The 2018 Buick Enclave crossover SUV is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine with an output of 310 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. That is mated with a nine-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive is standard for the base trim. All-wheel drive is only available for higher trim levels. The six-cylinder powerplant under the hood of the Enclave Avenir offered immediate acceleration in most scenarios. It took 6.6 seconds to reach 60 mph, which was more than adequate but not the most stimulating. The transmission shifted through the gears without any jitters, which contributed to a smooth dynamic when driving. The vehicle handled with good composure and body roll was well controlled. Even when nearing its cornering speed limits, there was enough grip to stay on track. The steering, however, was a little sedate and there was a slight delay prior to the vehicle actually changing direction. The effort required to steer felt balanced and appropriate according to how fast the vehicle cornered. The brakes performed reliably and there was no oversensitivity from the linear stopping force. However, it wasn’t the most robust stopping power, which was shown by requiring 134 feet to suddenly stop from 60 mph. The pedal felt firm and controlling the bite was very manageable.
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The base trim comes standard with LED headlights, keyless entry and ignition, remote engine start, automatic climate control, power-adjustable heated front seats, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, 4G LTE, Wi-Fi hotspot, six USB ports, satellite radio, and an infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen and a six-speaker sound system. Several advanced safety and driver aids also come standard. The Essence trim adds a cabin air ionization system, a towing equipment package, and additional advanced safety and driver aids. The Premium trim adds driver-seat memory settings, a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, power-folding third-row seats, and a 10-speaker Bose sound system. The top-of-the-line Avenir trim adds navigation, a bigger digital instrument cluster, a wireless charging pad, and a rearview mirror with an integrated camera display. The Avenir Technology package includes front grille shutters, adaptive suspension, and additional advanced safety and driver aids.
The 2018 Enclave was tested by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and it earned four stars in the frontal crash test, five stars in the side crash test, and four stars in the rollover test. Overall, it achieved a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA. Advanced safety and driver aids that come standard with the base trim are a rearview camera and rear parking sensors. More features are added to higher trim levels and they include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, a top-down parking camera system, low-speed forward collision mitigation, pedestrian detection, front parking sensors, lane departure warning and intervention, adaptive cruise control, and automatic braking.
The 2018 Enclave has a length of 204.3 inches, a width of 78.8 inches, a height of 69.6 inches, and a wheelbase of 120.9 inches. The Enclave has an aerodynamic profile and there are no sharp angles in its silhouette. The front fascia has a shield-like front grille and its vents don’t look garish. The front and rear quarters aren’t exaggerated, which look more flowing rather than muscular. All trims apart from the Avenir trim come standard with 18-inch wheels, but only the base trim does not have the option for bigger 20-inch wheels. The sunroof only becomes available starting with the Essence trim.
Entering the cabin was more akin to a step-in than a step-up and the doors opened wide enough. There are three rows of seats which can fit up to seven people. The first and second row had sufficient room even for a passenger beyond six feet in height. The third row offered the same headroom but more often than not, the knees would be against the seat in front. The first and second rows were acceptable for all-day comfort but they were simply narrow for the majority of passengers. The third row had a flatter cushion than the first and second rows. While the leather upholstery felt supple and was finished tightly, the design of the interior wasn’t as premium as its rivals. The capable cornering did not give up a comfortable ride quality in everyday driving. Impacts were dampened well to not feel harsh and stability was hardly upset by the most road imperfections. Road noise and wind noise was kept at bay and the engine gave a slight rumble when increasing acceleration.
There is 23.6 cu-ft of space behind the third row of seats, and there is 58 cu-ft of space behind the second row of seats. Folding the second and third row of seats opens up 97.6 cu-ft of space.