2011 Buick Enclave Review
2011 Buick Enclave
SEE ALSO: Buick Buyers Guide
2011 Buick Enclave
A Handsome, High-quality Hauler
By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor, Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel
The 2011 Buick Enclave, a premium crossover SUV, is the luxury
offering from the trio of platform-sharing SUV’s by General Motors.
The sister vehicles being the Chevrolet Traverse and the GMC Acadia, all of
which are designed for people-hauling plus cargo-carrying and can tow. I
recently spent a week driving an Enclave CXL-2 All-Wheel-Drive. I had spent
time in the Chevy Traverse that I previously reviewed on The Auto Channel.
The 2011 model is virtually unchanged from 2010; but why change a
good thing. Lauded as the first modern Buick with high levels of
refinement, the Enclave is luxury-sedan quiet. The moment you get in the
high-quality luxury appointments are evident. I was impressed by its
responsiveness, quiet operation, minimal wind and tire noise, and
smooth-shifting transmission. Acceleration and available engine power is
adequate for the usual driving situations. Its quiet cruising is a
The Enclave is constructed with an integral uni-body and
frame architecture, is offered in front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive,
with one engine/transmission combination, a 288 Horsepower all-aluminum
3.6L V6 mated to a 6-speed automatic. Using the recommended regular
unleaded fuel, EPA fuel economy ratings are 17 City mpg and 24 Highway mpg
for the front-drive model and 16 City mpg and 22 Highway mpg for the
All-wheel drive. The 22 gallon fuel tank should allow for all-day driving
with around 500 miles between fuel stops.
Seating configuration for 7 or 8 is available with 23.2 cubic feet
of cargo space behind the third row seat. I prefer the 7-seat
configuration that has two individual captain’s chairs in the second
row and 67.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind them with the rear seat
folded.Enclave’s second-row seats feature
system that allows easy entry to the third row with the pull of one handle.
With Smart Slide, the second-row seat cushion flips up while the seatback
slides forward, making for easy access to the third row. A
cavernous 115.3 cubic feet is your’s to fill up if just the front
seats are needed. A very well executed feature is the fold-down mechanism
for the third row seat.
Open the power rear liftgate – the power
operation is very convenient when your arms are full -- pull on the release
straps and the seat folds forward. Raising the seat is a simple matter of
pulling on these straps. No need to climb in or go to the side door. I
also like the automatically folding headrests on the second row seats when
you fold them forward---no need to remove the headrests or compromise the
front seat position.
The Enclave is offered in two models, the CX and CXL and both are
available in FWD or AWD. Premium cloth seats are standard on the CX;
perforated and heated leather seats are standard on the CXL.
The list of
standard equipment on each model is very long. Suffice to say, all the
usual luxury features and equipment are provided. The wood-finish trim and
chrome accents are very classy. A rearview camera --- an item that might
be required on all vehicles in the next few years, remote vehicle start,
articulated headlights, power tilt and telescoping steering column, power
sunroof with second-row skylight, rear parking assist, DVD navigation with
OnStar, rear seat audio controls, DVD rear seat entertainment, and much
more allows you to customize the Enclave to your wants and needs.
Driving dynamics are managed with a four-wheel independent
suspension, StabiliTrak electronic stability control, a range of 18-,19-
and 20-inch wheels, power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering, four-wheel
anti-lock brakes, traction control and a tire pressure monitoring system.
The long wheelbase and wide front and rear track make for a low
center of gravity thus providing smooth and stable ride and handling. Not
to be overlooked is the 7.2 inch ground clearance, an SUV characteristic
that helps in the occasional unpaved road or deep snow excursion.
Cloth or leather seating in ebony, cashmere or titanium is offered
depending on model to be paired with 10 different exterior colors. Pricing
for the CX starts at $35,615. The CXL-2 I drove had a base price of
$44,095 and totaled at $49,775 with the options and destination charge.
The Enclave is built in Lansing, Michigan,
Competitors on the market for comparison and consideration include
the Acura MDX, Lexus RX350, Audi Q7, Volvo XC90, Lincoln MKT and Mazda
CX-9, as well as GM’s own offering in the GMC Acadia that is sold in
the same showroom.
The Buick Enclave is a great vehicle for transporting the whole
family, car-pooling the young ones when necessary, or for a classy night on
the town with another couple.
© Larry Nutson