When Buick introduced the second-generation Enclave SUV for the 2018 model year, it also introduced the first member of the new high-end Avenir sub-brand. The 2018 Buick Enclave Avenir ups the luxury in this SUV in an effort to stay competitive with other premium 3-row crossovers like the Acura MDX and Infiniti QX60. Our staff has been testing the new Enclave Avenir to see how it compares not only to its competitors, but to other, more affordable Enclaves.
What’s Special About the Avenir?
The Enclave Avenir is noticeably set apart from lesser Enclaves by its aesthetics inside and out. Along with a fancy grille and nicer wheels on the outside, the roomy cabin welcomes you with an attractive, luxurious interior with standard features including wireless charging, navigation and power dual moonroof. Buick says if you were to add the Avenir’s standard features to an Enclave Premium it would raise the price by just over $4,100. Plus, the Enclave Avenir gets an exclusive 8-inch screen housed inside the gauge cluster.
One thing we think a $55,000 luxury SUV absolutely should have is one-touch up AND down windows for all four windows. Neither the Enclave Avenir or any version of the Chevy Traverse have that feature. Instead, the Chevy gets express up/down for the driver’s side window and the one-touch down feature only for the passenger’s front window. The Buick Avenir gets express up and down for the driver’s window and one-touch down only for all other windows.
Our editor Dwight loved the look of the chocolate brown leather inside the Enclave Avenir, but was disappointed with the SUV’s interior overall. For an extra cost of about $5,000 over the Enclave Premium, Dwight was expecting a much nicer interior, but didn’t find it to be much of an upgrade aside from aesthetics. No one would accuse this of being a bad or uncomfortable interior, it’s just questionable whether it’s really worth the extra cost.
One thing everyone seemed impressed by was the ride quality of the Enclave Avenir. When you’re shopping for a premium SUV, you expect a smooth, quiet ride in comfortable seats, and that’s exactly what this Enclave delivers. Our editor Tommy drove the Enclave Avenir on some of the worst pavement in Atlanta and still found the ride to be good with little body roll and steering feel.
Like Dwight, Tommy was underwhelmed by the interior. He didn’t think it was much nicer than the Enclave Premium he had driven previously, or even that nicer than a high end Chevy Traverse. If chocolate brown leather isn’t that important to you, you could save some coin by going with a leather-trimmed Traverse rather than an Enclave Avenir. However, your savings aren’t quite as dramatic as you might think — surprisingly, the top version of the new Chevrolet Traverse, the High Country, costs about $54,000 including the $995 destination fee. Do the little extras you get by opting for the Buick over the Chevy make sense at a cost of approximately $1,000? Probably, but this really depends on your age, income and personal preferences.
How Does It Compete?
Our editor Ben liked the Enclave Avenir for its luxurious appointments and quiet, comfortable ride. However, for his money, he wouldn’t buy one over an Acura MDX, one of the top competitors of the Enclave. Acura and Buick take different approaches to luxury, and which one is right for you comes down to your personal preference.
Overall, the 2018 Buick Enclave Avenir is a very nice, comfortable 3-row crossover, and it’s still not a bad value with a price tag of around $55k. It’s attractive inside and out, but if you have your eye on one, you might want to consider a more value-conscious Enclave or even a Chevy Traverse before making the extra investment in the Avenir.