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2017 Buick Enclave: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader February 2017

The 2017 Buick Enclave is a large luxury crossover that boasts class-leading interior space, a comfortable ride and plenty of high-end touches. It certainly can't match the premium experience offered by Acura or Infiniti, and its advanced age is noticeable in several areas, but on the whole it's an excellent family hauler.

The Enclave is built on the same General Motors unibody architecture as the Chevrolet Traverse and the previous-generation GMC Acadia, which was completely redesigned for 2017. The Enclave will get its own makeover next year, which will probably result in an increase in luxury and a decrease in weight for improved performance and fuel economy. For now, however, the Enclave still offers enough as an upscale 3-row crossover to make it worthwhile to overlook its sell-by date and give it a chance.

What's New for 2017?

A new Sport Touring Edition package adds a special black grille and black-trimmed 20-inch chrome wheels to the Leather and Premium models.

What We Like

Huge cargo area; adult-friendly seating in all three rows; upscale interior; extensive safety equipment; plush ride

What We Don't

Difficult to maneuver in tight spots; below-average acceleration and fuel economy; dated interior; poor rear visibility

How Much?

$40,000-$48,600

Fuel Economy

The Buick Enclave uses a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 288 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. The only transmission offered is a 6-speed automatic. The result is Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy ratings of 17 miles per gallon in the city and 24 mpg on the highway with front-wheel drive or 16 mpg city/22 mpg hwy with optional all-wheel drive. Most competitors offer better.

Standard Features & Options

The Enclave doesn't technically offer trim levels. Instead, there are three different equipment groups drivers can choose from: Convenience, Leather and Premium.

The Convenience ($40,000) already features a long list of standard equipment. That includes items such as a backup camera, xenon headlights, a power lift gate, tri-zone automatic climate control, SiriusXM radio, rear parking sensors, a remote starter, two USB ports and OnStar with 4G LTE Wi-Fi. Buick's 6.5-in IntelliLink touchscreen infotainment system is also standard.

Step up to the Enclave Leather ($44,600) and you add several more items beyond the obvious leather upholstery. Also included are 19-in wheels, heated dual power front seats, driver memory settings, a heated steering wheel, rear cross-traffic alert and a blind spot monitoring system.

At the top end of the Enclave spectrum is the Premium ($48,600), which adds ventilated front seats, a Bose sound system, a navigation system, a power-adjustable steering wheel, forward-collision alert, lane-departure warning and chrome wheels.

Options include a rear-seat DVD player, a panoramic sunroof, 20-in wheels and a towing package. Drivers can also choose between an 8-passenger model and a 7-passenger version at no charge. The pair of special-edition packages add unique color treatments to the grille and 20-inch chrome wheels -- the Tuscan Edition gets bronze accents while the Sport Touring gets black ones.

Safety

Occupant protection comes from seven airbags, including 3-row side-curtain airbags, along with GM's OnStar telematics. The standard front center-side airbag, exclusive to General Motors, protects the driver and passenger from bumping into each other during a side impact. The Enclave is also equipped with anti-lock brakes, traction control, stability control and a backup camera. Available blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert systems also contribute to improving safety, as do forward-collision alert and lane-departure warning systems.

In government crash testing, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded the Enclave a rating of five stars overall. That includes four stars in frontal and rollover tests, along with five stars in the group's side-impact assessment. Although the Enclave has not yet participated in all tests conducted by the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, it earned Good marks in those crash tests it was subjected to.

Behind the Wheel

The 2017 Buick Enclave delivers an even nicer, more relaxed and cloudlike ride than does its Chevrolet Traverse cousin. It's truly one of the comfiest large crossovers, and thanks to Buick's efforts, its ride is free of most wind, road and tire noise.

The Enclave's crossover architecture exhibits more precision and agility than a similarly sized truck-based SUV. Its overall dynamics feel secure and confident. That said, the Enclave is still a larger and heavier vehicle than its crossover competitors and it feels that way from behind the wheel. Its size can become an issue on small city streets or in crowded parking lots. Furthermore, this crossover's poor rear visibility makes these driving venues even more challenging -- but at least the standard backup camera helps.

The Enclave's acceleration is also dogged by its hefty curb weight. Although when it was introduced, its V6 engine produced class-competitive acceleration, today it is among the slowest in the segment. It doesn't feel slow per se, but it's a difference you can notice, especially when loaded with passengers, cargo or even while pulling a trailer.

Other Cars to Consider

2017 Acura MDX -- The latest MDX offers more convenience and technology features but less overall space for passengers and cargo. The MDX's all-wheel-drive system is more sophisticated than that of the Enclave.

2017 GMC Acadia -- The Acadia is smaller, lighter and more maneuverable than the vehicle it replaces, as well as the Enclave. It also boasts more up-to-date tech features, though there's no denying it's less spacious inside.

2017 Infiniti QX60 -- The Nissan Pathfinder-based Infiniti QX60 is another of the more spacious and family-friendly 3-row luxury crossovers. Added power for 2017 improves its appeal.

Used Cadillac Escalade ESV -- If you need more space than the Enclave can offer, your best choice is one of GM's extended-length SUVs, like the Cadillac Escalade ESV, which boast superior towing as well. The regular-length versions actually have less third-row space than the Enclave.

Autotrader's Advice

Our favorite version of the 2017 Enclave is the midrange Leather model, which adds a lot of comfort features and safety equipment for a reasonable price. But go ahead and opt for the stand-alone navigation and rear DVD systems, which are absolutely worth the extra price. And cold-climate buyers should definitely choose all-wheel drive.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2017 Buick Enclave: New Car Review - Autotrader