By on April 13, 2017

2018 Buick Enclave Avenir Front 3/4, Image: © 2017 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

The second-generation Buick Enclave will be the first model in the brand’s lineup to gussy itself up in an Avenir cloak.

While Buick’s extra-lux sub-brand will soon attach itself to other models, the redesigned 2018 Enclave unveiled at this week’s New York International Auto Show serves as the vanguard of the automaker’s upselling ploy. If GMC can do it with Denali, Buick’s going to try its best to scoop up those extra bucks.

For 2018, the three-row, full-size crossover gains freshened styling that doesn’t diverge too much from the previous iteration. Riding atop the C1XX platform, which it shares with the Chevrolet Traverse, the new Enclave sees the same weight loss gifted to other products in the GM lineup. Porkiness has dropped about 350 pounds, wheelbase is up just a touch, overall height has dropped, and fuel economy has improved.

2018 Buick Enclave Avenir Profile, Image: © 2017 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

With this new Enclave, the waterfall grille that graced the front of so many recent Buicks is gone, replaced by the corporate face seen on the 2017 LaCrosse and 2018 Regal. That treatment first appeared on the 2015 Avenir show car, which became the inspiration for the new design direction and sub-brand. As such, the new Enclave isn’t quite as bulbous as its predecessor. It does, however, retain pronounced bodyside curves.

As before, there’s a single engine choice. For 2018, GM’s direct-injection 3.6-liter V6 sees its output rise from 288 horsepower to 302 hp. Torque drops from 270 to 260 lb-ft. All of this power is now more efficiently managed by a nine-speed automatic transmission, replacing the previous six-speed, while a standard start/stop system ekes out some added economy. Recreational types should applaud the increase in towing capacity — from 4,200 to 5,000 pounds.

The improvements in weight and power application sees fuel economy grow to 17 miles per gallon city, 25 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined in front-wheel drive vehicles, while the all-wheel drive version now gets 17 mpg city, 24 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined. That’s up 2 mpg (combined) from 2017 models.

In the interests of economy and convenience, the intelligent all-wheel drive system is now switchable — a first for the brand.

2018 Buick Enclave Avenir Rear 3/4, Image: © 2017 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

Though Buick hasn’t made the Enclave any longer than past models, interior volume has grown by 10 percent. Part of that boost in room comes from the addition of an underfloor storage space totaling 3.1 cubic feet. For those who use the rear liftgate often, Buick has added a new convenience feature — a spotlight that shines on the ground, showing the overloaded owner where to move their foot in order to activate the hands-free hatch.

All models — Essence, Premium and Avenir — gain an air ionizer. After all, even Buick occupants are not immune from lapses in hygiene. Increased sound deadening measures should lower interior decibels.

So, what about this Avenir? Buick hasn’t released pricing yet, but it can be assumed that moving up to Avenir means dispensing with a not-insignificant amount of cash. You’ll be able to tell one from outside by its glitzy, 20-inch pearl-nickel-finish wheels, special badging, and black mesh grille.

Inside is where the sub-brand tries to generate those extra consumer dollars. Avenir customers see premium exterior colors, higher-quality interiors (with embroidery on the headrest, if such a thing tickles you), a wood-accented steering wheel, and side sills emblazoned with the Avenir name. Buick plans to make damn sure that passengers know that this isn’t just a regular Enclave.

The 2018 Buick Enclave and its Avenir alter ego should arrive at dealers this fall, with pricing announced closer to the release date.

[Images: © 2017 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars]

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50 Comments on “NYIAS 2017: Buick’s 2018 Enclave Gets the Avenir Treatment...”

  • avatar

    A Buick version of the Denali designation?

    I get why they are doing it, but the sound deadening is the only thing here that will make a significant difference in the drive. If they offer a different suspension set up (read: softer than its two brothers within reason and safety limits)and specific comfort and entertainment options (specifically for rear passengers) not available in the other two, then this will make more sense.

    Otherwise, it will be not much better than old GM-style badge engineering.

  • avatar

    That vent in the fender is just sad.

    Is that what our portholes are reduced to?

  • avatar

    Oh cuz yeah that’s just what the doctor ordered.

    F*** you GM.

    • 0 avatar

      Such anger?

    • 0 avatar

      Such anger for a vehicle that has outsold the MDX this decade and we still don’t get a 3.6l twin turbocharged engine like Ford/Lincoln.

      Or 12/36 lease residuals for the Enclave are only 4% behind a MDX?

    • 0 avatar

      Some might be angry but this is pitch perfect by GM. They know the audience. People are not buying any CUV, much less a Buick CUV, for performance. They want luxury. So give it to them. Don’t BS around. If automakers are going to forget about the enthusiast, I would rather they do this right. Give ’em the big middle finger, why not?

      My only gripe here is they didn’t bring back the Park Avenue name and the pillow velour. That kind of interior is really ideal for the fat asses which will be settling in the seats of these things.

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    “17 mpg city, 24 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined.”

    Not that impressive on this van, when a Tahoe is now 16/22.

    • 0 avatar

      I think these big honkers were GMs hedge back in the pre-bankruptcy days when gas was much more expensive. Of course, they’re humongous, and larded up with features, so a unit-body isn’t going to realize much in weight savings overall. That plus a V6.

      • 0 avatar
        Corey Lewis

        They’re much too far into them now to stop. Plus, they’re good money.

        But I don’t view the Lambdas as good vehicles.

      • 0 avatar

        “I think these big honkers were GMs hedge back in the pre-bankruptcy days when gas was much more expensive.”

        For the money these cost, IMO the Jeep Grand Cherokee is a much better buy. Plus the JGC can be had in AWD, 4×4, with a V6, or a 5.7L V8, or a 6.2L V8.

        Much more choice!

        • 0 avatar
          Corey Lewis

          JGC does not have seven seats, is no-go for many.

          • 0 avatar

            The Durango is its platform and drive-train mate and it can be had with seven seats.

            We considered the 2012 Enclave AWD CLX. IMO no match for the 2012 JGC Overland Summit 4×4 V6, or V8.

            Even though I’m old, and anything Buick is perceived as old people’s rides, the JGC was clearly the better value, with the Durango as an alternative with seven seats. We didn’t need seven seats.

            But like I said, different strokes for different folks.

            If I’m going to spend my own money, I want the most value for it, both coming and going.

            I don’t see GM in today’s market as a good value. Ford is better, and the JGC is even better in this niche.

            And I’m NO Fiatsler fan.

    • 0 avatar

      Yea the combined ratings on the Enclave are 19 and 20. That’s with a V6, 9-speed, and an ~4400lb weight.

      The Tahoe’s combined ratings are 18 and 19 with the V8, a 6A from 2005, and an ~5400 lb curb weight.

      • 0 avatar
        Corey Lewis

        We are not gaining much here, these days. But point out both vehicles to a consumer, and ask them what miles per gallon they think they get.

        Tahoe: “About twelve.”
        Enclave: “Twenty three?”

    • 0 avatar

      Our rented Emclave Premium FWD was getting 26 mpg highway 45 minutes, two way average. The man speed trans should help.

    • 0 avatar

      If a Tahoe in real-world use gets 16 in the city, I’ll eat a Chevy keychain.

      My G8 was rated at 13 and was lucky to get 11. It was OK on the highway.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s interesting how the Tahoe wasn’t affected with the new tougher mileage standard that changed many 2017 models with lower numbers. Example 2.5 6 speed automatic Camry was rated 25/35 for 2016 but is now rated 22/33. The 2.5 Fusion was also affected with 22/34 for 2016 now 21/32. The Mazda 6 was hit really hard with the automatic going from 38 to 35 and the stick dropping to 34. I’m thinking that the new Enclave and Traverse are being rated with this new stricter mileage standard too and will be capable of 25-26 on the highway with AWD and the new LGX 3.6.

      The new XT5 with this same engine and the 8 speed are rated 27 on the highway with FWD and 26 with AWD. A fellow colleague has had one since new late last year and has taken several long distance trips with it. She says 28 is not at all hard to see with her Luxury AWD XT5 so perhaps the Enclaves will out perform the new ratings. Time will tell.

  • avatar

    9-speed, oh no. It’s not that dreaded ZF unit, is it?

  • avatar

    I see a little too much Infiniti JX and Kia Sorento in it, but I like it. I also have a weird, inexplicable soft spot for Buicks that is based on nothing other than my inclination to root for the underdog.
    Interior is pretty. Overall this is much more tasteful and restrained than the new Navigator.

  • avatar

    For the current Chevrolet Traverse owners wanting to step up in class! Looks like the current Traverse!

  • avatar

    We might bitch about this thing, but GM is going to sell everyone of them that they build. For a decent profit.

    • 0 avatar

      In China perhaps.

      • 0 avatar

        You know as a Chevy guy I was always a huge Buick fan but I’m not putting up with gm building Buick in China. It just feels wrong to me on a personal level. I would no longer consider (aspire?) to buying a new Buick because they are building them in China, not just for the Chinese market, but for our market too. I’d sooner buy a Chinese branded car made in China than a Buick made in China, just because of the history of that brand. This is just an emotional feeling, not one based on facts and reason and an understanding of our global automotive manufacturing process these days.

        • 0 avatar

          Nothing wrong with China cars here now. They are not just crappy econoboxes but near-luxury and usually compete well within their segments.

          Our 2016 Envision is just as well built as our 2014 XTS Vsport Platinum built in Canada. Actually we have another Canadian cuv, Sweedish wagon, and Austailian made, so not many US built cars in our driveway.

          The paint quality and fit-finish exceed the half out of whack trim piece and wrong color paint on a Mexican built Cruze hatch I saw recently.

          • 0 avatar

            I was very surprised at the level of fit and finish on every Envision I checked out while waiting for my oil change a few weeks ago. I could find very little to complain about. It was superior to several Lincoln MKX’s that were sitting brand new next door.

            The Enclave is not going to be built in China and shipped here however. That is according to my local dealer’s manager.

        • 0 avatar

          Wait. Are these pigs going to be built in China? Even with the coming tariffs? Disappointing if that’s corrrct.

  • avatar

    First generation was achingly pretty. Facelift was OK but not as elegant; this new one has become undifferentiated SUV tonnage.

  • avatar

    Avenir needs the v8 and awd and the 10speed

    • 0 avatar

      That would better the Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.7L HEMI 4×4 by a couple of cogs.

      But the Buick is still a fundamentally RWD platform, and the JGC a RWD platform.

  • avatar

    I’m kind of disappointed with the greenhouse. The thick D-pillar at the rear is a bit too thick and hurts rear visibility and is a step backwards from the earlier model.

  • avatar

    At GM headquarters:
    “Why did they call it ‘Avenir’?”
    “Some bigwig misspelled ‘Avenue’ and no one dared to call him on it.”
    “Do they know that ‘a venir’ means ‘to come’ in Spanish?”
    “… most likely not…”

  • avatar

    I was honestly let down by the Avenir treatment. They teased something along the lines of a lite personalzation program, something similar to Lincoln’s Black Label. What we got is pretty much Buick’s Denali: up charging for a name and a different color leather and wood trim. Nothing special.

  • avatar

    I’m curious if the downgrade in torque output for the 3.6 is a mistake like GM has done in the past on press releases. It doesn’t make sense that it would go down with a two generations newer engine design in a vehicle this large and with increased towing capacity. Note that this very same engine makes 282 in the LaCrosse and 284 in the Camaro and Cadillac sedan lineup.

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