2016 Buick Enclave: Luxury Crossover with a Legacy
Buick says its three-row Enclave utility vehicle has sparked this GM brand's renaissance since its introduction in 2007, resulting in numerous accolades for its safety, dependability, and value.
The 2016 Buick Enclave now brings more connectivity with OnStar 4G LTE and standard built-in Wi-Fi hotspot allowing passengers to connect up to seven personal devices such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets to high-speed wireless Internet. The luxury crossover comes in three lovely new exterior colors: Summit White, Ebony Twilight Metallic, and White Frost Tricoat.
The Enclave straddles the midsize to full-size class in size. It seats up to seven or eight passengers and comes in three trims: Convenience (1SD), Leather (1SL), and Premium (1SN). All-wheel drive is available on Leather and Premium trims, and all models are powered by a direct-injected 3.6-liter V-6 engine that delivers an EPA-estimated 24 mpg on the highway (FWD models). Also new for 2016 are the Tuscan Edition option on 1SL Leather and 1SN Premium trim levels that gets exclusive premium paint choices (White Frost Tricoat, Dark Chocolate Metallic, or Ebony Twilight Metallic) and the Tuscan Bronze Package that brings 20-inch chrome wheels, with bronze pockets and a waterfall grille clad in bronze.
Buick's signature design elements adorn this crossover with sculpted styling, chrome flairs, black chrome waterfall grille, signature wing-shape LED lighting, and blue translucent rings that accent the standard Xenon HID headlamps. It rides on 19- or 20-inch wheels and has a standard power-operated liftgate. Articulating headlamps come with the Premium model's content package, which also includes power-folding heated outside mirrors, a power tilting/telescoping steering column, and heated/cooled front seats.
The inside has been designed with high-quality materials and premium contemporary color combinations, as well as lux-level accoutrements such as Nuance sandstone leather. A wood-trimmed steering wheel is entirely (instead of partially) heated for 2016. Other cabin features include ice-blue LED ambient lighting and eight-way power front driver and passenger seats with power recline and lumbar support and driver memory. Heated front seats are standard on Leather models and heated/cooled seats are standard on Premium models. Soft-touch materials, real stitching, and chrome accents trim the cabin. A dual moonroof, rearview camera and remote vehicle starter are available.
Buick's IntelliLink color touch radio is standard on all models and allows users to set up a "home page" for favorites, and bundles third-party apps Pandora Internet radio and Stitcher SmartRadio. With Bluetooth connection, IntelliLink will read and send text messages, and make calls using voice recognition when paired with your smart phone. A premium 10-speaker Bose audio system with surround sound is available and has been optimized for the Enclave's refined interior acoustics.
Under the hood, the 3.6-liter V-6 gets 288 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque and is matched with a six-speed automatic transmission; EPA fuel economy is estimated at 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway for front-wheel-drive models. An AWD system that automatically directs and distributes torque from front to back provides increased traction on slippery roads and surfaces with poor traction. It can tow up to 4,500 pounds.
Buick says the Enclave has the industry's first standard front center airbag. Other standard safety features of note include StabiliTrak, traction control, panic brake assist, rearview camera system, and seven airbags, including the head-curtain side air bags that protect outboard occupants in all three rows.
A number of camera- and radar-based safety features are offered: side blind zone alert and rear cross traffic alert are radar-based, while forward collision alert and lane departure warning are camera-based. Forward collision alert detects a possible crash threat and alerts the driver, providing extra time to stop and/or change course. With side blind zone alert, the driver is alerted to vehicles in the blind spot during a lane-change or merging maneuver.
The Enclave has a smooth, stable ride and good handling characteristics, and is notable for its premium, airy cabin.
By Sue Mead for MotorMatters
SUE MEAD began her automotive career as a part-time freelance evaluator for Four Wheeler Magazine in 1988 on the first team that included women as test drivers. Today, she travels the globe test-driving cars and trucks and working as a photojournalist/feature writer for dozens of publications. Mead specializes in 4WD, and has been an auto editor and 4WD editor for CNN/fn. Mead has been inducted into the Off Road Motorsports Hall of Fame and recently won her class as the Driver of Record in the 2011 Dakar Rally. Mead has received a number of awards for her work in the field of automotive journalism. She has written for Four Wheeler, 4Wheel & Off Road, Automobile, AutoWeek, Popular Science, Popular Mechanics. Parade, Womens Sports & Fitness, Autobytel, AutoTrader and the New York Times, as well as publications around the globe. Mead has written three books: Monster Trucks and Tractors; Off Road Racing, Legends and Adventures; and Rock Crawling.