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Solid Performer

Large SUV crossover Enclave adds GM's latest
in-car connectivity for 2016.

The kid was nearly 10 years behind the times.

“Hey, that isn't a Buick!” he shouted from the curb, apparently in an attempt to perform a little standup comedy for his buddy as we motored past the young duo in our 2016 Enclave.

vehicle

Enclave's big change for 2016 is the adoption of the latest iteration of GM's OnStar, which includes 4G LTE connectivity and in-car Wi-Fi. © General Motors

The Tonight Show hopeful was, of course, inspired by Buick's “That's not a Buick” TV ad extolling the brand's current design language. But regarding Enclave, the kid's shout-out was so last decade.

It was Enclave that debuted that design language way back in 2008. In 2016, this three-row crossover looks remarkably the same, despite a facelift in 2013. The biggest change, other than ongoing “refinements” to trim and equipment, came in its sophomore year when the 2009 edition embraced a then cutting-edge direct-injection engine – a 288-horsepower V-6 that remains Enclave's only power plant. Still managed by a six-speed automatic, the engine can send power to the front wheels or to all four at the driver's discretion.

But what's new for 2016 is the all-important, latest, and greatest 21st-century connectivity capability. This family hauler, which shares its platform with the Chevy Traverse and GMC Acadia, now offers the newest version of GM's OnStar, which includes 4G LTE connectivity and in-car Wi-Fi hot spot capability.

There's also a new Tuscan Edition, which adds 20-inch chrome-clad wheels and a bronze grille. Just announced in March, Buick will offer a 2017 Enclave Sport Touring Edition.

We, however, were quite content with our 2016 all-wheel drive Premium, with its standard 19-inch chrome-clad wheels, dazzling translucent blue headlight treatment, heated and cooled front seats, tri-zone climate, Bose audio, leather-swathed cabin, power everything (including tilt and telescope wheel), and more. Ours then added rear-seat entertainment and dual moon roof. Very nice, although – astonishingly in this price class – keyless start is not available.

Room is fine in all rows, including a surprisingly accommodating third row. Two adults actually can fit back there. And access is not as nightmarish as it might be thanks to middle row captain's chairs in Enclave that scooted and compressed right up against the front seats for a spacious third-row entry porthole.

On the road, the V-6 is nobody's idea of a fire-breather in this nearly 2.5-ton ride but it's adequate to the task. Meanwhile, the ride is smooth and the cabin serene.

Enclave isn't so much fun to drive as it is uncomplicated. It is what it's always been: elegant and useful.

Hey, kid, this is a Buick.

May/June 2016 Issue


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Weise

Dan Wiese is an automotive freelance writer living in St. Louis, Mo.

 

 

facts

2017 Sport Touring Enclave

For 2017, Enclave's three trim groups – Convenience, Leather, and Premium – are joined by a Sport Touring Edition, which can be grafted onto the latter two trims. The 2017 Enclave Sport Touring Edition arrives in late summer 2016.

In addition to a “Satin Black Ice” grille and 20-inch chrome-clad wheels, Sport Touring adds such standards as:

  • Heated, wood-trimmed steering wheel
  • Ice-blue LED ambient lighting around the instrument panel
  • Eight-way power front driver and passenger seats
  • Heated front seats on Leather models and heated/ventilated seats on Premium
  • Power tilt/telescope wheel on Premium
  • Buick IntelliLink with color touchscreen radio
  • 4G LTE connectivity and built-in Wi-Fi hot spot
  • Tri-zone automatic climate control
  • HID headlamps
  • Power liftgate
  • Rear park assist and rear-vision camera with active guidelines

– Dan Wiese

front

Detail of the “Satin Black Ice” grille © General Motors


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