- New LED lights front and back
- Industry-first, center-mounted front airbag
- New suspension components create a smoother ride
The 2013 Buick Enclave is mechanically similar to the Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia. Like the Enclave, both of those vehicles get an update for 2013, but the revisions seem to be less radical with the Enclave. The exterior of the 2013 Enclave looks fresher and more sculpted, but it also looks a lot like the 2012 Enclave, at least from the outside. We're guessing this is no accident since the Enclave was Buick's best-selling model last year. And Buick says about half of all buyers who opted for an Enclave in 2011 previously owned a non-General Motors brand. The modest changes are also likely aimed at pleasing current customers who are likely more risk averse than, say, Chevrolet customers.
Still, the 2013 Buick Enclave gets a host of improvements, most of which are designed to keep it competitive with the pricier competition. There are new LED running lights up front and LED taillights. Xenon headlights are standard, and there's even an option for adaptive headlights, meaning they can be aimed in the direction the driver steers. Out back, new exhaust outlets with chrome trim are integrated into the lower part of the rear bumper giving the Enclave a more polished look.
The 2013 Enclave's interior is a lot like the exterior - plenty of changes, but most are subtle. For example, the entire dash and center console area look virtually unchanged, but if you start poking around you'll find more soft touch materials on the dash and door panels, plus a more modern color palette. Buick's InteliLInk touchscreen driver interface is a new feature for the Enclave. It features Bluetooth for making hands-free phone calls, as well as A2DP audio streaming, a USB port, auxiliary input, redundant steering wheel mounted controls and voice control. Some smartphone apps are compatible with the IntelliLink interface via the touchscreen, steering wheel controls or voice commands. The first to be supported are the familiar Pandora and Stitcher apps.
Mechanical changes to the Enclave include revised suspension in the front and rear. Buick says new dual-flow dampers and rebound springs up front deliver a smoother ride with a greater sense of control. The rear suspension gets new low-velocity control shocks that help reduce road inputs that could be felt inside the passenger compartment. A revised Hydra-Matic six-speed automatic transmission means smooth shifts and more efficient power delivery. The new Enclave is expected to get 24 mpg on the highway, which isn't a gigantic number but certainly credible for a large, eight-passenger SUV.
For the 2012 model year, every Buick was named an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Pick. The Enclave will likely repeat as a top safety pick thanks to a new airbag. Buick is including a center-mounted airbag in all 2013 Enclave models. The center-mounted airbag deploys from the inboard side of the seats and acts as a barrier between the driver and front passenger. According to Buick, this is an industry first.
What it means to you: Buick didn't announce prices but did say it expects the price to remain close to the current $36,350 mark. That's a lot of luxury crossover for the money. Lexus RX and Acura MDX shoppers might want to check out the 2013 Enclave.