Having always been intrigued by the big crossovers built by General Motors, I was extremely excited to get behind the wheel of the new 2018 Buick Enclave. I mean on paper what’s not to like? They seat seven adults, come standard with over 300 horsepower, there’s optional all-wheel drive, a ton of cargo space and enough tech and luxury to keep just about everyone happy regardless of their emotional state. They’re also a great alternative for those who may secretly want a minivan but don’t want to be seen in one (you know who you are). So if you fall into that category keep reading—I think you might like what I’m about to say.
For the full 2018 Buick Enclave Premium review, specs, pricing and data read on…
2018 Buick Enclave Premium Exterior
Let’s get one thing straight—the 2018 Enclave is big. It has an overall length of 204.3-inches, an overall height of 69.9-inches and it weights in at just over 4,700-pounds. And while these may seem like big numbers for a modern day crossover, rest assured that Buick has done a beautiful job in masking those overall dimensions.
Free of sharp edges and rough surfaces, the body is instead smooth with free flowing lines and a soft feel. Polished accents are combined with contrasting black and gunmetal surfaces that help to bring this Buick into the modern world. The centerpiece of the Enclave is a bold blacked-out grille with polished trim that flows under the projector beam headlamps while a large front fascia with LED auxiliary lighting and a secondary grille with small spoiler help to round out a handsome front end. Smoked rear passenger windows and rear glass help to maintain your privacy while twin polished exhaust tips give the Enclave an element of sport.
2018 Buick Enclave Premium Interior
With seating for seven passengers and 97.6 cubic feet of cargo space, the 2018 Buick Enclave seeks to accommodate everything one can throw at it. The cavernous interior is a mix of leather, soft touch surfaces and technology that seeks to make the lives of its occupants easier in every way. Heated and ventilated power adjustable driver and passenger seats are comfortable, with nice bolstering and lower lumbar support. Rear second-row captains chairs offer heat as well as manual reclining, while third-row seating is better suited to children or smaller adults for extended travel.
A center mounted 8.0-inch touchscreen is your gateway into the Enclaves vast array of technology. There’s Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a new Market Place feature which allows one to order products such as food and goods online (not sure how I feel about this) and of course, 4G LTE WiFi. Here, you’ll also gain access to vehicle settings, climate and audio controls. Six USB ports and a standard charging port are available to keep mobile devices charged, and set dead-center in the middle of the analog dash is a 4.2-inch color display screen that showcases more vehicle functions such as a digital speedometer, fuel economy, trip odometer and more.
Interior noise whilst on the road is quite low and the Enclave is able to provide hours of driving without fatigue. A dual panoramic roof provides a light airy feel to the cabin, however it must be said that the console mounted gear selector is simply not as intuitive or smooth as it could be. That aside, the interior is top notch and showcases some of the great strides Buick has made recently.
2018 Buick Enclave Premium Performance
Under the hood lives a 3.6-liter V-6 that produces 310 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque with power going to the ground via a 9-speed automatic transmission. Our test unit was equipped with the optional all-wheel drive system (front wheel drive is standard) and the Enclave felt nothing but planted even when driving through a pretty substantial downpour. One of the things which is interesting about this system is the fact that it can be disengaged via a dash-mounted button. When engaged, 60 mph is reached in just 6.5 seconds—pretty quick for a seven-passenger people mover.
As stated earlier, this is a large vehicle. But from behind the wheel, you’d never know it, as driving the 2018 Enclave is a smooth and enjoyable experience. Overall steering feel is light, but precise, and the engineers over at Buick have done a great job of masking the Enclaves overall girth. Hard braking and emergency handling maneuvers were met with confidence, and never once did the Enclave get out of shape. Fuel economy, while not outstanding, wasn’t bad and we found the EPA rated 25-mpg highway, 17-city and 20-mpg in combined driving to be fairly accurate.
2018 Buick Enclave Premium Safety
Buick has also gone to great lengths to make sure you and those around you are safe. By incorporating features like anti-lock brakes, airbags throughout the cabin, and available features like Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Surround Vision, Low Speed Automatic Braking, Forward Collision Alert, Front Pedestrian Braking and more, the 2018 Buick Enclave is sure to provide all occupants with a safe and pleasant driving experience.
2018 Buick Enclave Premium Overall
With a superbly designed and spacious interior, powerful V-6 engine and a very noticeable nod towards ergonomics and quality, the 2018 Buick Enclave turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. Not only was it versatile, but also it provided a wonderful driving experience that rivaled some of the class leaders. Buick should be very proud of this SUV because not only was it a joy to spend time with, but I have a feeling it’s going to be the vehicle which helps elevate the brand to the next level.
*Fuel economy values (mpg) are EPA estimates. Actual mileage will vary and depends on several factors including driving habits and vehicle condition.
**Vehicle MSRP of $57,055.00, excludes taxes, title, transportation, options, and dealer fees.