mode.
NVH is improved through QuietTuning, which includes a new active noise cancellation feature that helps to further reduce, block and absorb noise. A new air ionizer is available that eliminates odors while providing better air quality.
An available rear camera mirror allows the rearview mirror to function as a traditional mirror or a camera, eliminating obstructions such as heads and headrests while expanding the rear field of vision by 300 percent. In addition, available Surround Vision provides an overhead, 360-degree view around the vehicle while maneuvering at low speeds.
Intelligent AWD with an active twin-clutch rear differential is available with a Buick-first switchable AWD for improved control and efficiency.The 2018 Enclave serves up a high level of craftsmanship combined with an exceptional level of comfort. The sculpted exterior design evolves the sophisticated elegance of this popular crossover. The revised exterior includes restyled, contrasting color front and rear fascias and rocker moldings, LED lighting front and rear, including daytime running lamps, a new sculpted hood, fenders and a larger, black-chrome mesh waterfall grille, integrated dual stainless steel exhaust with bright outlets, new 19 and 20-inch wheel designs, and more monochromatic design elements than the existing model. There is no longer a composite lower cladding surrounding the vehicle. A chrome glass profile surround trim and chrome capped door handles add a nice touch along with the blacked out “B” and “C” pillars and floating roof effect.
The interior benefits from a newly designed instrument panel and door trim with genuine stitching and soft ambient accent lighting along with new climate controls and a revised look for OnStar buttons as well as front-row four-way adjustable head restraints. An eight-way power front passenger seat adjuster is optionally available. For entertainment, there’s a Premium audio system with AM/FM/HD and Sirius/XM radio (with three months of service), Bluetooth, USB port, CD player, auxiliary input jack, steering wheel-mounted controls, Buick IntelliLink seven-inch color touch-screen radio and available color touch radios with DVD and navigation.
Other cabin highlights include: LED ambient lighting around the dash that highlights Enclave’s flowing interior lines, while emphasizing the cabin’s spaciousness; available memory presets on eight-way power driver’s seat include easy-exit driver’s seat, power outside mirrors and power tilt and telescopic steering column; available heated and cooled front seats; soft-touch materials and real stitching throughout the cabin, as well as true chrome accents; an available power, tilt-sliding sunroof a standard storage system under the floor in the rear cargo area and standard power windows with driver and passenger express up/down feature. Four interior color combinations are available with complementing wood tone trim accents.
Power for the new Enclave is delivered by a 3.6-liter, DOHC, 24-valve VVT V6 engine with Spark Ignition Direct Injection which is transversely mounted up front, and generates 310 horsepower at 6,800 rpm along with 266 pound feet of torque at 2,800 rpm. The engine delivers power to either the front wheels or to all four in the optional 4WD version via a Hydra-Matic 9T65 nine-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with overdrive handles gear-changing chores and new suspension technology has been implemented for an enhanced driving experience.
In terms of safety technology, the latest iteration Enclave is enhanced by: customizable safety alerts and seven standard airbags; a Driver Confidence Package available on Essence includes Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert; Driver Confidence II Package available on Premium and Avenir models includes: Lane Change Alert; Side Blind Zone Alert; Rear Cross Traffic Alert; Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning; Safety Alert Seat; Front and Rear Park Assist; Forward Collision Alert; Low Speed Forward Automatic Braking; Following Distance Indicator; and IntelliBeam headlamps
The 2018 Buick Enclave seats seven or eight passengers, with the second row featuring Buick’s SmartSlide system.
My test Enclave came in Premium 1 SN trim. The base sticker read $50,315., while the as tested price came to $57,055, after adding options and the Destination charge. Optional fare included the dual moonroof with a power front and fixed rear; 20-inch aluminum alloy wheels; the White Frost metallic tricoat exterior; inside rear camera mirror; rearview with full camera featuring surround vision, Bird’s Eye View, front side and rear vision cameras; trailering equipment with cooling system and Heavy Duty Navigation. The interior was executed in Brandy with Ebony accents.
SUMMARY: The 2018 Buick Enclave has always been a luxurious and attractive crossover, but now it has reached a new sweet spot. It looks better with its visual enhancements, handles better with its mechanical improvements, and is more comfortable with its added convenience features.
Despite its two ton plus mass, the 2018 Enclave handles like a much smaller vehicle. The new interior design treatment is warm, inviting and elegant, displaying top-notch craftsmanship and attention to detail.
Acceleration is more than adequate and shifting is smooth up and down through the nine gears. Stability is spot on, with no pronounced body roll and the interior displays a refined quiet, making conversation between front and rear occupants pleasant.
In the final scheme of things, if you were a fan of the old Enclave, you’re sure to love this latest iteration luxury crossover – it ranks as the ultimate family adventure cruiser with versatility and functionality galore.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Buick Enclave Premium 1SN
Base Price: $50,315.
Price as Tested: $57,055.
Engine Type and Size: 3.6-liter, DOHC, 24-valve,V-6 with SIDI Spark Ignition Direct Injection and VVT.
Horsepower (bhp): 310 @ 6,800 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 266 @ 2,800 rpm
Transmission: Hydra-Matic 9T65 nine-speed automatic
Drive Train: Transversely front mounted engine / AWD.
Suspension: Front – MacPherson strut with hydraulic control arm ride bushing and hollow stabilizer bar. Premium suspension with continuously variable real time damping.
Rear – Five-link independent with auxiliary spring aids and hollow stabilizer bar. Premium suspension with continuously variable real time damping.
Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel ventilated discs with ABS, Duralife rotors and low-drag calipers.
Tires: Continental CrossContact LX20 EcoPlus 255/55 R20 107H mounted on 6-“V”-spoke polished aluminum alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 120.9 inches
Length Overall: 204.3 inches
Width: 78.8 inches
Height: 69.9 inches
Curb Weight: 4,358 lbs.
Turning Circle: 39.0 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 21.7 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 17 mpg city /26 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: Not listed
0 – 60 mph: Not tested
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.