The Buick Enclave may not have changed much since its introduction back in 2008 but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a close look at if you’re in the market for a big, comfy crossover with third-row seating and a touch of luxury.
The vehicle is based on GM’s Lambda platform, which is used in vehicles like the GMC Acadia, Chevrolet Traverse, and former Saturn Outlook, and is capable of carrying up to eight people. The Buick is the most luxurious of the lot, though it’s also the most expensive with a starting price of $36,600.
For that money you get a 3.6-liter V-6 with 288 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque on tap, sending drive to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission. The engine’s nature is a bit revvy, requiring you to really dial up the revs before you get some momentum. If you’re a performance fan with a family then Ford’s 365-horsepower Flex or Lincoln MKT may be more to your liking.
Fuel economy for the 2012 Buick Enclave checks in at 17/24 city/highway mpg for front-wheel drive models and dips to 16/22 city/highway mpg if you tick the all-wheel drive option. We’d definitely go with the added safety of all-wheel drive if you live in the northern states.
For 2012 Buick has decided to do away with the CX and CXL trim level names and badging. Instead, there are new equipment packages including 1SB (Enclave Base), 1SD (Convenience), 1SL (Leather) and 1SN (Premium).
A new hill-start assist feature has also been added for 2012, preventing the vehicle from rolling back on steep inclines by leaving the brakes on for 1.5 seconds after the driver lifts off the brake pedal. There’s also a new electronic pedal override feature that reduces engine power when the brake and accelerator pedals are depressed at the same time, as well as a power outlet added to the center console.
As mentioned, the Enclave features third-row seating and unlike many of its rivals most adults will find the third row hospitable. Getting in and out of there, however, can still be a little tricky. Interior volume even with the third-row seat in place is 24.1 cubic feet, rising to more than 115 cubic feet when the second- and third-row seats are folded forward.
Finally, the Enclave's crash scores have remained excellent even as testing criteria have changed--just what you want for carrying around your most precious cargo. The IIHS calls it a Top Safety Pick; the NHTSA gives it five stars overall, with a four-star rating for front and a five-star rating for side impacts.
For a more in-depth review of the 2012 Buick Enclave, check out the full review at our sister site The Car Connection