Three-row crossovers are popularly regarded as the new minivans because of their versatility — and the new Buick Enclave Avenir pushes the bar even farther.
Buick doesn’t give all of its models the “Avenir” stamp, and this year the company has applied it to the Enclave, which means a world of luxury and versatility is now available to anyone looking for it. When updating the Enclave to fit Avenir standards, it is now longer, wider, equipped with more cabin space, and it has much better driving dynamics than its predecessor.
The engine makes the car for a lot of people, and it definitely does for me. It has the same platform and engine found in a Chevrolet Traverse, boasting a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that delivers 310 hp and 266 pound-feet of torque.
Its nine-speed automatic transmission equally distributes the power of the engine to all four wheels because of the Enclave’s all-wheel-drive system.
Not everyone that lives in Miami frequently drives on terrain that isn’t suitable for the average sedan, so let us say you are more of an urban-Metropolitan commuter, the Enclave still will be as smooth as butter on pavement.
During my test drive, I found that the handling capabilities of the Enclave exceeded those of many top-of-the-line pickup trucks and sedans. I turned every corner, and went on every winding road I could find, and the body motions are noticeably easily controllable, the wheels can rotate on any corner with throttle lift off, and the tail of the car lines up smoothly and perfectly wherever the front goes. All of the features under the hood give credibility to the sleek dark slate metallic exterior design which demands admiration and awe.
The Enclave’s cavernous interior, with a contoured dashboard that flows nicely across the cabin and into the door panels, is accented by dark faux wood and metal-look plastic trim. Ergonomics are excellent and feature attractive brown and black leather upholstery trimmed with contrast piping and stitching. The overall effect is warm and comforting.
Along with three-zone automatic climate control and six USB ports, all Enclaves feature an 8.0-inch central touchscreen interface with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity, as well as a 4.2-inch color display in the instrument cluster.
Available only with seven seats, the Enclave has second-row captain’s chairs and a third-row bench with belts for three. The Buick’s size and clever packaging afford it a substantial 24 cubic feet of cargo space with all of the seats up, and the standard power-folding third row and collapsible captain’s chairs allow quick access to its full 98-cube capacity. There’s also a three-cubic-foot storage bin beneath the load floor and a standard power liftgate with a remote-opening sensor under the rear bumper.
Currently, the MSRP is $53,415 — yet with the addition cost of options — including the Avenir Technology package (adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking, and active grille shutters) and trailering equipment (with a 5,000-pound towing capacity), the total vehicle price came in at $57,175. Mileage is respectable at 18 mpg city and 26 mpg highway.
The Enclave is at the vanguard of a new subgenre of three-row crossovers. It is comfortable, competent, and capable. If you’re seeking the versatility of a three-row SUV with the refinement of a luxury car, you’ll find both in the all-new Enclave.
Grant Miller is the publisher of Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277 or via email at Grant@CommunityNewspapers.com.