Since the Enclave was launched as a 2008 model, it has led the much-needed Buick product revival. And within just three years, the premium midsize crossover continues to draw new customers as evidenced from last year's sales figures of more than 55,000 units.
For 2012, the aggressively appearing Enclave with the massive waterfall grille, tri-shield insignia and V-shaped portholes up front, is once again available in front-wheel or all-wheel drive. But Buick has replaced CX and CXL with base, convenience, leather and premium trims. Only one power train is offered: the 3.6-liter V-6 engine pumping out 288 horsepower @ 6300 rpm and 270 pounds-feet of torque @ 3400 rpm. Power routed through the lone 6-speed automatic transmission gives sufficient performance.
Sharing design cues with Chevy Traverse and GMC Acadia, it is in the passenger and cargo department that the Enclave outshines the competition. You can stick with the standard second-row captain's chairs or opt for the second-row bench seat to get a total capacity of eight. Just pull a lever and the second row moves 3 inches fore and aft. With both rear seats folded, you can get 115.3 cubic feet of storage space or 23.2 cubic feet behind the third-row seat. There also is an under-floor cargo area and well-placed bins and cubbies. Add in a decent tow capacity of 4,500 pounds and now you are talking!
Priced at $36,600 for the base FWD, the Premium AWD is available for a steep $45,080. But majority of buyers may be content with the leather $39,715 FWD model.
The Enclave is a complete package of performance and comfort. It makes for a convenient family hauler as long as you are willing to forego average gas mileage (we eked just 18.5 mpg on city/highway).
ENCLAVE PREMIUM (AWD)
Wheelbase: 119 inches
Length: 201.5 inches
Suspension: coil-over strut front; linked H-arm independent rear
Steering: power variable assist
Weight: 4,985 pounds
City: 16 mpg
Highway: 22 mpg
Fuel capacity: 22 gallons