The 2011 Buick Enclave is one of the larger mid-size crossover SUVs, about as long and wide as the truck-based, full-size GMC Yukon, but not as tall. It’s also easier to step into and has a roomier third-row seat. With lightweight unitized body construction, a fully independent suspension and a transverse-mounted engine, the Enclave offers car-like ride and handling. Plus, with the all-aluminum V6 dual-overhead-camshaft (DOHC) engine and a 6-speed automatic transmission, it boasts better fuel economy than the truck-based Yukon. The Enclave is available in front- and all-wheel-drive configurations. A unique slide-and-fold second-row seat that stacks flat against the back of the front seats provides easy access to the third-row bench.
Buick outfitted the 2011 Enclave stylishly with a waterfall grille, hood-mounted ventiports, high-intensity discharge headlamps and a choice of 18-, 19- or 20-inch alloy wheels. The richly appointed interior is library-quiet, with liberal use of soft-touch materials and wood-grain accents. Standard safety gear includes stability and traction control, an anti-lock braking system, dual-front airbags, front-seat side airbags and overhead airbags. Available features include a console-mounted USB port for powering electronic devices and SiriusXM NavTraffic real-time traffic displays with the optional navigation system.
If you need room for up to eight passengers and their duffel, but a minivan isn’t the image you want and a full-size truck-based SUV doesn’t offer the ride, parking ease or fuel economy you need, then the Enclave is a good choice. See the 2011 Buick Enclave models for sale near you
What We Like
Good interior fit and finish; smooth ride; quiet cabin; communicative steering; top safety ratings; solid structure; sliding and folding second-row seats
What We Don’t
Poor rearward visibility; high step-in height; large turning radius; low seat-cushion height in second and third rows
The 2011 Buick Enclave is powered by a 3.6-liter DOHC V6 with a direct fuel injection, variable valve timing and four valves per cylinder. It’s rated at 288 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque, and uses regular unleaded fuel. A 6-speed automatic transmission with a sequential sport shifter is standard, and both front- and all-wheel drive are available. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates front-wheel-drive versions at 17 miles per gallon in the city and 24 mpg on the highway, while all-wheel-drive models return 16 mpg city/22 mpg hwy. Maximum towing capacity is 4,500 pounds.
Standard Features & Options
The 2011 Enclave comes in the CX and CXL trims.
Typical CX equipment includes a Bluetooth hands-free phone interface, front and rear automatic climate control, 7-passenger seating with cloth seats, second-row sliding fold-down captain’s chairs, a fold-flat third-row bench, power driver’s and front passenger seats, a tilt-telescopic leather-wrapped wood-trimmed steering wheel with remote audio controls, remote keyless entry, the OnStar communication system, a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo with SiriusXM radio, a HomeLink garage-door opener, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, auto headlamps, cruise control, a power lift gate, a compass, an outside-temperature display, 18-in steel wheels, fog lamps, a rear wiper/washer and power door locks, windows and heated mirrors.
The CXL trim adds 19-in alloy wheels, leather upholstery, heated front seats and driver’s-seat memory.
Available options include 20-in alloy wheels, heated and cooled front seats, touchscreen navigation, a power moonroof, a back-up camera display in either the navigation screen or the rearview mirror, a premium audio system with 10 speakers, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with headphones, a 110-volt inverter and a second-row sliding and split-folding bench seat.
Buick’s Enclave provides nearly as much people and cargo space as a minivan, minus the sliding side doors and the soccer-mom stigma. Clean, used family vehicles like the Enclave are in steady demand, especially low-mileage examples with all-wheel drive. Front-wheel-drive models generally cost less, and because the Enclave has standard traction control and the majority of its weight is over the front driving wheels, that’s all most buyers need.
For a good idea of the prices of used 2011 Enclave crossovers, check out the used-car values at Kelley Blue Book. You can also search the Autotrader Classifieds to see what models are for sale in your area.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued the following recalls for the 2011 Buick Enclave:
Snow or ice buildup on the windshield or wipers may reduce wiper movement and cause the wiper-arm pivot nuts to loosen, rendering the wipers ineffective.
The gas struts supporting the power liftgate may fail prematurely and the liftgate may close unexpectedly, creating an injury risk.
The steel cable for the front seat belts may fail, increasing the injury risk for front-seat occupants.
Due to electrical resistance in the wiring-harness connectors, the front-seat side-impact airbags and seat-belt pretensioners may not deploy in a crash.
Recall repairs are required by law, even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed and, if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.
Safety Ratings & Warranties
NHTSA gave the 2011 Enclave a five-star rating overall, with four for frontal impacts and rollover performance and five for side impacts.
The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated the 2011 Enclave Good for moderate-overlap front impact, side impact and head-restraint and seat crash performance. It also named the Enclave a Top Safety Pick+ among large SUVs.
General Motors covered the 2011 Enclave with a 4-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, a 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty with roadside assistance and a 6-year/100,000-mile corrosion-perforation warranty.
The 2011 Enclave is too old to qualify for Buick certified pre-owned (CPO) status, but keep in mind that Buick CPO vehicles can’t have more than 75,000 miles on the odometer and must be 5 years old or less. Every CPO Enclave undergoes a 172-point inspection. Those that pass receive a 12-month/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, plus 6-year/100,000-mile powertrain coverage with 24-hour roadside assistance and free courtesy transportation from the car’s original sale date. There’s no deductible, and the CPO warranty is transferable. Also included are 3 months of OnStar and SiriusXM radio, a Carfax vehicle-history report and a maintenance plan providing two visits over 24 months.
Other Cars to Consider
2011 Acura MDX — Acura’s largest crossover SUV is nearly a foot shorter than the Enclave, and its third-row seat is only suitable for children, but the MDX is agile for a 7-passenger SUV, quick on its feet and more fun to drive than the Buick. Power comes from a 300-hp 3.7-liter V6 teamed with a 6-speed automatic with an available manual-shift mode. All-wheel drive is standard. The MDX can tow up to 5,000 pounds. It’s EPA-rated at 16 mpg city/21 mpg hwy.
2011 Lexus RX350 — The top-selling RX350 luxury crossover is smaller than the Enclave and holds only five passengers. It is known for having one of the most luxurious cabins in the class and a smooth, comfortable ride. A 275-hp 3.5-liter V6 and a 6-speed automatic provide more than ample performance. Both front- and all-wheel drive are offered. Front-wheel-drive models are EPA-rated at 18 mpg city/25 mpg hwy, and all-wheel-drive models get 18 mpg city/24 mpg hwy. Towing capacity is 3,500 pounds. Also available is a gas-electric hybrid version dubbed the RX450h which is EPA-rated at 28 mpg city/27 mpg hwy.
The Enclave delivers near-luxury comfort with a smoother ride and better fuel efficiency than truck-based SUVs like the Yukon, while also providing interior space approaching that of a minivan. Make sure all the applicable recall repairs have been performed on the Enclave you consider. A 2011 Enclave is too old to qualify for Buick CPO status, so search for a lower-mileage example that’s seen obvious care and maintenance.