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2018 Buick Enclave

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Expert Rating

Our expert ratings are based on seven comprehensive criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value.

You can interpret our ratings in the following way:

: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.

: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.

: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.

: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.

: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.

Select a Trim
Select a Trim
2018 Base Front-Wheel Drive
most popular
Price:   -  From $39,995
2018 Essence Front-Wheel Drive Price:   -  From $44,300
2018 Essence All-Wheel Drive Price:   -  From $46,300
2018 Premium Front-Wheel Drive Price:   -  From $48,100
2018 Premium All-Wheel Drive Price:   -  From $50,400
2018 Avenir Front-Wheel Drive Price:   -  From $53,500
2018 Avenir All-Wheel Drive Price:   -  From $55,800


When it comes time at General Motors to dole out those big body-on-frame three-row SUVs everyone loves, Buick – despite being GM’s second-best-selling brand – has always been left wanting. But for 2018, GM’s decided to throw the brand a bone not only in the form of an all-new and embiggened version of its midsize three-row Enclave SUV, but it's granted Buick a sub-brand/top trim level of its own like GMC’s popular Denali (called Avenir) to boot.

What's New for 2018

The Enclave is all-new for 2018.

Buick Enclave

Choosing Your Buick Enclave

Gone is the last generation’s gawky minivanesque awkwardness and painfully dowdy interior in favor of a smoothly-sculpted shape that – despite being larger in every important dimension inside and out – looks svelter and more stylish than any mass-market crossover The General’s ever built.

The story’s the same on the inside as well, where one will find a multi-tiered dashboard every bit as slick and swoopy as the exterior’s pillarless “floating” roof. But the best interior feature of all – at least for third-row riders – is a health share of legroom (one of the main reasons for upsizing the Enclave in the first place). And thanks to a trick sliding second-row seat on the passenger’s side, accessing that third row is easier than ever.

Enclave prices range from the fleet-special, front-wheel-drive-only Enclave 1SV ($40,990, including $995 destination charge) to the full-boat $56,710 Avenir with all-wheel drive. In between – both price- and equipment-wise – are the $45,210 Essence FWD (all-wheel drive is $2,000 extra) and the $49,010 Premium FWD trim (all-wheel drive is $300 more here, as it is on the Avenir), all – naturally – before any options or accessories are added.

Every Enclave gets the same auto stop/start 3.6-liter V6 with 310 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque coupled to a nine-speed automatic. The EPA says front-drive versions return 18 mpg city, 26 highway, and 21 combined and 17/25/20 mpg if one opts for the extra-cost all-wheel-drive system, which includes driver-selectable modes and an active twin-clutch rear differential for enhanced grip and stability on slippery surfaces.

And, as weird as it is to say, the Enclave is Buick’s flagship, so it’s no surprise it threw every possible luxury, comfort, convenience, safety, and entertainment feature it could find into the Enclave line.

The one feature that needs no explanation is the latest version of what made many become Buick buyers in the first place: silence. In addition to old-school “QuietTuning” tricks like an acoustic-laminated windshield and front side glass, triple door seals, softer suspension settings, and "special quiet wheels” to keep engine and road noises out of the cabin, Buick’s system also takes a turn for the electronic with an in-cabin microphone and active noise cancellation system that all conspire to cosset the passengers in a cacophony-free cocoon.

Keep in mind, however – as Buick bigwigs surely do – what worked for the Roadmaster and Park Avenue crowd is almost diametrically-opposed to what their younger target audience wants in a vehicle. To that end, every – as in without exception – Enclave boasts a boatload of new tech, including a frameless eight-inch color touchscreen infotainment system with six speakers, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, SiriusXM, and Bluetooth connectivity, six USB ports (two data/charging, four charging), an OnStar/AT&T 4G LTE with wifi hotspot and five free years of OnStar Basic services, plus perimeter locking with push-button start.

Beyond those shared basics and others, Buick offers its Enclaves four ways:

Buick Enclave


Comes fully equipped with second-row captain's chairs, power front seats, a power liftgate, tri-zone climate control, remote start, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, and a six-speaker sound system with satellite radio and integrated smartphone apps. Also included in the $39,990 price are 18-inch wheels and xenon headlamps. The Convenience comes with front-wheel drive only.

One look at the 1SV’s standard equipment sheet, however, shows that "base" means something different at Buick and that the MSRP is money well spent inside and out. In addition to the model-wide whiz-bangs already covered, it sports heated front seats, perimeter locking and remote start, tri-zone automatic climate controls, rear air conditioning, a theft-deterrent system with engine immobilizer and alarm, a 4.2-inch display in the instrument cluster for monitoring vehicle functions (including tire pressure, fuel range, and more), a leather-wrapped steering wheel on a a tilt-and-telescope steering column, carpeted floor mats for all three rows, a rear-view camera, and rear parking sensors.

Outside one gets a hands-free power-programmable automatic liftgate, heated and power-adjustable mirrors with integrated turn signal indicators, 18-inch wheels, roof rails, and LED lights all around, including the Enclave’s fancy "signature" running lamps.

Less care was taken when coming up with the 1SV’s color choices, though, as inside it’s dark gray cloth upholstery or nothing, whether one picks that always-free white or either black or metallic silver ($395 each). Consider the color choice carefully, however, as it’s the only option available to 1SV buyers that’s not an accessory installed by the dealer.

Buick Enclave


The practical entry point into Enclave ownership is the $45,210 (plus $2,000 for all-wheel drive) Essence model. That's $4,220 more than the 1SV with which it shares so much.

This is no doubt due to what it doesn't share, like leather upholstery – something most Buick loyalists (and even outsiders) likely assume this flagship has, especially one with a near-$50,000 sticker price – as it makes its first appearance in the Essence (and as it’s perforated and in one of three colors). Unlike the 1SV, the “fun” isn’t over yet as there are now options and packages to be had, including a $1,400 panoramic sunroof, and identically-priced 20-inch wheels for AWD Essences.

Package-wise, tick the $650 Trailering Package box if you're planning on towing anything. It doesn’t include all the equipment required – as it’s nothing more than a hitch and a heavy-duty engine cooling system – but you'll need it to exploit the Enclave's 5,000-pound tow rating.

Fortunately for all involved, the individual options list is far more interesting, but harder in ways than it has to be. Want navigation? Easy. That’s a $595 upgrade to that infotainment system all Enclaves share. An $825 Rear Camera Mirror is a nifty touch that blends the rear-view mirror with a high-definition camera to display an unhindered view from behind. It also adds a surround-view camera system.

Buick Enclave


It is at this point where the Buick of old would have started, with all the standard luxury, comfort, and convenience items included and at a price just low enough so as to not trod on Cadillac’s toes. Today that means $49,010 for front-drive plus or $51,310 for all-wheel drive.

Putting all-wheel drive aside, the Premium does make a good case for its price. Included in that near-$50,000 are things like a 10-speaker Bose audio system, ventilated front seats with heating for the now power-adjustable steering wheel, heated rear seats, a power-fold third-row – giving the Enclave a nearly-flat floor for hauling with the manually-controlled second-row folded, too – plus the usual conglomeration of safety-related acronyms.

These include forward collision warning, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, low-speed automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist with lane departure warning, a following distance indicator, and front pedestrian braking. And while it’s not cheap, if one adds the price of all that equipment piecemeal to the MSRP of an Essence, for example, the Premium trim’s price tag seems as much of a bargain as a $50k Buick can be.

Buick Enclave


“Avenir” is French for “future,” and judging by the bushelful of front-line tech this trim is laden with, it’s fitting. But Buick didn’t just stuff its flagship with everything the brand could think of. That was the Premium just discussed. No, Buick has gone so far as to call the two Avenir models – a LaCrosse sedan-based Avenir beat the Enclave to market by a few months – “the highest expression of Buick luxury.”

And for the $5,400 premium Buick demands over the, um, Premium – creating a “base” MSRP of $54,410 – the Enclave Avenir had well better be.

Now, there’s nothing on this Enclave that screams “Avenir here!” in the way the multi-holed chrome grille instantly indicates one is looking at a Denali-spec GMC, but GM did go so far as to revamp the vehicle with unique interior and exterior styling changes, including an “exclusive 3D mesh grille paired with chrome wings inspired by Buick concept cars.”

A less purple version of the “Avenir Package” prose says it contains the following: Unique upper and lower grilles, “Pearl Nickel Finish” 20-inch wheels, and front door badging, an exclusive tan interior with black piping and contrast stitching, the Avenir-logo embroidered in the front headrests and floor mats, and Avenir branded sill plates for all four doors. Mahogany wood accents are on the steering wheel, while owners can grab one of five “premium” exterior paints.

The only real option is the $2,095 Avenir Technology Package, which adds adaptive cruise control, forward automatic emergency braking, active shutters for the front grille, and an improved suspension package.

CarsDirect Tip

The Enclave shares a powertrain with and is built upon the same bones as Chevy’s Traverse – a vehicle that in certain combinations can be $10,000 less than its Tri-Shield sibling. And yet the Enclave, offers buyers not just the better of the two GM SUVs, but a beauty in its own right. We can’t recommend the all-in Avenir, but the Premium – thanks in no small part to its including most lower-trims’ options as standard and offering its own upgrades and packages – offers buyers the best Buick has to offer without taking a dive into the Avenir range.

Get your price on a Buick Enclave »

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Automotive Editor
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Expert Review

Expert Rating

Our expert ratings are based on seven comprehensive criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value.

You can interpret our ratings in the following way:

: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.

: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.

: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.

: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.

: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.

author image
Automotive Editor

For the past 11 years, the Buick Enclave served as the brand's large crossover, offering a surprising amount of space with an upscale feel. The previous Enclave performed its duties, but it had become a bit long in the tooth and its styling aged awkwardly. Thankfully, the all-new and much improved 2018 Buick Enclave is here, and regains its place as a fantastic option in the highly competitive realm of large crossovers.

Best Value

The Enclave's top-of-the-line Avenir trim is compelling, but we'd stick with the Premium trim. It comes with almost everything you'd want in a luxury crossover, like leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear captain's chairs, tri-zone climate control, a heated steering wheel, a power-folding third row, and a 10-speaker Bose audio system with a subwoofer. The Premium also comes standard with a plethora of driver assistance features like blind spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, and lane keeping assist. While all-wheel drive is optional, we'd save the money and use it on a set of snow tires once it gets colder.

As for options, we'd go with the Experience Buick Package, which gives us dual sunroofs that bathe the handsome cabin in natural light and a towing capability of 5,000 pounds. We'd also spring for the rear seat infotainment system without the DVD player, because with the system can wirelessly connect with devices that can stream video.

We'd also recommend saving up $395 for the exterior paint – aside from Summit White, every paint color Buick offers on the Enclave carries a premium. The bulk of the colors are metallic and ring up at $395, although Red Quartz Tintcoat and White Frost Tricoat require $495 and $995, respectively.

Here's how we'd build our Enclave:

  • Model: 2018 Buick Enclave Premium
  • Engine: 3.6-liter V6
  • Output: 310 hp/ 266 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Nine-speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
  • MPG: 18 City / 26 Hwy
  • Options: Experience Buick Package ($3,250, dual sunroof, 20-inch polished aluminum wheels, heavy duty cooling system, trailering package), Rear Seat Infotainment System without DVD player ($1,750), Havana Metallic Paint ($395)
  • Base Price:$49,010 (including a $995 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price:$54,490


Buick Enclave

The Enclave is a surprisingly quick large crossover due to its 310 horsepower 3.6-liter V6, which allows it to hit 60 mph in about six and a half seconds. The transmission is a quick-shifting nine speed automatic that is very competent, with smooth shifts and a logic that prevents it from constantly hunting for the right gear, like you see with many similar transmissions. Enclaves also have a choice of two different all-wheel-drive systems; the Essence trim receives an open differential and uses anti-lock brakes to control wheel spin, while the Premium and Avenir receive proper rear differentials to send the appropriate amount of power to the rear wheels.

On the road, the Enclave handles well with accurate steering and a suspension that makes this three-rower feel surprisingly planted in the corners. Body roll is minimal, even on base trims. Higher trims have adaptive suspension that can tailor the driving experience between sporty and comfortable. The exhaust note of the Enclave is nice, but quiet due to the standard active noise cancellation and copious amounts of sound deadening – Buick's traditional Quiet Tuning is at work.


It's not often that you can describe an SUV as beautiful, but the Enclave is just that. It is styled, but not overly so, giving a sense of movement even when it's sitting still. Creases extend across the sides of the crossover from that originate from the the corners of the handsome grille, while another crease creates a tuck along the bottom of the doors, making the Enclave feel a bit athletic. It's oddly reminiscent of Mazda's Kodo design language.

Inside, Buick has really made the Enclave into something special. It's well equipped at all trim levels, but base trims are fairly limited in their offerings. Higher trim levels get a choice of several leather palettes and a plethora of high-quality materials, while the Avenir gets the premium treatment with open pore-wood and exclusive colors.

The Enclave is also very comfortable. The front seats are spacious and supportive with heat and ventilation in most trims, and the rear captain's chairs can slide and recline. Surprisingly, the third row is spacious enough for six-foot tall adults, which is a rarity in this segment. The amount of cargo space is also impressive; with the third row folded flat, you get 58 cubic feet of room, which is about as much as an entire Volkswagen Golf with its rear seat folded.

The Best and Worst Things

The best thing about the new Enclave is the style. It really is a good looking vehicle, and it stands out. Buick is hitting some real home runs as of late, but the Enclave is a grand slam. It's also incredibly spacious, and it's very well equipped. For about $50,000 you can get a really great family hauler with accoutrements you'd see in luxury vehicles that cost $20-30,000 more.

The one area that is lacking for the Enclave is the fuel economy. It's poor with a rating of 18 mpg in the city. While the power of the V6 is appreciated, one has to wonder why Buick didn't go with some sort of forced induction to help bump up the mpg ratings a bit.

Right For? Wrong For?

Buick Enclave

The Buick Enclave is perfect for families with older children, as even tall people can fit comfortably in the third row. Everyone will be comfortable on long trips, not just those in the captain's chairs. The Enclave is a perfect vehicle for this application, providing a more stylish alternative to the minivan.

This may be obvious, but the Enclave is not a good vehicle for the eligible bachelor or bachelorette. The Encore is essentially a modern minivan, and unless you're moonlighting as an Uber XL driver, you won't get enough use out of it to justify the purchase if you don't have kids. Instead, buy a Mazda Miata for fun and a Toyota Tacoma for practicality. You can get both for the price of the Enclave.

The Bottom Line

If the Enclave is a picture of the direction Buick is going, we should watch out. It's a fantastic looking crossover that is well equipped and incredibly spacious. Essentially, it's a great vehicle that should be seriously considered if you're looking into that space. Buick has done a great job with the Enclave, so we are hoping they're rewarded for the effort.

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Specs & Features

Overall Crash Safety Rating
Engine - Cylinders/Horsepower/Torque
3.6L V-6 / 310 HP / 266 ft.lbs.
9-spd sequential shift control auto w/OD
Drive Type
Fuel Economy - City/Highway/Combined
18 / 26 / 22 Mpg
Passenger Capacity
Bumper to Bumper Warranty
48 Months / 50,000 Miles
Mechanical Specs
Engine - Cylinders/Horsepower/Torque
3.6L V-6 / 310 HP / 266 ft.lbs.
Drive Type
Fuel Economy - City/Hwy/Combined
18 / 26 / 22 Mpg
4-wheel Disc
Front Suspension
Rear Suspension
Independent Multi-link
Spare Tire And Wheel
Compact Steel
Fuel Tank
19.0 Gal.
Recommended Fuel Type
Regular Unleaded
Average Cost To Fill Tank
Dimensions & Capabilities
Maximum Cargo Volume
97.6 Cu.ft.
Passenger Volume
157 Cu.ft.
Exterior Length
204.3 "
Exterior Width
78.8 "
Exterior Height
69.6 "
Front Headroom
41.0 "
Rear Headroom
39.9 "
Front Legroom
41.2 "
Rear Legroom
38.9 "
Front Shoulder Room
62.4 "
Rear Shoulder Room
61.7 "
Front Hip Room
Rear Hip Room
Curb Weight
4,359 Lbs.
Wheel Base
121 "
Turning Radius
19.5 '
Exterior Features
Door Count
4 Doors
18.0 " Silver Aluminum
Clearcoat Lower Accent Two-tone / Metallic Lower Accent Two-tone
Exterior Mirrors
Dual Power Remote Heated
Front Body-colored With Chrome Insert
Grille Moldings
Black W/chrome Surround
Rear Spoiler
Stainless Steel With Chrome Tailpipe Finish
Interior Features
Passenger Capacity
Seat Trim
Front Seat Type
Heated Front Seats
Driver And Front Passenger Heated-cushion, Heated-seatback
Front Driver Seat Direction Controls
(8-way Power)
Front Passenger Seat Direction Controls
(6-way Power)
Front Armrests
(8-way Power)
Rear Armrests
Rear Seats
40-40 Bucket
Radio & Infotainment
Buick Infotainment System Am/fm, Clock, Seek-scan / Buick Infotainment System Am/fm, Seek-scan
Radio Steering Wheel Controls
Apple Car Play
Android Auto
Bluetooth w/ Hands-Free Connectivity
Convenience Features
Steering Wheel Type
Telescopic Tilt
Climate Control
Automatic Air Conditioning
Cruise Control
With Steering Wheel Controls
Sun Roof
Rearview Mirror
Auto-dimming Day-night
One Touch Open Window
Front And Rear
Tinted Windows
Vanity Mirrors
Dual Illuminated
Remote Keyless Entry
Keyfob (all Doors)
Power Outlets
Safety Features
Overall Crash Safety Rating
Overall Front Crash Safety Rating
Overall Side Crash Safety Rating
Rollover Crash Safety Rating
Front Impact Airbags
Driver And Passenger
Driver Side Impact Airbags
Seat Mounted
Knee Airbag
Passenger Side Impact Airbag
Seat Mounted
Rear Side Airbag
Seatbelt Pretensioners
Anti-Lock Brakes
4-wheel Anti-lock Brakes (abs)
Forward Collision Warning
Blind Spot Sensor
Lane Departure Warning
Autonomous Cruise Control
Pedestrian Detection
Driver Attention Alert
Daytime Running Lights
Auto High Beams
Intellibeam Auto High-beam
Adaptive Headlights
Parking Sensors
Security Systems
Security System
Panic Alarm
Ignition Disable
Pass-key Iii
Bumper To Bumper Months Miles
48 Months / 50,000 Miles
Major Components Months
72 Months / 70,000 Miles
Included Maintenance Months
24 Months / 24,000 Miles
Roadside Assistance Months
72 Months / 70,000 Miles
Corrosion Perforation
72 Months / Unlimited Miles
Accessories Months
48 Months / 50,000 Miles

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