2014 Buick Enclave Heels on Wheels Review
HEELS ON WHEELS
By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel
Katrina Says: The 2014 Buick Enclave three-row crossover correctly rebuilds the brand's luxurious image, but comes short a few conveniences and miles-per-gallon in comparison to the Acura MDX.
INTRO TO THE ENCLAVE VEHICLE
The Buick Enclave is a luxurious three-row crossover showcasing of-the-moment design, performance and technology. Donning a signature waterfall grille and wing-shaped LED lighting, the interior also conveys an innovative yet premium look with soft-touch leather and easy access to a third row that features more legroom than most competitors.
I drove a 2014 Buick Enclave with the direct-injected 3.6-liter V6 engine featuring Continuously Variable Valve Timing and outputting 288 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque with the strength to tow up to 4,500 pounds. It is matched to a Hydra-Matic six-speed automatic transmission and available intelligent all-wheel drive. Available in one trim with three optional equipment groups, standard features with my Premium Group test-drive include: leather upholstery; second-row captain’s chairs; Bluetooth; rearview camera with Rear Park Assist; tri-zone climate control; OnStar services; power liftgate; power front seating with memory settings; remote vehicle start; heated and cooled front seats; safety technology; an upgraded Bose audio system; Buick IntelliLink with touchscreen; nineteen-inch wheels; articulating headlights; and power-folding outside mirrors. Prices as described came to $48,315.
Moderate changes for the model year include the addition of XM Radio Tune Select and text-to-voice features to the IntelliLink multi-media system; and optional safety technology like Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning. Main competitors are the Acura MDX, Infiniti QX60, and Volvo XC 90.
HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA
Stylish But Comfortable Results: Interior highlights included the sunroof, leather quality and craftsmanship of seats, charcoal wood trim and Bose audio system. Second-row passengers will be pleased with the skylight, generous amount of legroom, and climate controls, as well as the easy-to-use overhead DVD system. However, my fully loaded version came a little short: the top-level price does not include a heated steering, push-button start, even a navigation system. Also, due to a second-row sliding system, you’ll have to forgo heated seats here.
Reliability & Safety Factor: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awards the Enclave as a Top Safety Pick with ratings of “Good” in all crash-test areas (you can view results online). It has a 5-Star rating with The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Standard safety features include anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control, an advanced airbag system front, a rearview camera, and GMC’s OnStar system that adds automatic crash notification and roadside assistance.
Cost Issues: Staring price for a Buick Enclave with the Convenience Group and front-wheel drive begins at $38,740 – so it is roughly a $10k jump to my more loaded Premium Group version.
Activity & Performance Ability: With the Enclave, you will experience smooth traction and shifting on even the most challenging surfaces for a powertrain that matches well with its luxurious tale. The rear-quarter windows are larger than most competitors of the same girth; but when equipped with such safety technology as the camera-based Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning system, you’ll be thankful for the vehicle’s ability to warn you of an impending crash and removing the strain when pulling out of tight parking spaces.
The Green Concern: Fuel economy for the V6 engine with all-wheel drive is 16-city and 22-highway for a combined 18 miles-per-gallon. The Acura MDX’s revised 3.5-liter V6 now gets a combined 21 miles-per-gallon.
FINAL PARTING WORDS
Handsome, luxurious and safe, aside of a few missed luxury conveniences (and mile-per-gallon savings) the 2014 Buick Enclave helps rebuild the brands growing reputation for offering a more sophisticated and highly desirable crossover ride.
©2014 Katrina Ramser