General Motors is trying very hard to make Buick appealing to younger people. If you’ve seen any of their advertisements recently, you’d see their plans in action, featuring younger people who have bought a Buick and others being surprised that it’s a Buick. But what about their actual product? We recently spent some time in the 2016 Buick Enclave to see how their efforts are going.
(Full Disclosure: After a carefully crafted email, this Buick you see here showed up in my driveway for review with a full tank of gas. Sadly, at no point did anyone ask me, “Is that a Buick?”)
General Motors has done something quite special with their full-size SUVs that other manufacturers haven’t done yet. They’ve made their vehicles capable of hauling up to 8 passengers, instead of 7. This particular review vehicle was only configured for 7 passengers, since it had 2nd-row captain’s chairs, but the default configuration it handles 8.
When you’re getting a vehicle this size, space is really important. We recently spent time in the Ford Explorer Platinum, and while it was larger than ever, still could only fit 7 people inside. We even reached out to Buick’s Stuart Fowle about the Enclave, and he pointed out how refreshing it is to fit drywall or plywood sheets flat in the back. It really does help when you have to make those weekend Home Depot runs.
If you’re looking simply for the most space you can get in your vehicle, you have to drive the Buick Enclave before making your final purchasing decision.
But what about the rest of the Enclave? Is it any good?
Again, according to Fowle, the Enclave had its best August ever in terms of sales, even though the last refresh was back in 2013. We automobile reviewers get a bit spoiled when we start to think a vehicle that isn’t all-new this year is starting to get “old.” The actually buyers are speaking with their wallets, and they like what the Enclave has to offer.
So why should you look at the Enclave? Aside from interior space, this Buick is pretty quiet inside while driving. While we’re not doing a straight comparison to the Explorer Platinum, it did have a slightly quieter cabin (to our ears) than the Explorer. Ford touts interior quietness on the new Platinum, but this Buick seems a bit better in that department.
To break away from the direct comparison, the Buick has some great things that stand on its own and another reason to give it a look. First off is the warranty. It comes with a 4 year / 50,000 miles bumper-to-bumper warranty, and a 6 year / 70,000 miles powertrain warranty. That’s a year longer than most of the competition.
If you are planning to keep this car for the long haul, the 3.6L V6 that powers this Buick as a well-tested engine for General Motors and shouldn’t let you down, as long as it’s properly maintained.
Fuel economy is okay at 22 mpg on the highway, 16 mpg in the city, or 22 mpg combined. Interestingly, that’s the exact same fuel economy numbers as the EcoBoost in the Ford Explorer Platinum. These aren’t bad fuel economy numbers, but I always want to see a little bit better from these bigger SUVs.
Our review unit had satellite navigation, Bluetooth, and SiriusXM satellite radio. Because it’s a 2016 model, it also has OnStar’s 4GLTE service built-in. That means that basically anywhere you go you have a wireless hotspot for your laptop, tablet, or mobile device. It’s also something the competition doesn’t offer.
This Premium Group all-wheel drive model has some cool additional standard features, including directional HID headlights, premium sound, heated and cooled front seats, and more. Ours also came optioned up with a nice moonroof, rear seat entertainment, and the Dark Sapphire Blue Metallic paint.
Also, it should be noted that the Enclave has a 5-star crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and also did well in IIHS testing.
So what’s not to like?
Well, there were a few personal cosmetic things I didn’t care for. If you aren’t a fan of chrome, the accents and wheels on the Enclave might be a bit much for you. Also, the steering wheel really feels like a piece from a much older vehicle than the 2013 refresh.
The IntelliLink infotainment system works really well in speed and performance, but the touch sensitive buttons to control some of the functions are a bid maddening. Strangely (and this is common with several GM products) to control the trip computer you have to press a touch sensitive button on the infotainment system?
Lastly, it’s 2016, where’s the push button start?
The all-wheel drive version of the Buck Enclave with the Premium Group starts at $49,515. The power moonroof adds $1,400. The rear seat entertainment adds $1,395. Finally, the blue paint is $395. When you add in the $925 destination charge, you end up at $53,630.
So should you buy it? Again, if you want space and reliability, it’s hard to argue against this Buick. It’s not the newest Buick in the lineup, but it sells well. That means lots of customers are really happy with their purchase. Give one a drive and find out for yourself if it’s the right SUV for you!
- Seating for 8 passengers and excellent cargo room.
- Great warranty and overall reliability.
- OnStar 4GLTE.
- Not a lot of advanced equipment for the price (radar cruise, parallel park assist, etc…).
- Touch sensitive infotainment buttons.