2014 Buick Enclave Review

we’re taking a look at the Enclave today because the 2013 model year was a refresh for the Enclave and that’s because the Enclave was the first of the lambda series of SUVs to pop out of General Motors way back in 2008 let’s walk around let’s dive into the hood dive inside and see how it compares with its most recent competitors most namely that Acura MDX I find this one of the
more attractive entries in this segment

I do like the way that jx35 / qx60 looks
but does kind of have a sort of a fish eating someone look on the front end the Lincoln MKT is I’m not sure what’s going on there actually with the Lincoln MKT I’ll post a picture here so you can see that one but not finding that Lincoln knows terribly attractive I do like the Acura MDX look up front however even though it has that Acura beak buick has also included new headlamps in the Buick Enclave and they feature an LED strip right here and LEDs right across the bottom we do have projector HID headlamps in our particular Enclave
Buick is still dedicated to the venta

port and well I haven’t warmed up to the
new ventiports going on on modern Buicks at least the ones on this Enclave aren’t awful lot more demure than the ones on the current Buick Encore I really like the Buick Encore it’s my favorite small SUV currently on the market but it’s ventiports are enormous I think that the Enclave is currently the most attractive of the General Motors lambda series SUVs and a lot of it has to do with this character line it really steps out an awful lot at the base of the vehicle right here that we’re giving the Enclave sort of a hip look to it with this bottom part bulging out more than the top it continues along the sides and then across to the front where the hood steps in again at the top the look is very 1999 Volvo s80 but it
is very attractive on the Buick Enclave

it also helps keep the Enclave from
looking too slab-sided let’s take a closer look at those tires and rims when you get down here right next to them you see that these are pretty large wheels and pretty large tires these are 255 60-hour 19 tires on 19-inch rims they really fill out these wheel wells on the Enclave very nicely important thing to keep in mind about these is there are fairly wide and that is important because the Enclave is a very heavy vehicle it’s just about a cupcake shy of 5,000 pounds and that’s important to have wide tires when you’re hauling that much weight around helps the vehicle handle better but the high profile rubber is also important because unlike many SUVs that have choppy rides or easily Bend rims when you hit a pothole or a parking lot

headstone or a curb or something like

that that won’t happen in the Enclave because of this higher profile rubber there is a little bit of a handling toll to be paid and a little bit of a feel toll to be paid as well with these high profile tires but personally I’d take that in my crossover outback Buick went for simple and elegant with these chrome rings around new tail lamp modules most importantly these are not LED tail lamps like you find on some of the competition but they are quite attractive we have a fairly vertical tailgate which helps with cargo loading on the inside we have more chrome down here across the bottom of the bumper well integrated parking sensors this little hats right here covers up the trailer hitch receiver if we had it in our particular Enclave but we don’t right over here we have integrated dual exhaust tips now these are just part of the bumper cover and

the real exhaust tip is actually in

there attached to the muffler there’s only one engine in the Enclave it’s this direct-injection 3.6 liter v6 it produces 288 horsepower and 270 pound feet of torque it’s mated to a General Motors 6-speed automatic transaxle and that sends power to the front wheels or to all four wheels depending on which option box you check this is notably lower output than other applications of General Motors 3.6 liter v6 engine and so my real hope is that at some point or another there will be an engine upgrade to the Enclave we don’t see it coming any time soon though front seat comfort in the Enclave is very good it missed excellent by just a few points however it is a little bit less comfortable than the Acura MDX which is brand new in this segment and a lot of that has to do with this headrest which we’ll go over later
as we tour the interior but the

headrests doesn’t move up or rear words

very much meaning that it hits me in kind of a strange place on my back if you’re a taller person than I am I’m only about six feet tall then that headrest will probably hit you in an even stranger place in your back so that is something to keep in mind we have a multi-way power driver’s seat which is quite adjustable but we only have a two way lumbar support in the Enclave which is a little bit unusual because General Motors is known for having four-way adjustable lumbar support in a wide variety of even less expensive vehicles than this we have a tilt telescoping power memory steering wheel which has a decent range of motion as with most vehicles the seats get less comfortable as we move towards the back we’re in a seven passenger Enclave which means we get these captains chairs that moved words and backwards and have a small degree of reclined to them this is the most upright position and that is the
most reclined position that you can get

in these middle seats there is plenty of
headroom however if you’re tall in the back I have about three inches of headroom left in this middle row even though our particular Enclave has this $1400 optional two row sunroof there are several options for getting in the back you can of course crawl between these two captain’s chairs you can also pull this little lever right here and you can fold them down that’s also for carrying extra cargo but you can also hop over this carpeted section of the seat into the back if you feel particularly limber or you can pull this other lever right here on the seat back and this causes the seat mechanism to hold and compress like that that takes an awful lot of effort it is worth noting that the Acura
MDX now has a power version of a very

similar mechanism to move that seat
forward another thing to keep in mind if you’re doing comparisons between this and some of the other entries in the segment is that the Infiniti jx35 / qx60 has a feature where you can basically move this seat forward well there is still a child seat in the seat obviously by the way this seat is contorting you can’t keep a child seat in the seat while you move it forward I’m now in the third row of the Enclave and the first thing you’ll notice about this area back here is that it’s larger than something like an Acura MDX or the Lincoln MKT the seat is still quite close to the floor as you can see if I actually put my legs where they need to be if that middle row seat was in place in fact I’ll move that right back in place so you can see how I relate to it now but I do have about two inches of legroom left between my knees and this middle seat and this middle seat is in its upright position now it’s in its most reclined position I still have maybe about half an inch there of legroom left even if that middle seat isn’t its most reclined spot I do have one cup holder back here and I have a decent amount of headroom as well even though our particular model has the optional $1,400 sunroof I do have about two inches of headroom back here that means that you can put six foot tall adults in the back of the Enclave
I wouldn’t put three of them necessarily

this middle seat is not terribly large
but you can sit in here for a decent amount of time Headroom is still about the same as it is in the outboard seats right here in the middle but it’s just not quite comfortable you do get a little bit more legroom if you were to move this second row seat back however let’s take a quick look around the enclaves interior let’s start out with these headrests front seats have a four-way adjustable headrest push little button they move in and out and forward and backward as you can see in their most upright and most rearward position they still project quite far forward it’s probably good for whiplash protection but they do hit me in a strange place on the back because my head and my neck don’t start till right about here so this portion is still hitting me right there in the back just below the neck we moved down we’ll find perforated leather we do have the cooled seats in our particular Enclave here that we’re testing we move over to the doors we’ll find the new interior on the Enclave now sports this faux stitching on the door and down there on the armrest plenty of soft touch plastics there’s also plenty of fake

wood going on we’ll take a closer look

at that fake wood it is honestly very very very fake looking can’t really think of any other way to describe that we scoot on over to the dashboard will see this new dashboard designed in the 2013 and 2014 enclaves it is a very very attractive design it’s not stitched leather and it’s not stitched pleather either this is actually just an injection molded dashboard so if we look very closely here you’ll see what’s going on and this is all injection molded as one piece so you can see that there’s no real seam going on there between this textured section and this leather look right here but there is real stitching so the Vinge ection molded everything including the seam and then they’ve run back over it with a sewing machine the effect is very good on the dashboard this is probably the best-looking injection molded dashboard I’ve ever seen and definitely better looking than a lot of the faux leather dashboards that are out there as well it’s not quite as nice as a full leather dashboard but there really isn’t anybody in this segment that offers one scooting
down we’ll see are heated and cooled

seats rear windshield wiper traction
control and that power rear tailgate hatch moving down to the center console here we have our shifter two large cup holders easily accommodated large drinks a roller cover over the cubby in the center console here this does have a fairly compartment there we have the headphones for the rear seat entertainment system stored in there we also have this armrest that slides forward and backward and opens to reveal an additional storage compartment right there it’s fairly shallow this is the location of the only USB port that works with that infotainment system it’s right there in that little storage cubby I have my iPhone 5 plugged into there my only complaint about the storage cubby is that it’s a little bit high on the dashboard so if you have the dark dashboard in your car and you have an iPhone or an iPod in there it’s going to get a little hot in the Sun my second complaint is bright as you see it here if you have your phone plugged in there because you’re using your phones for your tunes then you have this cord sort of dangling down the center console it’s
not exactly attractive moving over to

the instruc luster we have a five dial
arrangement with a fairly old-school electro fluorescent trip computer if we move out to the steering wheel we’ll find the only real wood trim going on in the Enclave and that is the steering wheel right here you see that is a nice long grain dark wood and it’s kind of reddish it contrasts very sharply with that gray fake wood going on on the doors and it really makes the doors look an awful lot more fake than they would otherwise they continue to zoom out you’ll see that the steering wheel is the old Buick design it’s not the new Buick design that you’ll find in the Verano and a number of other Buicks that means that we have a fairly nice but thin leather wrapped side wood bottom wood top fairly hard plastic airbag cover and the old Buick arrangement of radio control voice command buttons over here and then the cruise control buttons over here on the left over here we have the largest roller bag you can carry on a domestic flight as you can see you can fit quite a number of them in the back here without folding down that third row seat that is important but it is made
possible because the Enclave is a fairly

large 3-row crossover underneath this
floor hatch we have additional storage as well as a spare tire it’s fairly easy to hop in the Enclave and that power hatch makes a lot easier to close the hatch on yourself we do have a handle over there if you want to close the hatch yourself let’s take a closer look at Buicks IntelliLink system again I do have an iPhone connected which means that I will be referring to the iOS and Apple device interfaces when it comes to the media section I will try and point out differences if I’m aware of them where that will apply over here we have the eject button for the single slot CD player auxiliary input over there we have touch buttons on the screen they’re not physical mechanical buttons so if you do have dry hands then it may be more difficult for you to use them home button source seek forward backward a back button this is for use in the menus along with this rotary selector dial push to enter destination navigation repeat for navigation commands over here we have our trip computer buttons and that controls the trip computer in the instrument cluster back over there by the steering wheel over here we have our lane departure warning and our collision prevention system right there over on the homepage everything is driven by these icons so we have now playing will take us to whatever media device is currently
playing audio navigation takes you to

your map destination phone interface

whether delivered by XM traffic delivered by XM system settings and then tone to change bass treble etc on this next screen will find our picture viewer stitcher smart radio that requires a smartphone with the stitcher radio app on it text messaging if your device supports it currently only Android devices support this feature iPod interface XM satellite radio Bluetooth audio Pandora again this will work off your smart phone device it works with any smart phone at this time single disc player right over there moving on to the next screen and Matt FM front auxilary input right here and then the rear auxilary input which is in that center console that we just saw earlier does allow you to see video on this particular screen you can go back using the back button or the back button right here you can hit home appear or home right there the favorite screen allows you to see radio presets on the bottom you can set those to any particular radio source that you like voice command button here as well as on the steering wheel going back to the home screen will hit now playing so we can see our audio screen there fairly self-explanatory for the AM and FM you can also hit the source button on the bottom and it’ll take us to a very abbreviated menu where we can click over to XM satellite radio or the iPod interface the iPod interface is one of the best in the industry menu is very snappy very responsive very easy to use pre loads all this information from your iDevice when you first connect
it so navigating around it is very

speedy as you can see right there access

to the back button or you can use the back button right there to take you back in those playlists we also have full voice commands and the voice commands in this system sound the most natural of any system that’s currently out on the market that includes my Ford touch BMWs iDrive etc the voice response in the system are quite quite good click over here to the source button we have another way of getting into that same screen and we can go back to Pandora radio or those other auxilary inputs if we hit the destination button this takes you to your address entry screen system is fairly responsive when it comes to this we’ll enter one here so you can see it’s definitely faster than I am as far as interactions are concerned the system is this rapid because all of this data is stored in flash memories that makes accessing it very very rapid we hit done we can hit start guidance the system calculates the roots and recalculates traffic laws you know miss reel we have traffic information right there on the screen as well you tell it to avoid it you can avoid the entire route but as I was saying the system deals with re nav you know reen a vagator you if you make a wrong turn very rapidly unlike older systems that were CD or hard drive based hit the repaint button there if you want to repeat your voice command and then the voice command volume is done by this
little knob over here same as all the

other voice options in the system

cell phone interface is very good in this system we go back to the home page you can click that phone button if we had a Bluetooth phone paired my phone is not particularly not paired to this particular time but the voice quality the system is very good in terms of the competition I rank this above my for touch in many ways it doesn’t look quite as good as my Ford touch but it is far more reliable the voice commands are more natural and it is just a little bit easier to use in my opinion doesn’t look quite as nice it also doesn’t look quite as nice as the new Acura MDX is too screen setup I find that the Acura setup is just a little bit half-baked whereas this system comes across fully baked and fully developed the Acura system looks prettier but I don’t think it’s quite as easy to use as this system the infiniti system is getting a little bit old it is fairly easy to use but it’s not as fully featured as this system overall I rank this probably the tops in this particular segment although again the Acura system is fairly attractive as well as is the my Ford touch in my Lincoln Touch system the high kerb weight of the Enclave nearly 5000 pounds makes a huge impact on the way that this car handles out on the road zero to 60 acceleration happened in 7.3 seconds that’s quite a bit slower than the jx35 qx60 as well as the Acura MDX and the jacks 35 has a decent amount less torque from its 3.5

liter v6 however that CVT really helps

its acceleration out on the road in
terms of braking 60 to 0 and 144 feet is kind of long for this vehicle that’s despite the fact the tires are pretty wide again it’s really just that 5,000 pound kerb weight that causes all that to happen the curb weight the fairly soft Springs and the high profile tires mean that the Enclave isn’t really a corner Carver if you want corner carving in your 3-row crossover then the Acura MDX is the vehicle for you with its torque vectoring rear axle and the super handling all-wheel drive system it definitely handles considerably better than this Buick Enclave all the Enclave doesn’t really feel like a wet noodle it handles better than you might think out on the road and that’s despite the soft Springs and those high profile tires that really is just because of how much time GM has spent tuning the suspension and the front wheel drive system in this Enclave in terms of handling the Enclave is ahead of that jx35 which just feels a little bit less confident out on the road but it’s definitely behind the Lincoln MKT the Lincoln MKT has a decent amount more power because you have that twin turbo v6 option and the profile of the tires is notably lower which helps the handling out a decent mount in that MKT just have troubles getting past the MK T’s looks Buicks have long been associated with soft quiet rides and that’s definitely happening here with the Enclave we tested it 68 decibels and our sound tests at 50 miles an hour on the same asphalt road that we test every other car on that is just a little bit louder than some of the more modern Buicks like the La Crosse of Verano and the Encore but it is still very good for this segment the 6-speed automatic

transmission in the Enclave is closely

related to the one in the Lincoln MKT because Ford and General Motors co-developed those transmissions together so they feel very similar shifts are fairly smooth fairly responsive but occasionally the transmission does seem to get the wrong gear for you supposedly the programming has been corrected for 2013 to try and fix some of those problems that reviewers complained about from the 2008 model but it seems like General Motors still has just a little bit of work to do overall out on the road the Enclave is a perfectly capable 3-row crossover vehicle definitely feels better out on the road than some of the other eight passenger vehicles that are out there and when you consider that the Enclave does have that eight seat option it broadens the window of comparisons for the Enclave out to things like the Honda Pilot as well as General Motors full-size SUVs and in that comparison the Enclave does extraordinarily well this is definitely a better vehicle to drive out on the road than either the Honda Pilot or any of GM’s full-size SUVs just feels more responsive more nimble more eager out on the road that steering feel is really noticeable out on these winding mountain roads that were on right now because it feels like there’s a slight delay in the steering again that’s just thanks to those high profile tires but if you turn the steering wheel then it seems like the car takes just a little bit of time to get steering in the direction that you’ve indicated causing you to possibly oversteer overcorrect just a little bit more than you’d like still the limits in the car are very high much higher than you’d think a 5,000 pound SUV would be with pricing ranging from just under
thirty nine thousand dollars to just

over 53,000 dollars the Enclave is
competing with the likes of the Acura MDX the Volvo xc90 the Lincoln MKT as well as that Infiniti jx35 in the three row luxury crossover market that’s a decently competitive segment so let’s go over them one by one I’m not including the Audi q7 because I just have troubles believing that an Audi q7 shopper is going to cross up a Buick or even an Acura or a Lincoln for that matter so that one’s off my list number one in this particular segment then is that new Acura MDX it has excellent driving dynamics it’s a touch pricey but also has a really gorgeous interior the Infiniti jx35 / QX 60 is my number two it has excellent fuel economy it performs a little bit better than this vehicle but it’s not quite as dynamic then this Buick comes in third of course then we have the Volvo xc90 which is getting a little bit long in the tooth but still has excellent driving dynamics and a very nice interior we have then the Lincoln MKT which in my mind loses an awful lot of points because it has a dreadful looking nose and the side profile looks an awful lot like a hearse it has that funky little kink up right back here and every time that I’m in a Lincoln MKT I feel

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