By on November 13, 2013

2014 Buick Enclave Exterior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

I’ve dished out plenty of Buick love lately. The Verano beats Acura and Lexus at the entry-luxury game and the tiny Encore is an oddly attractive (albeit underpowered) crossover that is outselling the Mini Countryman and Range Rover Evoque by a wide margin. What can we attribute this sales success to? I posit that the original Buick Enclave is the impetus. Landing in 2007 as a 2008 model, it was the poster child of the “new Buick.” On the surface, the Enclave was the replacement for the Buick Rainier, the only GMT360 SUV I haven’t owned. (Just kidding, I’ve only owned 2 of the 11 varieties.) But that’s a simplistic view. In reality the Enclave was intended to elevate the brand enough to compete with three row luxury crossovers from Germany and Japan. This brings us to today’s question: six years and a mild face-lift later, does the Buick still have the goods?

Like Rainier, the Enclave is closely related to a GMC and Chevy version. Unlike the Rainier, the Enclave has only two doppelgängers instead of the 6-11 stablemates the Rainier contended with (depending on how you count your GMT360 and related SUVs.) The Chevy Traverse tackles the bottom of the market, the GMC Acadia handles the middle, and Buick occupies the top rung. That means the $38,740 to $52,925 Buick is targeted at the same shoppers as the Acura MDX, Infinti JX35/QX60, Lincoln MKT, the aging Volvo XC90 and if you believe GM, the Audi Q7.


Although there is a strong family resemblance, GM managed to style the closely priced Acadia and Enclave differently enough that the Buick looks more expensive when parked next to the GMC. The Traverse, on the other hand, shares very similar styling cues and the family resemblance is more pronounced. This could be a problem for potential shoppers as the only other entry in this segment that shares heavily with a mass-market variant is the Infiniti. (The Nissan Pathfinder’s twin.)

Despite the parts sharing, the Buick cuts an elegant form that my eye hasn’t tired of. The mid-cycle refresh brings new front and rear end styling to bring the Enclave up to date with the rest of the Buick lineup. Although I like the look of the Enclave, I don’t find it as appealing as the new MDX or Q7. In terms of style, I’d call it a tie between the Buick, Infniti and Volvo. Even though Buick’s questionable “ventiports” are continuing to grow and migrate to the top of the hood, the engineers made sure you can’t see them from inside the car.

The other thing the engineers managed to hide is the sheer size of the Enclave. Buick’s curvaceous design language managed to fool a friend of mine who said he was looking at an Enclave because he thought his Escalade was too big and too hard to park. Let’s look at the numbers. The Enclave is exactly 6/10ths of an inch shorter than the big Caddy and rides on a wheelbase nearly three inches longer. The Buick is 5 inches shorter than the Cadillac making it easier to get in a short garage, but it’s just as wide at 79 inches. Don’t assume it’s easier to park wither since it cuts a turning circle one and a half feet bigger. This is the kind of Buick I remember: ginormous.

2014 Buick Enclave Interior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. DykesInterior

I consider myself something of a dashboard connoisseur. I like my dashboards elegant, tasteful, squishy and preferably made from cow. I was therefore surprised to find the Enclave has best injection molded dashboard available. GM starts out with a single piece molded dashboard designed to look like leather with different textures pieced together. The molded product is then stitched with a sewing machine to insert thread along the injection molded faux-seams.

The result is impressive. Unfortunately the rest of the Enclave’s interior didn’t receive this level of attention. This means the old Enclave’s thin steering wheel is still shared with the defunct Buick Lucerne and the only real wood you’ll find is on that optional half-wood tiller. Odder still is the fact that no attempt is made to have the real wood look like the face wood in the car with the fake wood having a grey hue and the steering wheel veneer being nutty brown. I know I’m going to get complaints from this statement, but here I go. In a market where everyone but Acura is doing real wood, the aces of forest-substitute stick out like a sore thumb. (Note: the Canadian MDX can have real tree as an option.)

2014 Buick Enclave Interior, Dashboard, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

The Enclave counters these interior mis-steps with large and comfortable front seats and the only 8-seat configuration in this class. That 8th seat is important because it allows the Enclave to compete not only with the competition we have mentioned so far, but also with large body-on-frame SUVs like the Cadillac Escalade, Lexus LX 570, Infiniti QX56/QX80. In this context the Buick has a significant price advantage over the larger competition starting $25,000 lower than the Cadillac. Because those large competitors are aging and often draw heavily from their mass-market donor trucks, the Buick represents a decent value without looking like a cheap alternative.

As with all three-row SUVs, seats get less comfortable as you move towards the back. The middle captain’s chairs in the 7-seat Enclave are the most comfortable among the 3-row crossover segment while the optional three-seat middle bench drops  to class average. Due to the Buick’s age, you won’t find power flip/fold seats like the Acura or kid-friendly second row seats that can move forward with a child seat strapped in place. The Enclave regains its class leading comfort status in the third row with the most head room and cushiest thrones.

2014 Buick Enclave Interior, Buick Intellilink, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Being a refresh and not a redesign, 2014 doesn’t being an infotainment revolution to the Enclave. As it turns out this is a good thing. GM created a new integrated navigation and entertainment system that could be fitted to all their older vehicles to make them competitive with the systems coming out of Ford, Chrysler and BMW. This “stop-gap system” (my words, not GM’s) is one of my favorites on the market regardless of class. Although it is sold under the same Intellilink brand name as the Cadillac CUE derived system in the new LaCrosse, this system is totally different and in my eyes, superior.

Shared with the Encore, Verano and a few other GM products, the software is responsive, intuitive, and makes use of a bank of physical buttons that make navigating the system easy. As with other systems that I lean towards, Buick’s allows you to use either a control knob, the touchscreen or an extensive voice command library to interact with the system. Although a 7-inch screen is smaller than many of the competitors, I’d rather interact with Buick’s interface on a daily basis than Audi’s MMI. For a complete dive into the touchscreen interface, check out the video at the top of the review.

2013 GM 3.6L V-6 VVT DI (LLT) for Buick Enclave


GM’s ubiquitous 3.6L direct-injection V6 is the only engine on offer in the Enclave cranking out the same 288 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque as in the other Lambda crossovers. (The Traverse also uses a 281 horsepower variant on base models.) Those power numbers put the Encore in the middle of the pack with the 240 HP Volvo being the least powerful and the Lincoln MKT being the most powerful at 303 ponies from its 3.7L V6. Having the HP crown wasn’t enough for Ford, so they also make their 365 HP twin-turbo V6  available.

Sending power to the front wheels is a 6-speed transaxle that has been reprogrammed for more civilized shifts and less lag when downshifting. Like last year, you can add AWD for $2,000 more. I should point out now that although the Audi Q7 is still a front heavy crossover, it is the only rear-wheel biased crossover in this segment and as such uses ZF’s silky-smooth 8-speed automatic.

2014 Buick Enclave Exterior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes


The Verano may be an Opel in American clothing, but the Enclave is traditional Buick out on the road. The enormous and high-profile tires (255/65R18), soft suspension and quiet cabin soak up the road around you allowing you to comfortably rack up the highway miles. When the road starts winding, the same tires and springs that allow for a compliant ride conspire with the nearly 5,000lb curb weight to take a toll on handling. That heavy curb weight also has an effect on performance, with the Enclave talking 7.3 seconds to hit 60, nearly a full second behind the Acura. Why? It’s all about the weight with the Acura being 700lbs lighter and even the cast-iron Volvo is 400lbs slimmer. Although I can’t say that 7.3 seconds to get to 60mph is excruciating, even the Infiniti JX35 with a tall first gear and the least torque in the group manages the task before the Buick. Only the ancient Volvo XC90 and the diesel Q7 slot in after the Enclave.

If you’re the kind of shopper that wants to hit the back country roads after dropping the kids off at preschool, the MDX is the clear winner in the segment. Surprisingly, the Enclave didn’t end up at the bottom of the segment when it comes to road manners. That’s where you’ll find the soft, CVT equipped Infiniti and the Volvo. Middle of the road manners and segment average pricing means the Enclave manages a “decidedly Toyota” middle of the pack finish. Unless you select that eight-seat option.

Now I must come back to that full-size SUV digression. If you’re looking for a three row vehicle that seats eight, you don’t have many options. If you want something that seats 8 and had some luxury pretense you have even less choice. It also means you’re going to end up with either a GM Lambda platform crossover, or a luxury body-on-frame product that dates back to the 1990s when “tarted up Tahoes” were all the rage. When pitted against this competition, the Enclave’s handling, steering feel and fuel economy go from class middling to class leading. While the Enclave isn’t as fast as the Escalade or the QX56/QX80, it beats the Lexus to freeway speeds. The Buick is also easier to park, easier on the eyes and easier on the wallet.

After six years on the market, the Buick that started the brand’s resurrection is starting to show its age. The Enclave is crossover in the truest sense of the world straddling the middle ground between the minivan like entries like the Infiniti and the large and thirsty truck-based options like the Cadillac Escalade. My final word is that if you’re looking for a 7-seat three row utility vehicle, there are plenty of better options out there, but if you’re looking for an 8-seat utility vehicle then the Enclave should be on the top of your list. In the end, that 8th seat is probably the best thing the Enclave has going for it.

Buick provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

0-30: 3.06 Seconds

0-60: 7.3 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 15.9 Seconds @ 86 MPH

Average observed fuel economy: 17.5 MPG over 559 miles

Interior sound level at 50 MPH: 68 db

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

66 Comments on “Review: 2014 Buick Enclave (With Video)...”

  • avatar

    I like it, in a Sarah Palin mommy-car kind of way, good review

  • avatar

    I really like the name. It, along with its muscular curves and shield-like nose, makes me feel safe and secure. That feeling is important for suburban moms! It’s like the female version of the ultra-masculine Durango. Anyways, I’m glad GM updated the Enclave and didn’t leave it to wither on the vine as it introduced the sexier European Buicks. Although I think the 2008 look is more distinct (with the bulbousness and the colored pillar), we’ve come a long way since the crap Terraza (check out crash test videos of its rebadge the Venture here: and the Rendevous (which, by the way, were selling for 13k as 1 year old rentals).

  • avatar

    No keyless ignition in a $40-50k car? Lame.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    It should be noted that this is the kind of car Mercedes-Benz needs to build—a large crossover that is clearly not as nice or capable as a GL-Class, but that still seats seven and that has plenty of content—rather than the minivan featured in one of the earlier articles, which will be a rarer sighting than a Bugatti Veyron. Also worth noting is the fact that GM would have you believe that these Lambda CUVs are all-new designs, as would any other automaker that did this kind of overhaul.

    There are still some lingering effects of “Old GM” in this car, like the watered-down infotainment system that you mentioned, the rounded door-handles versus the squared-off ones in just about everything smaller than an Impala, what I presume is still the older, non-switchblade/non-smartkey fob, and the matrix LCD in the instrument panel that they couldn’t be bothered to replace during the facelift. It still doesn’t hold a candle to the Methuselah-aged XC90, but most competitors have fresher-feeling interiors.

    That said, the other vehicles in this class are either sedans that have been upsized and added to until they became large CUVs (MDX, QX60, XC90, MKT), or rugged CUV platforms that were stretched to create seven-seaters (Q7). None of the other competitors sits on a platform that was specifically designed for this class of vehicle. The Lambdas, then, seem like minivans without the sliding doors, and that causes them to excel in quite a few metrics, like ease-of-ingress/egress and overall space. And unlike the XC90, QX60 and MDX, the Enclave features a relatively-simple powertrain that doesn’t require premium fuel.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m offended by the overall terrible mis-match wood, and the unending greyness of the Enclave’s interior though. The MDX has a much better interior.

      But it’s on par with the XC90 which is the same age as my grandmother.

  • avatar


    You forget that traditional mini-vans also have 8-seat options in addition to large crossovers and full-size SUVs. Both the Sienna and Odyssey can be equipped as 8-seaters as well as “luxury pretense” options. Granted, you won’t be hauling 8 adults without complaints, but from my last stint in a Yukon XL I don’t think it’s even as roomy as a minivan.

  • avatar

    Minivan in drag but shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh don’t tell my wife, she hates minivans but has a deep desire for an Enclave since the day they were released 6 years ago.

    GM finally achieved what they couldn’t with the U-body minivan monstrosities, convincing the public that this was a CUV/SUV while retaining most of the advantages of a minivan.

    • 0 avatar

      Right you are, Dan. Except for the missing cargo capacity, these are minivans with hinged doors. I laugh every time I see one. But hey, if it keeps Momma happy, go with it.

  • avatar

    This is a nice car. A close family friend has one, and it works great as a family car (minivan in drag as PDan correctly points out). BUT – my word – the contrast between the wood on the steering wheel and the plasti-tree slathered everywhere else looks ridiculous. So freakin’ sloppy.

  • avatar

    got my ’08 Enclave in April ’07, one of the first ones built. love the ride, style, and utility (7 kids, 8 seats…yeah!).

    the thing has been a service nightmare. transmission replaced, steering system replaced 4 times, stranded repeatedly, three long pages of warranty service problems, leaks everywhere, and a failure to stand behind this lemon on the part of customer assistance. worst GM vehicle I’ve owned in terms of reliability and I’ve had plenty.

    still I think I’ll consider another when they change the body style.

    • 0 avatar

      You still love a car that’s had that many problems?… BMW would love to hear from you

    • 0 avatar

      thats a first year car then? I believe everyone on here, knew better than to buy the first year model of any car irrespective of brand, fame, loyalty blah blah blah…

      • 0 avatar

        I was upset that Tiger got his Enclave before me but I did get my 95 Riviera before anyone I am aware of on a retail basis. I have been a first timer since obtaining my license in 1974 (benefits of a dealer’s son). until my Enclave, initial runs were not problematic.

        in spite of this particular unit, my experience has been enjoyable in that the darn things still look new five years down the road.

    • 0 avatar

      For me, the transmission would be a red flag, and “stranded repeatedly” would mean it’s time to replace it with something else.

      • 0 avatar

        very frustrating indeed, particularly on I75 in the middle of Ohio at 2 in the morning with a bunch of kids. Roadside did show up 20 minutes later and towed us into Columbus but it really was not much fun.

    • 0 avatar

      Your honesty goes a long way Buickman. How many dealers (or fanboys) fess up to a model’s shortcomings on a public forum?

      • 0 avatar

        don’t know about anyone else. I speak for myself and this bundle of bolts sucked when it comes to quality and reliability. even worse is the complete and utter nonsense I had to deal with on the part of GM. their customer assistance is horrible and that is being kind.

        I’ll likely buy another one but in no part due to satisfaction or follow up by the manufacturer. in fact if you ask me I’ll tell you to buy a Ford.

        • 0 avatar

          Then why such loyalty to a company that obviously doesn’t appreciate it, deserves it or earned it?

          • 0 avatar

            I have made a nice living selling Buicks and prefer them over other makes. one bad apple doesn’t spoil the whole bunch.

          • 0 avatar

            As a Buick salesman you’re recommending Fords… I’m not sure your heart’s in it

          • 0 avatar

            well you’ve got a point there my friend. see I love Buicks but am still upset with GM for their lousy follow through regarding this unit. since I also sell Ford the loyalty has diminished to a degree, especially considering what GM did to my adopted Home Town of Flint. still I have literally thousands of clients and friends both working and retired from General Motors. does this qualify as a dichotomy?


      • 0 avatar

        06/13/2011 150610 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction E2320 – Front Wheel Bearing and Hub Replacement 104,458 MI
        05/09/2011 148627 ZPTI—-Part Transaction – Service Agent Installed J3480 – Water Pump Replacement 102,774 MI
        05/09/2011 148627 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction J0820 – Camshaft Timing Chain Replacement 102,774 MI
        10/06/2010 138198 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction J1000 – Pan And/Or Gasket, Oil – Replace 93,404 MI
        06/08/2010 132446 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction L1200 – Fuel Tank Fuel Pump Module Replacement 90,715 MI
        12/10/2009 125425 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction Z7200 – CORPORATE PARTS RETURN REIMBURSEMENT 82,968 MI
        11/25/2009 124890 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction J3100 – Radiator Assembly – Replace 82,663 MI
        11/25/2009 124890 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction K5395 – Fluid Cooler Outlet Hose Replacement 82,663 MI
        11/25/2009 124890 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction K5394 – Fluid Cooler Inlet Hose Replacement 82,663 MI
        11/20/2009 278554 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction Z7200 – CORPORATE PARTS RETURN REIMBURSEMENT 81,993 MI
        11/20/2009 278554 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction Partial Debit Z7200 – CORPORATE PARTS RETURN REIMBURSEMENT 81,993 MI
        11/20/2009 278554 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction Full Debit – Reversal Z7200 – CORPORATE PARTS RETURN REIMBURSEMENT 81,993 MI
        11/20/2009 278554 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction Z7200 – CORPORATE PARTS RETURN REIMBURSEMENT 81,993 MI
        11/20/2009 278554 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction K7000 – Transmission Assembly – Replace 81,993 MI
        11/06/2009 607525 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction Z2080 – ROADSIDE SERVICE (TOWING) 81,000 MI
        10/21/2009 277929 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction K6901 – Seal, Transmission Axle Shaft Oil – Left – Replace 80,903 MI
        10/21/2009 277929 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction Z5000 – DEALER/RETAILER TRADE(PART OBTAINED LOCALLY) 80,903 MI
        07/07/2009 119490 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction E9050 – Power Steering Pump Replacement 74,340 MI
        07/07/2009 119490 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction E9740 – Gear Assembly, Power Steering – Replace 74,340 MI
        07/07/2009 119490 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction E8679 – Power Steering Gear Inlet Pipe/Hose Replacement 74,340 MI
        06/25/2009 580146 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction J7536 – Check Camshaft End Play Both Banks 73,249 MI
        06/25/2009 580146 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction Z7905 – 5-DAY COURTESY TRANSPORTATION 73,249 MI
        05/22/2009 118034 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction Z7200 – CORPORATE PARTS RETURN REIMBURSEMENT 67,916 MI
        05/04/2009 117385 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction T2020 – Towing 67,915 MI
        05/04/2009 117385 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction K7000 – Transmission Assembly – Replace 67,915 MI
        02/04/2009 114753 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction E9050 – Power Steering Pump Replacement 62,348 MI
        11/03/2008 111915 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction L2300 – Catalytic Converter Replacement 55,004 MI
        10/31/2008 111871 ZFAT—-Field Action Recall V1855 – 08091 – Install Wiper Arm Kit 54,859 MI
        08/29/2008 109968 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction N4210 – Display Clock Replacement 49,947 MI
        03/11/2008 104829 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction C8870 – Airbag Passenger Seat Suppression Module Replacement 30,401 MI
        02/19/2008 T52113 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction Z2080 – ROADSIDE SERVICE (TOWING) 28,000 MI
        02/19/2008 T52112 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction Z2080 – ROADSIDE SERVICE (TOWING) 28,000 MI
        02/19/2008 T52111 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction Z2080 – ROADSIDE SERVICE (TOWING) 28,000 MI
        10/09/2007 100656 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction Z7200 – CORPORATE PARTS RETURN REIMBURSEMENT 12,276 MI
        09/20/2007 100141 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction C2860 – Front Floor Console Replacement 12,275 MI
        09/06/2007 099736 ZFAT—-Field Action Recall V1696 – 07217 – Reprogram the TCM/ECM 11,179 MI
        09/06/2007 099736 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction J5491 – Throttle Body Gasket Replacement 11,179 MI
        08/24/2007 099407 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction Z7200 – CORPORATE PARTS RETURN REIMBURSEMENT 9,106 MI
        07/26/2007 098566 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction Z7200 – CORPORATE PARTS RETURN REIMBURSEMENT 7,949 MI
        07/26/2007 098566 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction L2300 – Catalytic Converter Replacement 7,949 MI
        07/16/2007 098267 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction Z7200 – CORPORATE PARTS RETURN REIMBURSEMENT 5,302 MI
        07/08/2007 N64115 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction Z2084 – ROADSIDE SERVICE (FLAT TIRE) 6,231 MI
        06/27/2007 N39378 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction Z2080 – ROADSIDE SERVICE (TOWING) 5,000 MI
        06/27/2007 097796 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction J4226 – Plugs, Spark – One – Replace 5,301 MI
        06/27/2007 097796 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction Z5001 – VIP FREIGHT/POSTAGE REIMBURESEMENT 5,301 MI
        06/27/2007 097796 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction Z7902 – 2-DAY COURTESY TRANSPORTATION 5,301 MI
        06/27/2007 097796 ZREG—-Regular Vehicle Transaction L1200 – Fuel Tank Fuel Pump Module Replacement 5,301 MI
        05/03/2007 096383 ZPDI—-Pre-Delivery Inspection Z6999 – PDI Related Fluid Adds 9 MI
        05/01/2007 A01078 ZPDI—-Pre-Delivery Inspection Z7000 – Pre-Delivery Inspection – Base Time 0 MI

        this does not include the many more things I have had to have repaired at my own expense on my way to current 170,000 miles. GM Quality is an oxymoron.

        • 0 avatar

          Holy scheien, BM.

          You’re a masochist.

          I’d run so far & fast from any vehicle with a problem list 1/10th the length of that and never, ever consider another vehicle from the producer of such a heap for the rest of my life, especially since they’ve apparently done little to nothing to atone for their sins against you.

    • 0 avatar

      The Lambdas are among the least reliable on the road. They are generally good, according to TrueDelta, until about year 3. The ’07 was an exception, I believe they were bad from the start. I believe the ’08, the first year for the Buick, is the worst of all. Generally when people show up at the Acadia forum (I hung around there when I owned a ’10 Outlook) and asked about buying an ’08, the answer was no, regardless of price.

      The ’11 seems to be heading down hill, right on time.

      GM nailed this formula in 2007, now it’s one of many decent 3 row CUVs. I’d be reluctant to buy one of these unless I was one of those crazy people who buy a new car every 2-3 years.

      • 0 avatar

        Lutz used to claim that GM switched from designing components for a 50,000 mile lifespan to a 100/150,000 mile lifespan. Looks like they switched back to the 50k lifespan for the Lambdas.

  • avatar

    >>The Verano beats Acura and Lexus at the entry-luxury game <<

    Edmunds doesn't agree. The Buick rates lower:

    neither does Consumer Reports.

    • 0 avatar

      And there are other publications that agree with the original assessment. Make up your own mind.

    • 0 avatar

      Edmunds will never rate a GM product better than an import. CR is all over the map and I rarely ever trust there assessments. The best rating is to drive them yourself. The superior and more powerful 2.4/automatic from the Verano plus it’s better ride and quieter interior plus nicer overall interior ambiance quickly swayed me over to the Buick. The turbo model is icing on the cake.

    • 0 avatar

      Thanks for the information. I’m sure the article will be updated shortly to comply with the prevailing dogma.

  • avatar

    One lovely ride. This IS the new Electra 225, albeit in a different guise.

    I sure wish I needed one of these…

  • avatar

    In consideration of large crossovers, it’s worth bearing in mind that the Ford / Lincoln Ecoboost V6 matters more when you actually plan on using all 7 or 8 seats in the vehicle for passengers whose ages are in double digits.

  • avatar

    I would think people would cross shop the Flex when looking at these, and I think I’d rather have the Flex. The front isn’t as good looking and it has a dumb name but the Ecoboost makes up for that.

  • avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    I would buy the shit out of a Voltec edition of this, with a 30kWh battery and a rear electric motor to go with the FWD engine/motor combo.

  • avatar

    Is it unusual (unsafe?) for the third row center seat to not have a headrest? Whiplash, anyone?

  • avatar

    I bought a 2010 seven-passenger Enclave in 2010 as an ex-Olympic fleet vehicle. Full load, and the fake wood is the same colour as the real wood on the steering wheel. It’s been a great car for 74,000 km so far. Only failures have been a wonky rear wiper switch and the passenger seat heater, but the (GM extended) warranty covered those. Big quality and ride upgrade over the 2003 Montero Limited we had, and light years ahead of the 1998 TransPort minivan before that. Visibility is not great – the “A” pillars are the size of tree trunks and the back window is small. Fits my two teenagers and their friends no problem. If you get the tow package, it has surprisingly high tow limits. Fuel mileage is not bad given the size of the vehicle. The Enclave serves its intended purpose well, looks great and costs much less than its Infiniti, Audi and Acura comparables. I spent a week in a loaded rental Flex, and would have to give the win to GM for interior and exterior design.

  • avatar

    I just don’t get these things. If you need a minivan, buy a minivan. They are nice enough, but a Chrysler Town & Country is a lot more useful.

    • 0 avatar

      I bought my Saturn Outlook because I needed minivan like space but needed to tow a moderate pop up trailer. Our Odyssey did it, but I was maxed out and thought I would be getting a larger trailer at some point. With 5200 lbs towing, these are a nice bridge between a minivan and a BOF SUV for those who need to tow.

  • avatar

    The Lucerne had a different steering wheel – the same used in the Impala Limited. This wheel is smaller and feels a lot better. The Enclave’s wheel carries over but is the same used in the GMT-900s and Express/Savana.

    • 0 avatar
      GS 455

      Is this why the Enclave doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel? It seems odd considering that it’s positioned above the Traverse yet the Chevy has on optional heated wheel.

  • avatar
    Eric the Red

    Ordered a 2008 Enclave from the factory. Loved it for 3 years and then, as in many love affairs, it just went to hell. A/C problems, Water pump went out, and the Dealership could never seem to fix anything and if they did manage to fix it they broke something else in the process (and never seemed to notice the cracks in the radio they broke or the NEW squeaks and rattles that just appeared after they worked on it).
    If I was going to make monthly car repair payment then why not make car payments.
    I could not despite my 3 years of satisfaction buy another Enclave due to the current un-repairable and un-reliable Enclave. I looked around and the Ford Flex seemed to be the closest comparable vehicle. My wife had never liked the looks of the flying box but she, being tired of driving a sub-compact loaner car, agreed to take a test drive. The Flex is as nice as the Enclave. It may not have the same style or looks but it drives as nice and in some ways better. The second row captain’s chair in the Enclave are not that comfortable. Due to their built-in tumble and access to the third row they are lacking in ergonomics. We opted for the second row bench seat in the Flex and WOW is it big and comfortable. I don’t know of any seating anywhere as big as this bench. The third row in the Buick was slightly better but the Flex is good.
    I tried GM quality but found it lacking in the long run.

    • 0 avatar

      One of the things I always do when assessing a vehicle is check what it’s like to sit behind the drivers seat when it’s adjusted for my 6′ frame. The majority of vehicles come up short, either in leg room or seat height if not both. When we looked at the Chevrolet Travers it did not impress in this regard. Flex gives adults a very comfy place to ride in the second row.

  • avatar

    Hi Alex – Loved your review!

    I am cross-shopping the Audi Q7 3.0T S-line and the Acura MDX advanced and find that the audi is just going to be about 3.5k more expensive than the Acura. I know you mentioned that an audi shopper is probably not going to look at the Acura in this review. But I was just wondering what is your opinion on the Q7 vs MDX.

    I also noticed that consumer reports recently said the 2013 model year Q7 has shown above average reliability and that combined with the first model year for Acura has me thinking Audi might not be a bad choice.

    Thanks much!

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      I like the new MDX but the Audi has a bit more class. Much of what you will be paying for is the brand name, but the Audi will get you the 8-speed automatic as well. I think I would buy the MDX and save the 3.5K, but that’s just me.

  • avatar

    “The Enclave is exactly 6/10ths of an inch shorter than the big Caddy and rides on a wheelbase nearly three inches longer. The Buick is 5 inches shorter than the Cadillac making it easier to get in a short garage, but its just as wide at 79 inches.”

    So…the Buick is both 6/10ths of an inch AND 5 inches shorter than the Caddy at the same time? The Great Wiki leans more towards the 6/10ths number.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m pretty sure the 6/10ths” refers to a shorter length than the Cadillac and the 5″ shorter refers to height. Yes it’s confusing, but things can be short in both length and height.

  • avatar

    After buying GM for over 20 years, buickman s story reminds me why I probably would never seriously consider buying another GM product, particularly a Buick, whose line is almost entirely rebadged opels. I’m not Charlie brown and GM is not Lucy.

  • avatar

    If you have 3 or more kids and do not want to drive a mini-van or full-sized truck-based SUV, you get the appeal of these; the Lambda platform is the only practical choice. We looked at all options at the past two auto shows, and there are no other vehicles (that I’m aware of) that has as much space behind the 3rd row……Durango, GL-class, LR3, Q7, Pathfinder, Explorer…nope.

    The Lambda platform has been such a success, I dont understand why other manufacturers cannot replicate the functionality….the vehicle has to have enough space BEHIND the 3rd row that you can utilize it for typical errands/storage without fiddling with the 3rd row seating. If my wife cannot fit a stroller back there, it’s DOA.

    We have a 2013 Acadia that replaced a 2010 Acadia with 45k; the 2010 had a few minor issues, and the 2013 has been flawless (7k). The 2010 replaced a 2007 Q7, which was the most problematic of the three. I don’t drive the car often, which is fine as I dont like the drive-train or seating position, but my wife loves it. I agree that around 50k seems to be the time to get rid of these…perfect lease candidates and the residuals were surprisingly high.

  • avatar

    As usual with Buick, the trim between the rear hatch and tail lamps isn’t aligned properly. Sigh. This design is looking quite old as well. The new face can’t save it, too similar to the old ones.

    I’m very happy about the emblem on the c-pillar, though. Love me some pillar emblems. Volvo does it sometimes on top trim XC’s as well. I’ve also seen that on select S80s. I’m glad this is making a comeback, since it died out around the end of the Monte Carlo.

    The fake wood is horrendous, and puts me in mind of the special GREEN “wood” on the 04 Acura RL.

    Is the metal around the gauges and center stack real, or plastic?

  • avatar

    Also, I feel if you asked the average person at a mall, parking an Enclave and an Acadia side by side (Denali version, obviously) “Which is more expensive?” 8 of 10 would say the Acadia.

    • 0 avatar

      This. Because MOAR CHROME!

      The blacked out Explorer Sport is even more upscale.

      • 0 avatar

        What’s worse, I always just assumed the GMC was the most expensive variant. And I bet in 5 years, the GMC will be worth more. I’d argue they have a better brand image than Buick, because Buick still equals Century or Park Avenue to many people, which equals old and uncool.

Read all comments

Recent Comments

  • FreedMike: I agree on the graphics – the Mustang’s basic shape is just lovely, and it’s a shame to...
  • Tim Healey: You can build the car with less ostentatious graphics — what’s shown here is mostly optional.
  • FreedMike: You could always get a Charger. Wait… Seriously, though, if I was going the Mopar route, I’d...
  • Vae Victis: “But the biggest expense has to be the over $500 billion that’s been earmarked for “climate...
  • 285exp: You keep saying things are the same as other things, when they’re not. Having the cold affecting ICE vehicles...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber