2013 Buick Enclave Review
We drive Buick's refreshed crossover.
Web2Carz Contributing Writer
Published: October 15th, 2012
Buick's Enclave crossover has been a big part of the company's move away from the LeSabres and Park Avenues of the past. The most luxurious of GM's Lambda trio, which also includes the GMC Acadia and Chevrolet Traverse, the Enclave has brought younger buyers to a brand once ridiculed for its Golden Girls demographic. Following the lead of its siblings, the Enclave gets refreshed for 2013. And like the Chevy and GMC models, the 2013 Enclave is the product of an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" attitude. Changes are subtle, mostly involving styling and some suspension tweaks.
On the Road
The Enclave gets its power from a 288-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 that gets it off the line with ease, although the weight of this eight-passenger crossover holds it back somewhat. Like the Traverse, the Enclave feels somewhat nimbler than before, but Buick dialed back some of the sportiness in favor of smoothness, with the idea of appealing to the near-luxury customer base.
That smoothness is apparent in the ride; the Enclave eats interstate miles in comfort, although it's never soft. Steering feel is weighted appropriately for this class, although feedback is mostly missing. Body roll is muted, and the Enclave did handle some challenging Kentucky roads without much drama, although we'd never choose it intentionally for a back-road blast. That's just not this car's mission--the Enclave is better suited to urban cruising.
Styling tweaks are minor. Body-color front and rear fascias are the big changes, along with a new grille, hood, and fenders. LED lights are new, along with chrome body-side moldings and new 19- and 20-inch wheels.
Visually, it's hard to distinguish the new Enclave from the old one, and that's fine, since the old one was pretty good looking. The new one looks sleeker and less busy.
New additions for 2013 include ambient lighting, a new instrument panel and climate controls (now have haptic touch, which mimics the touchscreen on a smartphone), new door trim with real stitching, and a couple of new interior color combos.
Like on the outside, the changes are subtle. The materials remain price appropriate, and we like the big analog clock on top of the center stack and the storage bin in the center of the dash. We found headroom and legroom plentiful up front, but a bit squished for taller passengers in the second row. The third row was surprisingly comfortable for our six-foot-one tester, but only for short jaunts.
Almost all exterior noise stays outside the vehicle; the Enclave is one quiet ride.
Fuel Economy and Safety
In addition to the usual set of airbags, the Enclave adds a front-center airbag to the center console, and both a blind-spot alert and rear cross-traffic alert system are available. A rear view camera is standard.
Fuel economy is rated at 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway for front-wheel-drive models, and 16/22 for all-wheel-drive.
Just like its Traverse sibling, the Enclave changes little. That's likely what Buick was aiming for. There's no reason to mess with success, and the Lambda trio have been successful sellers for all three brands. The Enclave gave Buick street cred with the later dinner crowd again, and well-to-do families who are willing to pony up a few grand beyond the Traverse will find a quiet, competent crossover that has a small amount of handling chops.
Repeat after us: "If it ain't broke..."
Specs, Features, Prices
Engine: 3.6-liter V-6
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Drive Wheels: Front, all-wheel-drive available
Base Price: $38,445
Available Features: Navigation, rearview camera, blind-spot alert, rear cross-traffic detection, front-center side airbag, satellite radio, Bluetooth, USB port, infotainment system, heated front seats, cooled front seats, power liftgate, tilt/telescope steering wheel.
• For more information such as specs, prices, and photos of the 2013 Buick Enclave, click here: 2013 Buick Enclave.