By on September 20, 2017

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Occasionally, we at TTAC allow you to do our jobs for a day and offer a reader review of your own ride. Here is a review of the outgoing Buick Enclave from reader thegamper.

A decade. That’s how long General Motors’ Lambda platform has been in production. Not many volume vehicles can claim such longevity, especially those sold primarily to retail customers.

The last remaining Lambda is now in the throes of death. I was unable to definitively verify, but the last Lambda in any variety, the Buick Enclave, may have rolled off the assembly line in mid-May, right as GM was announcing layoffs at its Lansing Delta Township Assembly plant ahead of retooling for the 2018 model. New Enclaves ride on a new platform.

I think a look back is appropriate as we come full circle from a time when the Buick Enclave was the first of the Lambdas, to today, when it’s now the last of its kind. The Enclave is the final Lambda model produced in 2017, but examples will likely linger on dealer lots in significant numbers into 2018.

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In 2006, GM showed the nearly production-ready Buick Enclave at the North American International Auto Show. This is after GM’s U-body minivan flopped. The minivan segment was tanking, and a decision was made to give the GM minivan a dirt nap and focus on vehicles people would buy, hopefully for a profit.

Enter the Lambda platform. The first models to go on sale were the Saturn Outlook (RIP) and GMC Acadia, both beginning production in late 2006 as 2007 models. This was followed by the 2008 Buick Enclave and later by the 2009 Chevrolet Traverse.

The Chevy, predictably, was the least expensive and most plebian offering. The GMC was the trucky “professional grade” version, whatever that means. The Enclave was the upscale version that got the party started with a crowd-pleasing, and dare I say iconic, design at a time when GM was trying desperately to remake its image.

I’ll begin this review with some background — context is everything, after all. I have three kids, ages seven to 11. As a father of three, my family-hauler fleet over the years has included a 2009 Ford Flex Limited FWD, a 2011 Honda Odyssey EX-L, a 2014 Buick Enclave Leather Group FWD, and presently a 2017 Buick Enclave Leather AWD.  This last go-round I considered the Infiniti QX60, Mazda CX-9, Ford Flex, and Acura MDX, but ended up with another dish of Lambda.

I did consider the Enclave in 2009. However, I ended up with the Flex due to my wagon fetish and the fact that Ford offered employee pricing at the time. The Flex served my young family incredibly well. It was comfortable, capable, semi luxurious, had excellent road manners, and could carry our babies and gear. Where the Flex and most other family-oriented vehicles falter is on long trips, which require you to carry mountains of gear, clothing, and food over long distances.

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Thus, after the Flex, my wife was determined to go for function over form and we decided on a Honda Odyssey in 2011. After three years in the Odyssey, my wife decided she’d had enough minivan to last a lifetime and required something else, anything else, provided it wasn’t shaped like a minivan. I was completely on board for ditching the automotive equivalent of “mom jeans” and set out to find a suitable replacement.

In hindsight, the Odyssey was perhaps the least satisfying vehicle I have ever owned — for a variety of reasons. It made the Flex shine that much brighter and brought me back to the sensuous curves of the Buick Enclave, which was priced a bit too steep back in 2009.

This time however, it was able to seduce me with the price concessions required of a six-year-old model (with a minor 2014 refresh).

Interior

The Enclave, though billed as a luxury crossover, has what I consider a “nicer” interior vs a luxury interior. It all fits together very well, with plenty of soft touches where your fingers are likely to wander. The vinyl padding covering the dash, which mimics the real leather of the seats, is a nice visual touch, as is the accent lighting wrapping around the dash and over the front doors.

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With widely adjustable seats, it’s an easy car in which to find a comfortable driving position. I don’t even have to adjust the seat or tilt the wheel to comfortably drive the Enclave using the same settings as my wife, who is five inches shorter than myself. The second row provides plenty of legroom and can slide fore and aft about six inches. The second row’s captain’s chairs make access to the third row easy.

Alternatively, the second row seats slide forward, with the seat bottom lifting to allow access to the third row. The third row itself is a somewhat comfortable place to be, even for people with long legs. We use the third row almost exclusively for my 11-year-old, who stands 5’8” (and is more limber than an adult). The ability to transport full-sized humans in the third row is a rarity among three-row crossovers and perhaps the Lambda’s greatest draw.

Not only that, but there is actual usable cargo space behind that third row. Even a two-child stroller fits back there. A small well in the cargo area is about four inches deep and provides additional storage. The Odyssey offers something similar, but the Honda’s is much deeper. The problem is easily remedied with a few accessories, such as a cargo box for use on long trips (pictured), which makes the available cargo room on par with an actual minivan.

With rows two and three folded, you have a cavernous cargo hold with a flat floor. If you’re so inclined, you can transport 4×8 sheets of plywood and sheetrock from Home Depot, though you won’t be able to lay them fully flat or close the hatch.

Ample cup holders, USB ports, and vents are found throughout. However, the Enclave falters when it comes to the interior details and features. The IntelliLink infotainment system is entirely adequate, but lacks a large screen and does not include Android Auto or Apple Carplay. The driver information display in the instrument cluster, while perfectly functional, is reminiscent of the dot-matrix era.

While there’s an appropriate amount of brightwork around the gauges, the faux wood is appallingly faux. Even the allegedly real wood on the steering wheel is not very convincing. As a substitute for wood grain on the fake bits, there is what I would call a tie-dye or blotchwork pattern that’s unlike any piece of wood I have ever seen. I will say that the faux wood treatment looks better in black than brown.

The ugliest thing about the Enclave and other Lambdas is something easily hideable: the key. The ‘90s called and wants its keys back. Quite a letdown in a world where most new vehicles come with stylish fobs with gizmos and do-dads you’d be happy to display. Alas, pushbutton proximity entry and pushbutton start are not available.

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Additionally, both the front and rear moonroof panels have a decidedly not luxurious manually operated sunshade. Knobs and switchgear are also a touch low rent for a vehicle with to a mid $40K MSRP, but they look and work well enough and don’t detract from the family hauling mission.

Exterior

The Enclave saw a few exterior tweaks for the 2014 model year. Among them, a monochromatic paint scheme, a new hood, new grill, LED exterior lighting, and the puzzling migration of the signature Buick portholes to a position pointing skyward.

The basic leather model I leased in 2014 had smaller, but tasteful, wheels. While the facelifted Enclave retains the overall egg-like shape of the original, a larger and higher grill places a bit more emphasis on the Enclave’s swooping shoulders. The Leather Package trim adds HID headlights, chrome door handles, chrome roof rails, body colored mirrors, and excellent Michelin tires.

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Buick’s Enclave is pleasantly shaped, standing out in a sea of me-too crossovers. In order to satisfy my enthusiast urges, I opted for the Sport Touring Package on the 2017 model. Despite its name, the package probably actually hampers performance with additional unsprung weight, thanks to massive chrome rims with black pocket inserts.

The wheels and blacked-out grill (with chrome pinstripes that come with the Sport Touring package) adds just enough visual flair to overcome some of the boredom of leasing the same vehicle for two consecutive terms.

At the end of the day, despite its age, the Enclave still looks the part of a thoroughly modern car.

Safety

Enclave earns a “great” safety rating in both Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) results. It contains a bevy of airbags, including one between the two front passengers, which may be a first.

It also has blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, plus a backup camera and an audible lane departure warning. The warnings are welcome, but automatic braking remains absent. Perhaps it’s a bonus, depending on your view – I have certainly not been a fan of radar cruise control in newer vehicles.

On the Road

One thing nobody will ever accuse any of the Lambda-based vehicles of is excessive power/acceleration. The 3.6-liter V6, which produces 288 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque, is just adequate for a vehicle with this much mass (Nearly 5,000 pounds, depending on configuration). Instrumented tests generally put the 0-60 time at just over 8 seconds, which feels about right. Even at full throttle, the big Buick does not feel peppy in any way, shape, or form. That said, it never feels overworked.

Weight aside, the engine still allows for passing on two-lane roads and merging onto the highway without too much effort.

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I find the six-speed automatic transmission smooth and compliant, with no annoying gear-hunting. It doesn’t upshift too early, either. On a recent 500-mile round trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes with the vehicle packed with roughly 1,200 pounds of passengers and gear, the Enclave spent a considerable amount of time in fifth gear at 80 mph on any stretch of pavement that wasn’t completely flat or downhill. The Enclave has a tow rating of 4,500 pounds when properly equipped, and while I don’t doubt it is possible, that would certainly be a very taxing load for this vehicle.

The Enclave’s supple ride is not the wallowy, tippy, roll-and-dive kind of supple you might expect from Buicks of yore. It stays planted and feels in control, which is the kind of feeling you want while transporting precious cargo. The steering is fairly numb, but precise.

Braking always feels direct, linear, and strong. Nothing about the Enclave makes you want to seek out its limits on the road, which is just as it should be. Quiet, comfortable, confident. This is a family hauler, after all.

After turning in the 2014 model and driving off in the 2017 model, I can definitively state that the smaller wheels with more rubber between rim and road provide a noticeably better ride than the flashy 20-inch rims on my 2017 model. That’s the price you pay for visual flair.

Additionally, my 2017 was equipped with a two-panel moonroof. As much as I enjoy seeing the sky and having natural light enter the fray, a certain amount of wind noise at high speeds had me looking up and questioning the wisdom of ticking that option. Due to the smallish rear window, rear visibility is also an issue, particularly if you leave the third row up or carry passengers back there. Thankfully, a backup camera is standard. Wind and road noise are otherwise kept to a minimum in the cabin, with the moonroof being the exception.

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In my mind, the addition of all-wheel drive (AWD) adds unnecessary weight and provides no discernable performance improvement for the average driver. Even for people (like me) living in the Snow Belt, AWD is only a benefit a few days a year. Unless you tow with regularity or live in an area where snow plows do not frequent, the weight/fuel economy penalty is simply not worth it.

Which brings me to the Lambda’s low point: fuel economy. It is varying degrees of below average. Expect mid-teens in normal mixed driving. On my recent road trip, I saw just under 18 mpg on the highway. Granted, the vehicle was quite stocked with gear inside and out, but it doesn’t get much better — the very low 20s on the highway is probably the best you should expect in an AWD Lambda when unburdened with extra weight and aerodynamic drag.

The Lambda’s Legacy

GM sought to create a minivan replacement with the Lambda, hopping on the people-mover bandwagon. I submit, and Tim Cain will certainly agree, that nothing can replace the cold efficiency of the minivan for people who need the space on a regular basis.

Depending on your number of children, the decision to purchase a minivan versus any crossover alternative may very well be made for you, as more people + more stuff = more minivan. I have driven many of the three-row crossovers over the years and have come away with one clear conclusion about the Lambdas: these crossovers are among a small handful of CUVs capable of replacing a minivan in terms of passenger volume and cargo volume.

There is simply not much else out there that isn’t shaped like a van that can comfortably carry adult-sized third-row occupants and leave cargo space behind said third row. For the occasional long trip, a roof-mounted or hitch-mounted cargo box fills the void between Lambda and minivan.

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As such, I think GM hit a relative home run with the Lambdas. This is evidenced in school pick-up lines and the parking lots at kids’ soccer games. It was the right vehicle to build at the time and its practical usefulness and functionality automatically put it on shopping lists of a large swath of the population, despite some glaring omissions on the option sheet later in its life. By offering it in so many flavors across such a wide price range, GM increased the appeal even further.

If you look at the sales figures for the GM Lambdas, they sold at a low 200k/year volume for most of their existence, close to the combined sales of the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan in those same years.

Though cash on the hood has certainly helped to move Lambdas of late, I think a thoughtful design and a Goldilocks sizing strategy was just right for minivan intenders to cross over (see what I did there), so much so that GM was able to keep sales fairly strong for a decade. With regard to the Enclave, its styling has held up well in my opinion. It’s still a handsome shape, even somewhat elegant, 10 years on.

2017 Buick Enclave

The new-for-2018 redesign clearly follows the form its predecessor set, which seems like a rarity for many GM vehicles. The mandatory diet the Traverse and Enclave have been put on for their next iteration, the continuing emphasis on functional passenger/cargo space that exceeds the competition, and some much-needed tech updates should be a recipe for a successful follow-up.

The Lambda, its successors, and competitors who creep ever closer to minivan-sized interior volumes will likely continue pushing the decline of the sliding-door segment, like it or not. Not to worry though, the Odyssey will at least have a second calling in autocross circuits if the family hauling gig doesn’t pan out – a feat I doubt the Lambdas could ever have accomplished.

[Images: thegamper, General Motors]

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62 Comments on “Reader Review: 2017 Buick Enclave, the Lambda’s Long Kiss Goodnight...”


  • avatar

    Hey Kroger(s) – somebody is Midwestern.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Props for the Long Kiss Goodnight reference.

  • avatar

    You know what this is, essentially? It’s a 2004 Buick Century. Lots of components from other GM vehicles, all at or near the end of their lifespan. A Tahoe key from 2000, a steering wheel from a Lucerne, engine from a W-body.

    Toss it all in there.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I do recall that it was scary easy to get the Enclave into the $50K range on pricing once the popular options are added.

    Personally I’d rather have a Yukon/Tahoe at that price (if I loved my GM dealer) but for those who SHOULD have a minivan but can’t stand the thought – here’s your Buick/Chevy/GMC minivan.

    • 0 avatar

      Think of all the money Lexus has missed, not having a 3-row RX all these years.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        GX? LX?

        Perhaps Lexus wants you to have a real truck for your three row dreams?

        • 0 avatar

          Losin sales, man! Those two are just too dear for the $50K max customer.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          The GX’s third row is not particularly useful, partially because the GX is mid-sized and narrow, and partially because it’s got a solid axle under there. Sometime in 2017, Lexus introduced a Sport Design package, which comes with different front and rear bumpers (with satin chrome accents), altered mirrors, different rear light pods, and—most notably—captain’s chairs for the second row, making it a 6-seater.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’d have to compare specs to a Tahoe, but the GX is at least of similar size and it sells well with an optional third row (or at least it did in GMT900). Personally I don’t think a third row is useful at all in anything less than a Surburban size class but we have to pretend a midsize SUV makes more sense than a van for people hauling.

      • 0 avatar
        legacygt

        Yes. There are a couple of manufacturers that have inexplicably missed the boat on this one. Lexus and Jeep really stand out because they have both have vehicles at their disposal (Highlander and Durango) that could be leveraged with about 2 weeks of engineering/design time.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Jeep did indeed have a three-row vehicle – remember the Commander?

          (Jeep would probably prefer that you forgot…)

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            I’d rather forget the Commander as well. Spent a fair amount of time behind the wheel of one, it was awful.

            And the third row was as useful as a snow mobile in Florida.

          • 0 avatar
            legacygt

            Yes. I remember the Commander. Not a great execution. But here’s the sad thing. If they offered it today, they’d still sell some. Why? They have a strong brand and there are people who need the space. Still, that wouldn’t be my solution. The Grand Cherokee is already largely similar to the Durango. To take the Durango and turn it into some 3-row Jeep would take very little investment and the payoff would be huge. This is a no-brainer. Still, Jeep keeps toying with the idea of this or maybe adopting the Ram platform. In the meantime, they are losing 3 row sales to other brands.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          There is a three-row Lexus RX about to debut. Test mules have been seen.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      We could have gotten a 2017 Enclave Premium with $25K sticker for $34K or about 1/3rd off now the 2018’s are on the lot. We drove a Chocoochino colored like yours but had also the Espresso exterior and Tuscan package. It was the best riding of both Acadia models for sale, but my wife didn’t like the brown leather and glitzy chrome dash but she did like the Acadia Limited HUD and it’s firmer ride. We got it for 25% since it was a service car.

      It has a nice ride quality mostly due to it’s weight but the 20″ wheels do not complicate ride quality too badly. The HID and LED marker lights look the part. We also went with a FWD model and because of a lease will use snow tires to make the orginal tires last the term.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Nice review!

    I bet you got a bodacious deal on this…

  • avatar
    legacygt

    This review is pretty much on target. I looked at the Enclave back in 2009 and went with a CX-9 instead. The Enclave/Acadia were probably my second choice after test driving nearly everything in the class. I preferred the CX-9 for a more engaging drive and better handling but the Enclave/Acadia also drove very well. Still, their number one selling point was size. They offered the most interior volume and a 3rd row that could realistically sit 3 (small) actual people. Fast-forward to 2015 and I was shopping again. At this point the new CX-9 was coming and it was a little smaller than its predecessor with a smaller turbo engine that I didn’t trust (although all reports are that my fear was unfounded). I didn’t even look at the Lambdas which just seemed ancient and went with a Durango that has been great so far.
    Inexplicably, GM decided to make the new Acadia smaller than it’s predecessor. To me that amounted to tossing away the one area where the car was an undisputed class leader. The new Traverse retained its interior space so I’ll give them credit for getting that right. I believe the new Enclave will be more like the Traverse than the Acadia.
    Still, it’s amazing that GM was satisfied with such old models in such a competitive market. The CX-9 withered for almost as long. The last XC90 went even longer. But most of the major manufacturers updated their three row crossovers one or two times since the Lambdas arrived.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I was stunned when the Enclave first came out by its sheer beauty, and still feel that way about it.

    A friend had one for several months as a free rental while he was waiting for new airbags for his Acura! I rode in third row several times, and I found that no matter where I sat in the thing, I was perfectly comfortable.

    GM really did something right with these.

    If I ever got one, it would have to be in that brown color they offer – the perfect color for the Enclave.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Small quibble, the refresh was in 2013, not 2014.

    As for the Lambdas themselves, they were, by 2015 or so, the only GM vehicles not to get put on the Global A electronics architecture. That explains the mid-late 2000s tech, like the separate-key-and-keyfob and the basic dot-matrix LCD in the cluster.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Know what current vehicle reminds me of this? The Atlas. Updated interior, surprisingly roomy, mid-grade materials and excellent price for a 3 row crossover.

    Buick tried to sell this as a luxury vehicle and it kinda, sorta looked like one from some angles. Especially the interior layout. But it really wasn’t. It was a nice 3 row’er, but not really luxury.

    The Atlas comes off as a more functional Enclave without VW making any effort to sell it as a luxury vehicle.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Lambda can always be remembered as the platform with the most godawful ugly looking vehicles to come out of North America.

  • avatar
    NN

    I agree with those singing praise on the Enclave’s original design. I also always found it to be one of the most elegant GM designs. To my eye, it recalled some of the nicer touches of the Park Avenue of the 90’s which had a similar elegance. It has aged very well.

    Bob Lutz knew good design.

    Interestingly, the Enclave has also been exported to China since it’s debut, and is the crown on the popular Buick line there, starting at 500k RMB / $76,000 (http://www.buick.com.cn/enclave/). Despite that atrocious cost (due to it being the only imported Buick and having a heavy import tariff), you do see them on the roads in China, and it has likely been one of the biggest Asian export hits for GM.

    The Enclave is really the last real Buick…if you think, as I do, that the brand is inherently American and offers traditional American car characteristics. Everything else is Chinese/Korean/German. Well, there’s the Lacrosse as well…but probably not for long.

  • avatar

    When the Enclave was introduced one of Maserati’s top execs in North America told me that it was the best looking new vehicle at that show.

    • 0 avatar
      MLS

      It seems Buick and Maserati designers have similar taste, considering that the Quattroporte looks like the nicest Park Avenue that Buick never built.

      I’ve always liked the pre-facelift Enclave, too.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Excellent review – very interesting to get the perspective of a long-time owner.

  • avatar
    sckid213

    I personally think the Enclave is the car that saved Buick in America. I mean, its successor was the freakin TERRAZA snout-nosed van. Enclave was the right car at the right time, and I’ve seen a ton of them here in more suburban pockets of Los Angeles doing soccer mom duty for young families. It’s exactly what a Buick is supposed to be – “nicer” than a Chevy or Honda, but not true luxury. Lots of younger families who really wanted a Q7 ended up in an Enclave.

    I also think Enclave allowed the Encore to happen. Enclave reduced some of the “blue hair” stigma of Buick, so Encore has been successful with younger folks who don’t yet have kids, but want a “nicer” small crossover. Then when they have kids, they can buy an Enclave (I refuse to count Envision as a real model – I’m convinced it’s almost some sort of experimental / compliance vehicle GM knew would be a dud so they can test the whole Chinese production thing on a relatively small stage.)

    I saw a new-gen Enclave with MFR plates on it the other day (probably a test vehicle) — looks great. I think the model will see success for at least another decade.

  • avatar
    CobraJet

    We shopped for a new Buick in July. We could not decide on a replacement for my wife’s Safari van which is still going strong, or my old Impala which had literally died.
    I took an Enclave home for a few days from my office. We have several in the corporate office pool. We also test drove a new Lacrosse.

    I agree that the Enclave is getting old and dated. The Lacrosse on the other hand is brand new with all the latest features. The Enclave is rather heavy and not a good handling vehicle in my opinion. The Lacrosse drives great.

    Can the Lacrosse take a family of 6 on vacation? No. But we have that covered with the Safari if needed. So we went with the Lacrosse. Gas mileage is 27 mpg mixed and about 32 on the highway.

    In my town there are Enclaves at every turn. I think I have the only new body style Lacrosse in town. Sedans are definitely out of favor now. But I don’t mind being the odd duck.

    • 0 avatar
      e30gator

      We bought a CPO Enclave last year after our Nissan Quest began showing its age. I test drove a Pathfinder, Highlander, Grand Cherokee, and a CX-9. I thought the Enclave had (by far) the smoothest ride and handling was much better than the “sporty” minivan we were replacing.

      As far as gas mileage is concerned, I’m getting about 26 mpg highway if I’m easy on the gas pedal.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        The Enclave is about as smooth of riding crossover as they come at this price. We also bought a 2017 Adlcadia Limited for 25% off MSRP as we liked the 2018 Traverse 3LT, but with only 10% off and knowing they’d be well discounted when the Acadia is off lease is enough for us

  • avatar
    steverock

    These seem really nice but every time I see one I think old person SUV. I came pretty close to buying a Regal GS twice (2013 and 2016, both with a manual transmission) but both times when I was at the dealership I just couldn’t do it. I live in Orange County so that might be a big part of why I’m not able to talk myself into Buicks. If I lived in the Midwest I might not care as much. I’ll gladly take a Grand National though…

    We bought a QX60 for my wife a couple years ago and we really like it. It’s boring to drive like all 3 row SUVs but it’s comfortable and gets the job done.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    My old man has a ’15 Buick Enclave. It’s a perfectly cromulent car for his purposes but he does complain about the mileage. He is currently looking at something smaller for in-town duties.

    I’ve only driven the Enclave once – on a mix of country back roads and highway – and found it rather ponderous in handling and acceleration. Of course anything bigger and heavier than a Mini is probably going to feel slow on its feet. But it was comfortable, and being a past Buick owner myself, I felt right at home in just a few minutes.

    His previous car, the already mentioned Saturn Outlook, had much worse seats and felt even slower. Less hp back then?

  • avatar
    SuperCarEnthusiast

    This new redesign looks more like a cheap minivan then this version.

  • avatar
    e30gator

    Most of the people I see driving these are young families, not senior citizens. The old men in my neck of the woods are more likely to be driving Corvettes or Porsches than a full-size vehicle like this.

    I know Buick has been seen as the geriatric brand in the past, but I see them more as a bargain Lexus or Acura than anything else today.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    News Flash: The Enclave — which is a great CUV for most buyers — is simply an AWD minivan with a lowered roof. It even looks like one, albeit a good looking one.

    How in the heck does GM make such an efficient V8, but this V6 is low on performance AND fuel economy? Our Sienna AWD will blow the doors off an Enclave in terms of acceleration and mileage.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    My long time friend Kevin bought a 2009 Traverse last year for the rather low price of 12995 with a hair under 90K miles on the clock for hauling large boxes on the job and the occasional family outing. A year and 20K miles later he still loves it and it has been rock solid and trouble free and still rides and drives as if it had 25K miles. Its the same basic bones as this more costly Buick but with a simpler lower rent interior that suits what he is doing just fine.

    His is the AWD LT model and it has the single exhaust 281 HP 3.6. Power is more than adequate and I suspect his lighter trimmed LT is a few hundred LBS lighter than the loaded up Enclaves. One trick to reduce 0-60 times is to put it into sport mode which holds the revs and seems to add more pull off the mark. We recorded a 0-60 time of 7.1 seconds doing that and 8 leaving it in regular drive mode.

    Mileage depends on how he drives it. 23-24 is obtainable on longer trips going around 70 MPH and his average usually works out to 18.5-19. These are nearly identical MPG figures that his brother achieves with a 2014 Explorer 3.5 V6.

    As an update I have driven the new 2018 Traverse with its 310 Hp 3.6 and 9 speed automatic in LT trim and was very impressed overall. It rides better. Handles and steers better, is more refined and is much quicker and efficient too. Wasn’t able to time it 0-60 but C&D just tested a loaded High Country at 6.5 seconds and my lighter LT felt a little quicker than that with only 65 miles on the clock. Setting the cruise control on a highway stint going 73 MPH saw the mileage creep up well over 27 MPG and when I was done on the extended test drive the average MPG was hovering around 22! I would call that a solid improvement on what is still a very large vehicle.

    Can’t wait for the Buick version to come out.

  • avatar
    The Heisenberg Cartel

    I went hunting for an Enclave about a year or so ago. A used one at a price range of under 18k. Reliability concerns, many of which had been posted on this very forum, led me in a completely different direction though, and I ended up, bizarrely enough, in a 2007 Mercedes GL450 instead. Bought with 118,000 miles on it, now has 132k with nothing but an ignition switch replacement a month after purchase. Great vehicle.

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