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    Quick Drive: 2016 Buick Enclave Premium AWD


    • Trying to figure how a nine-year old crossover is still one of Buick's bestsellers

    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

     

    Year: 2016
    Make: Buick
    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)

     

    Options:
    Dual Moonroof - $1,400.00
    White Frost Tricoat Paint - 995.00
    Tuscan Package - $795.00
    Universal Tablet Holders - $205.00

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    Nice write up, I do love the interior room, quietness and over all comfort, but I totally agree that the interior is falling behind everyone else even lower chevy auto's that have been refreshed or replaced. Buick needs to get the new version here now.

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    It's one of those munificient moneymakers.

     

    In person - I like them quite much.

     

    In photos - they look disgusting, kill it with fire....

     

    Yeah, I never thought I'd like the Enclave, but in person, it's a decent crossover. Though I would suggest anyone getting these now to hold out for the CX-9.

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      Power for the Pacifica comes from the 3.6L Pentastar V6 with 287 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission that routes power to the front-wheels only. It might not be the fastest van on the road (that honor falls to the Toyota Sienna), but Pacifica comes very close. Power comes on a smooth and steady rate. You’ll find yourself not wanting more power when merging onto a freeway or trying to make a pass. FCA has seemed to get its act together with the nine-speed automatic transmission. Issues with clunky shifts and gear hunting have been mostly ironed out. The transmission now features smooth and quick upshifts. The only item we would want FCA to work on is the transmission’s hesitation to downshift in certain situations such as making a pass.
      EPA fuel economy for the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is rated at 18 City/28 Highway/22 Combined. Our week mostly spent in the city returned 23.2 mpg.
      The primary concern when it comes to a van’s ride and handling characteristics is providing maximum comfort and the Pacifica delivers. The suspension delivers a smooth ride even on some of the rough roads on offer from Metro Detroit area. An added bonus is how well the Pacifica isolates road and wind noise from coming inside. At highway speeds, only a whisper of wind noise makes it inside. But the Pacifica becomes a bit of a surprise when it comes to handling. Despite its large size, FCA’s engineers made the Pacifica feel quite nimble. The steering might not give that impression as it feels somewhat light when turning. But go around a corner and the van feels more like a midsize sedan than a van. 
      It has been a long time coming for a new minivan from FCA and the good news is that they haven’t dropped the ball. The Pacifica may not have ripped up the rulebook when it comes to minivans, but it sure has expanded or rewritten bits of it. From a surprising balance of ride and handling characteristics to the best interior in the class, it is clear that FCA wants to reclaim the crown of the best minivan. But there one thing that we need to address and that is FCA’s poor reliability history. No matter which survey or study look at, more often than not, FCA’s core brands are towards the bottom. What does this mean for the Pacifica? We can’t say for right now, but this could be the one thing that makes or breaks Chrysler’s new van.
      For right now, the Pacifica is at the top of the class.
      Disclaimer: Chrysler Provided the Pacifica, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Chrysler
      Model: Pacifica
      Trim: Touring L
      Engine: 3.6L 24-Valve VVT V6
      Driveline: Nine-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 287 @ 6,400
      Torque @ RPM: 262 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/28/22
      Curb Weight: 4,330 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Windsor, Ontario
      Base Price: $34,495
      As Tested Price: $36,880 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Audio Group - $895.00
      8 Passenger Seating - $495.00
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