Here is something to consider; the current Buick Enclave has been with us since 2007. In that time, Buick has sold almost 500,000 Enclaves and stands as one of the best-selling models for the brand. The most impressive part? The Enclave hasn’t changed that much. Usually, a vehicle’s lifecycle involves a refresh within two to three years and a redesign in about six. The Enclave has only received minor changes - new V6 and small changes for the exterior and interior. Everything else is much the same as it was in 2007.
You would think the old age of the Enclave would hurt it. But as this model enters its ninth year, it is still towards the top of Buick’s best sellers. Why is that? We spent some time in the 2016 Enclave Premium AWD to find out.
One of the smart things GM did when designing their three-row crossovers was going with a long-wheelbase. This allowed them to use a large body and provide a massive interior. For example, in most large crossovers, the third-row is only usable for small kids. In the Enclave, full-size adults can fit back here and be comfortable. In terms of cargo space, there is 23.3 cubic feet of space with the second and third rows up. Fold both rows of seats and you’ll have 115.2 cubic feet, the largest cargo area in the class.
In terms of ride, the Enclave is one of the smoothest in the large crossover class. With a fully independent suspension and dual-flow dampers, the Enclave glides over bumps and road imperfections like they were nothing. Road and wind noise are almost non-existent in the Enclave.
Step outside of the massive interior and you’ll see another key item that draws people to the Enclave; the design. The front end features a large waterfall grille and HID headlights with LEDs. Around back is a unique shape for the rear window. 19-inch chrome-clad wheels come standard, while our test Enclave came with 20-inch wheels with Bronze pockets via a new Tuscan Package for 2016.
Where the Enclave starts to show chinks in its armor is in the interior. There is an abundance of plastic wood trim that looks awful. You can’t help but wonder why this vehicle has an almost $54,000 price tag and it comes with this cheap looking trim. The Enclave also features the last-generation of Buick’s Intellilink infotainment which is starting to show its age in terms of the interface and performance. The second-row seats aren’t comfortable due to how low they are set in the vehicle, giving passengers that feeling of their knees in their chest.
But the biggest problem for the Enclave is the engine. Like the Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia, the Enclave comes with a 3.6L SIDI V6 with 288 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. This engine is quite sluggish and takes a fair amount of time to get up to speed. It feels like you are towing a circus elephant. This is due to the Enclave’s curb weight of 4,922 pounds. The weight also hurts fuel economy as we only eked out 15.6 MPG for the week. Keep in mind that the Enclave AWD is rated 16 City/22 Highway/18 Combined.
Is it easy to see why the Enclave is a big seller. It offers a lot of space for passengers and cargo. Plus it provides one of smoothest and quietest rides in the class. But the negatives outweigh the positives. The engine is overwhelmed by the Enclave’s weight, fuel economy is pretty, and the interior has a number of small issues that show how old the crossover is.
We know that a new Enclave is coming next year. It can’t come soon enough.
Disclaimer: Buick Provided the Enclave, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
Model: Enclave AWD
Trim: Premium Group
Engine: 3.6L VVT DI V6
Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
Horsepower @ RPM: 288 @ 6,300
Torque @ RPM: 270 @ 3,400
Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 16/22/18
Curb Weight: 6,459 lbs
Location of Manufacture: Lansing, MI
Base Price: $49,515.00
As Tested Price: $53,835.00 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge)
Dual Moonroof - $1,400.00
White Frost Tricoat Paint - 995.00
Tuscan Package - $795.00
Universal Tablet Holders - $205.00