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William Maley

2018 Buick Enclave Debuts In Avenir Trim: Comments

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To say the Buick Enclave was well past its sell-by-date would be an understatement. But to be fair, the Enclave was one of Buick's best-sellers. The 2018 Enclave that debuted tonight in New York has some big shoes to fill.

The basic shape of the 2018 Enclave is the same as the outgoing model. What has changed are the front and rear ends. Buick's designers took the front off the Avista concept and put it onto the Enclave. The distinct grille with the Buick emblem floating and slim headlights are here. Around back is a restyled tailgate with a large chrome bar and narrow taillights.

Buick borrowed the dash from LaCrosse for the Enclave's interior with flowing curves, high-quality materials, and an 8-inch screen featuring the latest version of the Intelllink infotainment system. In terms of seating, Enclave can seat up to seven people. Buick says overall space has increased by 10 percent and with the 3rd-row up, offers up 23.6 cubic feet of space.

Power still comes from a 3.6L V6 offering up 302 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. A nine-speed automatic and the choice of either front-wheel or all-wheel drive.

Buick also used this event to launch the Avenir subbrand with the Enclave being the first model. Avenir models feature special badging, 20-inch wheels, LED headlights, contrast stitching and piping on the seats, dual moonroofs, navigation, and the rearview mirror/camera that has debuted on the Cadillac CT6 and XT5.

The 2018 Buick Enclave hits dealers this fall.

Source: Buick
Press Release is on Page 2


First-Ever Enclave Avenir Offers Progressive, Family-Oriented Luxury

  • Enclave ushers in the arrival of Buick’s new luxury sub-brand

NEW YORK — Debuting with the 2018 Buick Enclave, the new Avenir sub-brand represents the highest expression of Buick luxury. Avenir offers unique styling cues and an extensive set of standard features and premium materials throughout the vehicle. New and versatile functionality, interior spaciousness, and intuitive technologies build on the Enclave’s established popularity.

Smart innovation and style come standard on the 2018 Buick Enclave Avenir. Buick-first Evonik Acrylite exterior lighting illuminates the road ahead with the power of more than 100 LEDs across the vehicle. A Rear Camera Mirror provides a clearer, broader view of what’s behind. And in-vehicle ionization leaves the air cleaner and fresher. It’s all packaged within an elegant design that combines concept car inspiration with improved interior luxury amenities and roominess for up to seven passengers.

“The Enclave has been a successful formula for the Buick brand, with sales results that have defied traditional product cycles, and 90 percent of customers purchasing in the top two trim levels,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Global Buick and GMC. “It’s a beacon for the modern, attainable luxury Buick stands for and is a natural place to launch Avenir.”

Enclave Avenir highlights

  • Avenir model comes standard with extensive active safety, connectivity and luxury features for a simple and convenient buying experience.
  • It has an all-new body structure for safety, strength and mass efficiency, plus 17 radar, camera and ultrasonic sensors when fully equipped.
  • It accommodates seven passengers comfortably and offers more cargo volume behind the first row than the Acura MDX, Audi Q7 and Infiniti QX60.
  • Standard hands-free power-programmable liftgate with a Buick tri-shield logo illuminates the ground below the hidden sensor and power-folding third row.
  • Avenir-exclusive 3-dimensional mesh grille, badging, pearl nickel 20-inch aluminum wheels and luxurious interior materials are standard.
  • Buick-first Rear Camera Mirror is standard on Avenir.
  • Buick-first Evonik Acrylite lighting technology provides a distinctive light signature.
  • Tow capacity of up to 5,000 pounds is more than enough to tow a typical 21-foot sport boat.
  • A standard 3.6L V-6 engine with stop/start technology, Buick-estimated 302 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission.
  • Standard five-link rear suspension and available continuously variable real-time damping (CDC) offer a refined, isolated ride.
  • Available intelligent AWD with active twin-clutch rear differential and Buick-first switchable AWD help improve control and efficiency.

Avenir: Buick’s highest expression of exclusive style, inclusive luxury

All Avenir models will feature an exclusive 3-dimensional mesh grille paired with chrome wings inspired by Buick concept cars. Additional Enclave Avenir notable styling cues include 20-inch, six-spoke wheels with a pearl nickel finish; five premium exterior colors; an Avenir Chestnut and Ebony interior with piping on the seats and contrasting stitching; embroidered first-row headrests; Avenir floor-mats; a wood-accented steering wheel; and bold Avenir-scripted sill plates on all four doors.

A wide array of advanced technologies and interior features emphasizing premium comfort and inclusive luxury comes standard in the Enclave Avenir, including heated and ventilated front seats; heated second-row seats; navigation; wireless charging; a dual moonroof; an 8-inch diagonal reconfigurable cluster display; a 360-degree surround vision camera system for easier parking; and a rear camera mirror that can function as a traditional mirror or as a camera, eliminating obstructions such as heads and headrests while expanding the rear field of vision by an estimated 300 percent.

Available adaptive cruise control and full speed Forward Automatic Braking offer customers even more safety feature options, and a premium suspension with continuously variable real-time damping (CDC) provides a smooth, comfortable ride, with enhanced body control and handling in Sport mode.

“This is a vehicle intended for Buick customers who demand the best and the latest our brand has to offer,” said Aldred.

Elegant design and functionality define the all-new Buick Enclave

The Enclave’s new design architecture enables a balanced, athletic appearance. New proportions give it a sleeker look with aerodynamic benefits for efficiency. The roofline is lower, the windshield is sharper and the wheelbase is extended, giving the vehicle a more dramatic stance. Its sculpted body creates a windswept appearance. Its interior is inviting and harmonious.

Extensive use of LEDs is integrated into Buick’s first application of Evonik Acrylite technology and bi-functional LED projector headlamps and LED tail lamps. The technology’s compound curvature application creates a smooth, uniform and recognizable appearance that will make the Enclave stand out on the road. IntelliBeam headlamps also allow drivers to experience better road illumination and improved visibility without having to manually switch the high beams on and off.

A significantly enhanced suite of available advanced safety technologies is engineered to help drivers monitor their surroundings and feel confident when behind the wheel. Standard safety equipment on all 2018 Enclaves includes a rear vision camera, rear park assist and seven air bags, including a front center side airbag. Among the available crash-avoidance technologies are rear cross traffic alert, front pedestrian braking, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, safety alert seat and surround vision.

Having leveraged the first-generation Enclave as a benchmark for quietness, the 2018 Enclave cabin is engineered to further minimize unwanted interior noise through its honed exterior shapes, sealing and sound-deadening acoustics and strategic use of materials throughout. QuietTuning and active noise cancellation enhancements help to reduce, block and absorb noise, keeping it from entering the cabin. A 10-speaker Bose Premium sound system with new components, new tuning and a redesigned bass enclosure further enhances the sound experience.

Another lifestyle-enhancing feature in the Enclave interior is an air ionizer that eliminates odors and provides higher air quality. It works by producing negatively charged particles that attract air-borne contaminants and break down their structure, cleaning the cabin air. The ionizer can help address external and internal odors and reduce bacteria, viruses, dust, debris and pollen, while also helping improve driver alertness. It requires no maintenance or filter replacement.

Enclave’s interior has flexible cargo solutions for large and small items. The vehicle has 10 percent more cubic feet of overall interior space when including the hidden underfloor storage, and 23.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row. Other space enhancements include a 10-inch-deep dry underfloor storage with 3.1 cubic feet of space.

Second- and third-row seating fold flat to create a wide, nearly-flat load floor. A power-folding third row makes reconfiguring more convenient, while second-row SmartSlide Seats provide easy access to the third row. On the passenger side, the SmartSlide seat provides pitch slide functionality to allow access even with an empty forward-facing child seat installed (using the LATCH system).

Additional standard equipment on every 2018 Enclave includes keyless entry and push-button start, a hands-free power-programmable liftgate with a Buick tri-shield logo illuminating the ground below the hidden sensor, tri-zone automatic climate control, universal home remote and more.

Every Enclave also comes equipped with an OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot (AT&T data plan purchase required after limited data trial period) and five years of the OnStar Basic Plan[1] at no additional cost. Among other benefits like an industry-leading myBuick app, this connectivity plan features OnStar Smart Driver, an opt-in service designed to help Buick owners maximize their vehicle’s overall performance and become better drivers.

A frameless 8-inch diagonal infotainment system with Teen Driver, Rear Seat Reminder[2], and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility is standard. Every Enclave features Rear Seat Reminder2, an industry-first feature designed to remind drivers to check the back seat as they exit their vehicles under certain circumstances.

The Enclave will continue to be manufactured in Lansing, Michigan, and goes on sale in the fall of 2017. Pricing and other details will be announced later this year.


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No major changes to the profile.  Interior is a drastic upgrade... I'm sure it'll sell well.  Would like to see an optional more-powerful engine.  Hopefully some weight loss came with this model, and with the slightly more powerful engine and 9-speed, it'll please the masses.

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The weight is down over 300 lbs, so with that and the 9-speed it should be a little quicker, it is rated at 15/22 mpg with all wheel drive which is pretty thirsty.   I don't like the grille, looks like the Mercedes diamond grille (which I don't like as much as their classic grille) and the logo looks like a Chrysler logo.   They copied the Lexus/Nissan/Mazda "floating roof"  D pillar effect, not a fan of that anywhere.

Overall, the outside looks alright, it looks a bit Asian, but I think a lot of people looking for a premium, family hauler crossover will like that look.  Inside looks better than a Lincoln, or Acura, looks the part of a $45-50k crossover.  

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Nice :metal: This will sell well and do well. @Paolino I totally agree, they needs a power upgrade option for this. Base model should have this engine but the Avenir should get a TTV6. At least a single TV6

Wonder why GM has not taken the TTV6 and offered a TV6 as a lower level but a step above the NA V6?

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Well it was not broke so they did not need to fix everything. 

They kept the good and only made the rest better. The interior look amazing but yet functional.

lighter and updated drive line should improve drivability. 

The Buick here will continue to lead.

Lincoln Mathew must be not happy at the moment. While they were going backwards Buick was moving forward.

One has to wonder what Cadillac has coming.

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Love the interior on the new Enclave.  I do hope that the Avenir trim level shows up throughout the entire Buick line (regardless of name) quickly.

The exterior is OK, even though I am not a fan of that disjointed chrome on the D pillar.  That might make more sense in a smaller crossover (Encore?).

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stupid Buick thinks because they copped out on doing the real Avenir that they can just pilfer the name as a trim package and redeem themselves.

overall this is nicely done though.  Doesn't have some of the awkwardness of the new Traverse.  And, manages to look a lot still like the current Enclave.  Even has some side sculpting that is similar to the new LaCrosse.  That is kind of amazing by itself.  Ties some of the Buick products together.

Interesting dash but i hope the plastics are better than what i see on some live auto show pics in the pictures.

Sounds like it still has room and space, at least they didn't get rid of that.

really should have a twin turbo six option. 

This and the new Traverse should help GM a lot.

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9 hours ago, riviera74 said:

Love the interior on the new Enclave.  I do hope that the Avenir trim level shows up throughout the entire Buick line (regardless of name) quickly.

The exterior is OK, even though I am not a fan of that disjointed chrome on the D pillar.  That might make more sense in a smaller crossover (Encore?).

I was thinking the same thing. Love the auto, but can I delete the Chrome option for the exterior and interior?

Why does every top of the line package have to have bloody chrome? That is such a baby boomer thinking that it makes the auto richer looking.

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Because traditionally chrome was always more expensive a finish than paint (or plastic).
Look at modern houses- the higher the price tag the more trim it gets. The age-old 'what am I getting for my money?' demand.

- - - - -
Are you going to make a standing point to associate everything you don't find to your favor as 'the fault of baby boomers'? It's getting a bit long-in-the-tooth already, D. Chrome plating greatly predates the baby boomer generation, as I'm sure you are aware if you review the history.

Screen Shot 2017-04-12 at 10.18.49 AM.png

It DOES make the auto richer looking.

Edited by balthazar

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Like it, but am a bit disturbed at so many of GM's brand new models looking like rehashed versions of the last gen.  I just wonder how this will work out in the long run.  Sure, it will keep existing owners happy, buy how about bringing in new ones?

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9 minutes ago, balthazar said:

Because traditionally chrome was always more expensive a finish than paint (or plastic).
Look at modern houses- the higher the price tag the more trim it gets. The age-old 'what am I getting for my money?' demand.

- - - - -
Are you going to make a standing point to associate everything you don't find to your favor as 'the fault of baby boomers'? It's getting a bit long-in-the-tooth already, D. Chrome plating greatly predates the baby boomer generation, as I'm sure you are aware if you review the history.

Screen Shot 2017-04-12 at 10.18.49 AM.png

It DOES make the auto richer looking.

LOL, Nope but most of the previous generation is dead so Baby Boomers are holding onto the Chrome.

I will say that in the old lovely ladies you posted, yes Chrome makes them much better.

Sadly on today's auto's, I feel it cheapens them greatly. 

My example of this is the 2nd Generation Escalade that I own has nice touches of Chrome and the 3rd generation went god awful overboard. 

First Generation, no difference than yukon or tahoe.

1stGenerationRear.jpg

2nd Generation, tasteful and elegant to me.

2ndGenerationRear.jpg

3rd Generation, Bling and tacky to me.

3rdGenerationRear.jpg

4th Generation, Tasteful and elegant. Really is a proper Cadillac look.

4thGenereationRear.jpg

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13 hours ago, balthazar said:

it's still the most cohesive large SUV design-wise of them all, but I for one will miss the signature Buick waterfall grille.

The Enclave will come in four trim levels Base, Essence, Premium, and Avenir. Only the Avenir gets the mesh grill the others will retain the classic waterfall grill.

GM Authority - 2018 Buick Enclave Attempts To Define Full-Size Crossover Elegance

2018-Buick-Enclave-001-720x340.jpeg 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, SS427 said:

The Enclave will come in four trim levels Base, Essence, Premium, and Avenir. Only the Avenir gets the mesh grill the others will retain the classic waterfall grill.

2018-Buick-Enclave-001-720x340.jpeg 

Good to know! :thumbsup:

  • Upvote 1

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I like chrome trim, esp in restrained usage.  Not a fan of body color/monochrome trim---that was an 80s-90s thing--looks very dated today, IMO. Blackout trim looks cheap to me, but the worst is the matte finish all over look, IMO.

 

The Buick looks great as it is w some chrome--tasteful and elegant.  

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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5 minutes ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

I like chrome trim, esp in restrained usage.  Not a fan of body color/monochrome trim---that was an 80s-90s thing--looked very dated today. Blackout trim looks cheap to me, but the worst is the matte finish all over look, IMO.

 

The Buick looks great as it is w some chrome--tasteful and elegant.  

My 30yr old son loves the matte look, his Jeep Patriot which was his first auto he bought and financed himself out of college after he got a job, repainted it to be matte black and had the rims powder coated to match. He is not looking at a new SUV, his two finalist are the Ford Explorer Sport AWD and Jeep Grand Cherokee. Again, he is wanting to have them repainted since neither OEM offers matte paint jobs.

I think this is a Millennial thing. :P 

I personally on luxury auto's like a monochromatic paint job on the body, but then have just a touch of chrome bits.

Example is that I think having Black Chrome rims and the roof rack black chrome along with the grill is all that is needed on an auto.

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Black chrome is not 'chrome'- it's shiny black paint (visually).
Note: even the monochrome purveyors want to call these treatments "chrome", and assumedly this is a few generations from the Baby Boomers pushing the trend. That's because Khrome is King. ;)

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41 minutes ago, balthazar said:

Black chrome is not 'chrome'- it's shiny black paint (visually).
Note: even the monochrome purveyors want to call these treatments "chrome", and assumedly this is a few generations from the Baby Boomers pushing the trend. That's because Khrome is King. ;)

Yes, there are the paint options, but I truly am talking about electroplating or what the industry calls Black chromium electroplating. This is a true black chrome. Very nice, durable and way better than regular chrome in my book.

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For wheels, I usually like an aluminum or titanium finish.  One place I do like black wheels are on some performance cars like Challengers, Mustangs, some Porsches.  But that's a performance look, not a luxury look. 

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New Enclave, same as the old Enclave... the interior is very nice, and I am going to have to see a list of upgrades one gets for the Avenir trim level... to me it looks no more luxurious than the current top level Enclave.  Wut am I missing?

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18 minutes ago, ocnblu said:

New Enclave, same as the old Enclave... the interior is very nice, and I am going to have to see a list of upgrades one gets for the Avenir trim level... to me it looks no more luxurious than the current top level Enclave.  Wut am I missing?

I think there are Avenir badges somewhere..

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5 hours ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

For wheels, I usually like an aluminum or titanium finish.  One place I do like black wheels are on some performance cars like Challengers, Mustangs, some Porsches.  But that's a performance look, not a luxury look. 

I think Black Chrome has it's place on all auto's and yes color of the auto makes a difference.

blackvschrome_zps26007aa6.jpg

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I walk along the Avenir.  I never thought I'd meet a girl like yeouuuuuu, meet a girl like yyyeeeeoooooouuu

 

still hope we get something real Avenir someday

 

Screen-Shot-2016-09-30-at-10.36.03-AM.pn

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      Curb Weight: 3,155 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Ulsan, South Korea
      Base Price: $24,350
      As Tested Price: $29,210 (Includes $885.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Sport Tech Package - $3,850.00
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $125.00
    • By William Maley
      A few weeks ago, I wrote a comparison test between the 2018 Mazda CX-9 and Volkswagen Atlas. It was a close fight, but the Atlas ended up being the victor as it proved to be the better all-around three-row crossover. I find myself comparing these two brands once again, this time with their compact crossovers. Like their larger brethren, the two models take different approaches. The Mazda CX-5 goes for something that provides a premium feel and exciting drive, while the Volkswagen Tiguan uses space and comfort as its guide. Which one of these crossovers  Which one of these crossovers is right for you?
      Exterior
      Mazda’s design team believed evolution would be the right approach for the second-generation CX-5’s design and we have to agree. Taking the first-generation model, designers added more curves to the body, widened the front grille, and angled the front LED headlights. In what is becoming a very crowded class, the CX-5 stands tall, especially when wearing the optional Soul Red paint.
      Like the Atlas, the Volkswagen Tiguan’s shape can be explained as  “looking like a bit of a square, but a posh square.” Little details such as the three-bar grille, LED daytime-running lights, and slightly bulging fenders help give the Tiguan a touch of class. The optional Habanero Orange Metallic paint color on my test vehicle does show Volkswagen is willing to step outside of its comfort zone. In terms of dimensions, the Tiguan is six inches longer in overall length and rides on a wheelbase that is 3.6-inches longer than the CX-5. 
      Interior
      The Tiguan’s interior follows Volkswagen’s ethos of keeping it functional in terms of the design. It features simple dash and design touches such as a silver finish for various trim pieces. Volkswagen does make up for the boring design with an excellent layout of controls. For example, the climate control system is slightly angled upward to not only make it easier to reach, but also make it less of a hassle to look down and see the current settings. Material quality is average for this type of vehicle with a mix of hard and soft plastics.
      The front seats in the Tiguan SE offer a power recline and manual adjustments for fore/aft and height. I really liked the seats in the Tiguan as they provided excellent comfort and firmness for any trip distance. But the Tiguan really surprises in the back seat with head and legroom similar to what you’ll find on a full-size SUV. Passengers sitting back here can also move the seats back and forth, and recline to make themselves more comfortable. The long length of the Tiguan allows for a third-row seat. The seat is standard on front-wheel drive models and optional for all-wheel drive variants. The third-row should only be used for small kids as there is a minuscule amount of legroom. Another downside to the third-row is cargo space. The third-row causes a significant reduction in cargo space. With the third-row folded, it offers 4.6 cubic feet less than the two-row variant (33 vs. 37.6). Fold the second-row and the reduction becomes larger - 7.8 cubic feet. I would recommend skipping the third-row option if you opt for an AWD Tiguan.
      Like the exterior, the CX-5’s interior stands out. The dash shows Mazda’s effort on trying to make their interiors feel more like a luxury vehicle with sculpted contours, brushed aluminum, soft-touch plastics with a grain texture, and stitching on certain trim pieces. Compared to the Tiguan, the CX-5’s control layout is more spread out, making it somewhat difficult to find and reach certain controls. 
      The Grand Touring tester featured power adjustments for both front seats. The seats will feel a bit too firm for some passengers, but I found them to be just right. It would have been awesome if Mazda provided ventilation for the front seats to bolster their premium ambitions. The CX-5’s back seat offers a decent amount of headroom for those under six-feet. Legroom is somewhat lacking when put against the competition. I found that my knees were almost touching the back side of the front seat. Cargo space is right in the middle with 30.9 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 59.6 when folded.
      Infotainment
      A seven-inch touchscreen featuring the Mazda Connect infotainment system and a rotary knob controller is standard on all CX-5s. Grand Touring models get navigation as standard, while the Touring gets it as an option. Mazda Connect is a mixed bag. The interface is beginning to look somewhat old due to the use of dark colors and a dull screen. Also, trying to figure out which parts of the system are touch-enabled becomes quite tedious as there is no way to tell except through trial and error. There is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility, but I’m hoping the 2019 model will get it.
      For the Tiguan, Volkswagen offers three different infotainment systems ranging from 6.5 to 8-inches. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility come standard. The current Volkswagen infotainment system is one of the best thanks in part to snappy performance and a simple interface. You can do various smartphone gestures such as swiping to move around the system. One disappointment is the lack of any sort of haptic feedback when touching any of the shortcut buttons sitting on either side of the screen. We would also recommend keeping a cloth in the Tiguan as the glass surface for the infotainment system becomes littered with fingerprints.
      Like in the Atlas I reviewed a few weeks ago, the Tiguan experienced an issue with Apple CarPlay. Applications such as Google Music or Spotify running in CarPlay would freeze up. I could exit out to the CarPlay interface, but was unable to unfreeze the applications unless I restarted the vehicle. Resetting my iPhone solved this issue.
      Powertrain
      Under the CX-5’s hood is a 2.5L four-cylinder producing 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet (up one from the 2017 model). Mazda has added cylinder deactivation for the 2018 model that allows the engine to run on just two cylinders to improve fuel efficiency. This is paired with a six-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. For the Tiguan, Volkswagen has dropped in a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine producing 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive complete the package.
      With a higher torque figure and being available between 1,600 to 4,300 rpm, the Tiguan should leave the CX-5 in the dust. But at the stoplight drag race, the CX-5 bests the Tiguan thanks to a sharper throttle response and a steady stream of power. The Tiguan’s turbo-four gets hit with a double-whammy of turbo-lag and a somewhat confused eight-speed automatic transmission, making it feel anything but eager to get off the line. As speeds climb, the story changes. The Tiguan’s engine feels more willing to get moving whenever you need to make a pass or merge onto a freeway. The CX-5’s engine runs out of steam and you’ll need to really work it to get up to speed at a decent rate.
      Fuel Economy
      The EPA says the 2018 Mazda CX-5 AWD will return 24 City/30 Highway/26 Combined, while the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan AWD returns 21 City/27 Highway/23 Combined. Both models returned high fuel economy averages; the CX-5 return 28.5 while the Tiguan got 27.3 mpg during my week-long test. Both models were driven on mix of 60 percent city and 40 percent highway.
      Ride & Handling
      When I reviewed the 2017 Mazda CX-5, I said that it carried on the mantle of being a fun-to-drive crossover set by the first-generation. Driving on some of the back roads around Detroit, the CX-5 felt very agile and showed little body roll. The steering provides sharp responses and excellent weighting. The sporting edge does mean a firm ride, allowing some road imperfections to come inside. Not much road or wind noise comes inside.
      Volkswagen took a different approach with the Tiguan’s ride and handling characteristics. On rough roads, the Tiguan provides a very cushioned ride on some of the roughest payment. This soft ride does hurt the Tiguan when cornering as there is slightly more body roll. But that doesn’t make the Tiguan a bad driving crossover. The chassis feels very willing when pushed and the steering provides a direct feel.
      Value
      The 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan SE AWD begins at $30,230. This particular tester came to $31,575 with the optional Habanero Orange Metallic and fog lights. But the 2018 Mazda CX-5 Touring comes with more equipment such as radar cruise control, lane departure warning, 19-inch wheels, LED headlights, and power adjustments for the driver for only $2,175 less than the Tiguan SE’s base price. You can add navigation, Bose audio system, and sunroof as part of $1,200 Preferred Equipment package. When it comes to the midlevel, it is no contest as the CX-5 walks away.
      The script flips however when you put the 2018 CX-5 Grand Touring under the microscope. The AWD version begins at $30,945 and with a few options such as the Soul Red paint and Premium package, the vehicle seen here comes to $34,685. But you can get into the Tiguan SEL AWD that adds adaptive cruise control, power liftgate, and navigation for only $2,295 less than our as-tested CX-5. While the CX-5 does offer more of a premium interior, the larger interior and slightly better infotainment system give the Tiguan a slight edge.
      Verdict
      It feels weird to describe the verdict between the two compact crossovers as a decision to satisfy your desires or needs. The 2018 Mazda CX-5 falls into the former as it boasts a handsome look that very few models can match, luxurious interior, and handling characteristics that make you feel like you’re driving a sports car. As for the Tiguan, it falls in the latter camp by offering a spacious interior, smooth ride, and a better infotainment system. I consider these two to be the best-in-class. But deciding which one is better will ultimately come down to deciding whether to give into your wants or needs.
      Disclaimer: Mazda and Volkswagen Provided the vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Mazda
      Model: CX-5
      Trim: Grand Touring AWD
      Engine: 2.5L DOHC 16-Valve Inline-Four
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 187 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 186 @4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 24/30/26
      Curb Weight: N/A
      Location of Manufacture: Hiroshima, Japan
      Base Price: $30,945
      As Tested Price: $34,685 (Includes $975.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Package - $1,395.00
      Soul Red Crystal Paint - $595.00
      Illuminated Door Sill Plates - $400.00
      Retractable Cover Cover - $250.00
      Rear Bumper Guard - $125.00
      Year: 2018
      Make: Volkswagen
      Model: Tiguan
      Trim: SE 4Motion
      Engine: 2.0L Turbocharged 16-Valve DOHC TSI Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 184 @ 4,400
      Torque @ RPM: 221 @ 1,600
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 21/27/23
      Curb Weight: 3,858 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Puebla, Mexico
      Base Price: $30,230
      As Tested Price: $31,575 (Includes $900.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Habanero Orange Metallic - $295.00
      Front Fog Lights - $150.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      A few weeks ago, I wrote a comparison test between the 2018 Mazda CX-9 and Volkswagen Atlas. It was a close fight, but the Atlas ended up being the victor as it proved to be the better all-around three-row crossover. I find myself comparing these two brands once again, this time with their compact crossovers. Like their larger brethren, the two models take different approaches. The Mazda CX-5 goes for something that provides a premium feel and exciting drive, while the Volkswagen Tiguan uses space and comfort as its guide. Which one of these crossovers  Which one of these crossovers is right for you?
      Exterior
      Mazda’s design team believed evolution would be the right approach for the second-generation CX-5’s design and we have to agree. Taking the first-generation model, designers added more curves to the body, widened the front grille, and angled the front LED headlights. In what is becoming a very crowded class, the CX-5 stands tall, especially when wearing the optional Soul Red paint.
      Like the Atlas, the Volkswagen Tiguan’s shape can be explained as  “looking like a bit of a square, but a posh square.” Little details such as the three-bar grille, LED daytime-running lights, and slightly bulging fenders help give the Tiguan a touch of class. The optional Habanero Orange Metallic paint color on my test vehicle does show Volkswagen is willing to step outside of its comfort zone. In terms of dimensions, the Tiguan is six inches longer in overall length and rides on a wheelbase that is 3.6-inches longer than the CX-5. 
      Interior
      The Tiguan’s interior follows Volkswagen’s ethos of keeping it functional in terms of the design. It features simple dash and design touches such as a silver finish for various trim pieces. Volkswagen does make up for the boring design with an excellent layout of controls. For example, the climate control system is slightly angled upward to not only make it easier to reach, but also make it less of a hassle to look down and see the current settings. Material quality is average for this type of vehicle with a mix of hard and soft plastics.
      The front seats in the Tiguan SE offer a power recline and manual adjustments for fore/aft and height. I really liked the seats in the Tiguan as they provided excellent comfort and firmness for any trip distance. But the Tiguan really surprises in the back seat with head and legroom similar to what you’ll find on a full-size SUV. Passengers sitting back here can also move the seats back and forth, and recline to make themselves more comfortable. The long length of the Tiguan allows for a third-row seat. The seat is standard on front-wheel drive models and optional for all-wheel drive variants. The third-row should only be used for small kids as there is a minuscule amount of legroom. Another downside to the third-row is cargo space. The third-row causes a significant reduction in cargo space. With the third-row folded, it offers 4.6 cubic feet less than the two-row variant (33 vs. 37.6). Fold the second-row and the reduction becomes larger - 7.8 cubic feet. I would recommend skipping the third-row option if you opt for an AWD Tiguan.
      Like the exterior, the CX-5’s interior stands out. The dash shows Mazda’s effort on trying to make their interiors feel more like a luxury vehicle with sculpted contours, brushed aluminum, soft-touch plastics with a grain texture, and stitching on certain trim pieces. Compared to the Tiguan, the CX-5’s control layout is more spread out, making it somewhat difficult to find and reach certain controls. 
      The Grand Touring tester featured power adjustments for both front seats. The seats will feel a bit too firm for some passengers, but I found them to be just right. It would have been awesome if Mazda provided ventilation for the front seats to bolster their premium ambitions. The CX-5’s back seat offers a decent amount of headroom for those under six-feet. Legroom is somewhat lacking when put against the competition. I found that my knees were almost touching the back side of the front seat. Cargo space is right in the middle with 30.9 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 59.6 when folded.
      Infotainment
      A seven-inch touchscreen featuring the Mazda Connect infotainment system and a rotary knob controller is standard on all CX-5s. Grand Touring models get navigation as standard, while the Touring gets it as an option. Mazda Connect is a mixed bag. The interface is beginning to look somewhat old due to the use of dark colors and a dull screen. Also, trying to figure out which parts of the system are touch-enabled becomes quite tedious as there is no way to tell except through trial and error. There is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility, but I’m hoping the 2019 model will get it.
      For the Tiguan, Volkswagen offers three different infotainment systems ranging from 6.5 to 8-inches. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility come standard. The current Volkswagen infotainment system is one of the best thanks in part to snappy performance and a simple interface. You can do various smartphone gestures such as swiping to move around the system. One disappointment is the lack of any sort of haptic feedback when touching any of the shortcut buttons sitting on either side of the screen. We would also recommend keeping a cloth in the Tiguan as the glass surface for the infotainment system becomes littered with fingerprints.
      Like in the Atlas I reviewed a few weeks ago, the Tiguan experienced an issue with Apple CarPlay. Applications such as Google Music or Spotify running in CarPlay would freeze up. I could exit out to the CarPlay interface, but was unable to unfreeze the applications unless I restarted the vehicle. Resetting my iPhone solved this issue.
      Powertrain
      Under the CX-5’s hood is a 2.5L four-cylinder producing 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet (up one from the 2017 model). Mazda has added cylinder deactivation for the 2018 model that allows the engine to run on just two cylinders to improve fuel efficiency. This is paired with a six-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. For the Tiguan, Volkswagen has dropped in a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine producing 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive complete the package.
      With a higher torque figure and being available between 1,600 to 4,300 rpm, the Tiguan should leave the CX-5 in the dust. But at the stoplight drag race, the CX-5 bests the Tiguan thanks to a sharper throttle response and a steady stream of power. The Tiguan’s turbo-four gets hit with a double-whammy of turbo-lag and a somewhat confused eight-speed automatic transmission, making it feel anything but eager to get off the line. As speeds climb, the story changes. The Tiguan’s engine feels more willing to get moving whenever you need to make a pass or merge onto a freeway. The CX-5’s engine runs out of steam and you’ll need to really work it to get up to speed at a decent rate.
      Fuel Economy
      The EPA says the 2018 Mazda CX-5 AWD will return 24 City/30 Highway/26 Combined, while the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan AWD returns 21 City/27 Highway/23 Combined. Both models returned high fuel economy averages; the CX-5 return 28.5 while the Tiguan got 27.3 mpg during my week-long test. Both models were driven on mix of 60 percent city and 40 percent highway.
      Ride & Handling
      When I reviewed the 2017 Mazda CX-5, I said that it carried on the mantle of being a fun-to-drive crossover set by the first-generation. Driving on some of the back roads around Detroit, the CX-5 felt very agile and showed little body roll. The steering provides sharp responses and excellent weighting. The sporting edge does mean a firm ride, allowing some road imperfections to come inside. Not much road or wind noise comes inside.
      Volkswagen took a different approach with the Tiguan’s ride and handling characteristics. On rough roads, the Tiguan provides a very cushioned ride on some of the roughest payment. This soft ride does hurt the Tiguan when cornering as there is slightly more body roll. But that doesn’t make the Tiguan a bad driving crossover. The chassis feels very willing when pushed and the steering provides a direct feel.
      Value
      The 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan SE AWD begins at $30,230. This particular tester came to $31,575 with the optional Habanero Orange Metallic and fog lights. But the 2018 Mazda CX-5 Touring comes with more equipment such as radar cruise control, lane departure warning, 19-inch wheels, LED headlights, and power adjustments for the driver for only $2,175 less than the Tiguan SE’s base price. You can add navigation, Bose audio system, and sunroof as part of $1,200 Preferred Equipment package. When it comes to the midlevel, it is no contest as the CX-5 walks away.
      The script flips however when you put the 2018 CX-5 Grand Touring under the microscope. The AWD version begins at $30,945 and with a few options such as the Soul Red paint and Premium package, the vehicle seen here comes to $34,685. But you can get into the Tiguan SEL AWD that adds adaptive cruise control, power liftgate, and navigation for only $2,295 less than our as-tested CX-5. While the CX-5 does offer more of a premium interior, the larger interior and slightly better infotainment system give the Tiguan a slight edge.
      Verdict
      It feels weird to describe the verdict between the two compact crossovers as a decision to satisfy your desires or needs. The 2018 Mazda CX-5 falls into the former as it boasts a handsome look that very few models can match, luxurious interior, and handling characteristics that make you feel like you’re driving a sports car. As for the Tiguan, it falls in the latter camp by offering a spacious interior, smooth ride, and a better infotainment system. I consider these two to be the best-in-class. But deciding which one is better will ultimately come down to deciding whether to give into your wants or needs.
      Disclaimer: Mazda and Volkswagen Provided the vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Mazda
      Model: CX-5
      Trim: Grand Touring AWD
      Engine: 2.5L DOHC 16-Valve Inline-Four
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 187 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 186 @4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 24/30/26
      Curb Weight: N/A
      Location of Manufacture: Hiroshima, Japan
      Base Price: $30,945
      As Tested Price: $34,685 (Includes $975.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Package - $1,395.00
      Soul Red Crystal Paint - $595.00
      Illuminated Door Sill Plates - $400.00
      Retractable Cover Cover - $250.00
      Rear Bumper Guard - $125.00
      Year: 2018
      Make: Volkswagen
      Model: Tiguan
      Trim: SE 4Motion
      Engine: 2.0L Turbocharged 16-Valve DOHC TSI Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 184 @ 4,400
      Torque @ RPM: 221 @ 1,600
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 21/27/23
      Curb Weight: 3,858 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Puebla, Mexico
      Base Price: $30,230
      As Tested Price: $31,575 (Includes $900.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Habanero Orange Metallic - $295.00
      Front Fog Lights - $150.00
    • By William Maley
      Many automotive journalists have been flummoxed by the popularity of the Toyota Camry. The model trails the pack in a number of key areas such as design, handling, and performance. But I know the reason why the Camry is beloved by many; it is a no hassle midsize sedan that will go the distance. 
      But there is a change that endangers many midsize sedans. Buyers who previously brought sedans are now trending towards crossovers and SUVs as they offer a number of traits such as a higher ride height and a large area for people and stuff. Automakers find themselves in a difficult spot as to whether they should drop their sedans to focus on utility vehicles, or put more effort into making them more appealing. Toyota has chosen the latter option with the 2018 Camry. Let’s see if they made the right call.
      Previous Camrys have tended to play it safe with their exterior designs. The new model drops the safe attitude and goes for something very extroverted. For the XSE, this includes a different front end with a smaller lower grille and large cutouts in the bumper. The side profile shows off a pronounced character line and a set of 19-inch machined-finish alloy wheels. Move the back to find a faux diffuser and a set of quad tailpipes. I actually prefer the look of the XSE to the other Camry models as it loses out on the gaping maw that is the lower grille.
      Compared to the jumbled-together look of the previous Camry’s interior, the new model features a flowing and modern design. The unique shape of the center stack and contrasting trim pieces for the passenger really help the model stand out. Controls are laid out in a very logical fashion and have easy-to-read text. Material quality is very impressive with exposed stitching, metal trim, and a lot of soft-touch plastic. 
      The XSE features leather seats with eight-way power adjustments for driver and passenger. I found the seats to be on the firm side and provide decent support on short trips. But on longer trips, my lower back started to ache. I couldn’t tell if I design of the seat just didn’t work with my back or if I had too much lumbar. On paper, the Camry has the smallest amount of rear legroom. But in reality, I found that I had more than enough to feel comfortable. Taller passengers will need to duck as headroom is quite tight due to the optional sunroof.
      Toyota has installed the latest version of their Entune infotainment system in the 2018 Camry. The new version comes with an updated look that retains the ease of use that we have liked on the older systems. Performance is about average for the class as it takes only a few milliseconds to get to the various functions. I do like the array of physical buttons that provide an easy way to move around the system. There is still no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. But considering the 2019 Avalon does have Apple CarPlay, we hope the Camry will get it as well.
      XSE models get a heads-up display as standard. However, I found the display to be more of a hindrance as the image was blurry. I think this is a problem with Toyota as I experienced the same issue in the LC 500 coupe I drove late last year.
      For its polarizing character, you might be expecting the Camry XSE to have either a turbo-four or V6 under the hood. While a 3.5L V6 is available, this XSE featured the standard 2.5L four-cylinder engine producing 206 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. It was a bit disappointing to find this engine under the hood considering the vehicle’s character. Around town, the Camry doesn’t feel as fast as the Hyundai Sonata due to most of the power being available only at higher rpms. On the highway or needing to make a pass, the four-cylinder comes alive with enough shove to get you moving at a decent clip. Disappointingly, Toyota forgot to quiet down the engine during acceleration as there is a fair amount of buzz coming inside the cabin. But the engine quiets down to a murmur when cruising. The new eight-speed transmission pairs well with the engine, delivering unobtrusive and quick shifts.
      Fuel economy figures for the 2.5 are 28 City/39 Highway/32 Combined. My average for the week landed around 32.6 mpg in mixed driving.
      The Camry is the latest Toyota model to move on to the TGNA modular platform and it makes the model somewhat fun to pilot. On a curvy stretch of road, the XSE feels well-mannered as there isn’t excessive body motion and the steering proving a direct and well-weighted feel. Despite its sporting nature, the XSE’s ride is well-controlled with only a few bumps making their way inside. One disappointment is the large amount road and wind noise that comes inside when driving on the freeway. 
      The Camry XSE sits as the flagship trim with a starting price of $29,150 for the four-cylinder and $35,100 for the V6. With a number of options, the as-tested price of this XSE comes to $35,333. That is quite the poor value considering for a few hundred dollars more, you can get into a loaded an Accord Touring complete with a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder producing 252 horsepower. For a couple thousand dollars less, the Hyundai Sonata Limited 2.0T and Kia Optima SX offer similar driving dynamics and more luxury touches.
      Toyota knew it had to take a big gamble with the new Camry considering the growing demand for crossovers. In certain respects, Toyota has done it. The Camry is not a wallflower in terms of its looks and handling. Additionally, the interior blends a distinctive design with ease of use. But there are some problems that put the Camry in a tough spot. The four-cylinder engine needs a bit more low-end punch for around-town driving. Some more sound deadening would go a long way in making the Camry a good long-distance cruiser. The biggest issue is the value argument as other sedans offer much more equipment for similar or less money than the Camry. Toyota is likely banking on the name equity of model to justify the higher price. This would be ok if we weren’t in a time where more and more buyers are moving to crossovers and utility vehicles. The 2018 Toyota Camry is a much better car from the one it replaces, but the high price tag may be its downfall.
      Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the Camry, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2018
      Make: Toyota
      Model: Camry
      Trim: XSE
      Engine: 2.5L Twin-Cam, 16-Valve Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 206 @ 6,600
      Torque @ RPM: 186 @ 5,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 28/39/32
      Curb Weight: 3,395 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Georgetown, KY
      Base Price: $29,000
      As Tested Price: $35,355 (Includes $895.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Audio Package - $1,800.00
      Driver Assist Package - $1,675.00
      Panoramic Sunroof - $1,045.00
      Special Color - $395.00
      Illuminated Door Sill Enhancements - $299.00
      Carpet/Trunk Mat Set - $224.00

      View full article
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