Sunday, September 30, 2018

2018 Buick Enclave Avenir AWD: The Brand’s Flagship Crossover Receives A Makeover

Highlight:  The Avenir is a new top of the line trim that is now available on the second generation Enclave.

Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $59,540 (Base model: $41,995)

Seating Capacity: 7

Standard Safety Features: airbags; ABS; rearview camera; a stability control system; a tire pressure system; OnStar concierge service; a rear parking alert system; a rearview camera; and a compact spare tire

Standard Equipment (Base Model): 18-inch wheels; a 9-speed automatic transmission; power electric steering; an electric parking brake; a power liftgate; a leather wrapped steering wheel; a manual operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel; a rearview automatic mirror; heated front seats; second row captain chairs; a remote vehicle start system with extended range; an in-vehicle wi-fi system; a keyless ignition starter system; a tri-zone a/c system;

Standard Equipment (Avenir): 20-inch wheels; a front park assist system; a rear traffic cross alert system; a pedestrian front detection system; a passenger sensing system;  an automatic high beam system; heated power folding exterior mirrors; a 360-degree camera; a blind zone alert system; a lane keep assist system; a keyless open system; a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel; second-row heated seats; a power folding third-row seat; a power moonroof; a 10-speaker Bose system with HD radio; power control memory driver’s seat; an air cleaner system; Avenir Package: unique upper and lower grilles; special badging; wood steering wheel; an infotainment system with a navigation sytem; in-vehicle wireless charging; and a power dual moonroof;

Options: a radar activated cruise control system; a forward collision braking system; a premium suspension package; and a heavy duty cooling system

Other Trim Level:


Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: an 8-speaker AM/FM/CD with satellite radio

Compatible with AppleCar Play and Android: Yes

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

USB Connectivity: Yes

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 6 years or 70,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 3.6-liter, 6-cylinder/310-hp

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage:

Towing Capability: 1,500 lbs

What’s New: The second generation Enclave has been refreshed for the 2018 model year flanking a new exterior design, the latest safety crash avoidance devices and more contemporary design interior.

Why: Buick’s successful three row passenger vehicle has been redesigned for the 2018 model year. The all-new Enclave, which wears a new front end, shares a platform with the Chevy Traverse. In the future, it expected that Cadillac will also be borrowing this platform, as they launch their first three-row crossover. As for now, the Enclave serves as the premium three row crossover for the GM brand, especially since upping the ante, with the Avenir trim.

This year’s Buick carries over many of the qualities that made the previous Enclave such a hit. Buyers can select from an all wheel drive or a front wheel drive configuration. The luxury crossover still rides off a quiet-tuned suspension system, making this one of the best road trip vehicles in the industry.

However, there are a number of improvements to the Enclave. Some of them include a more fuel-efficient all-new nine speed transmission, which is complimented by stop-start gas saving feature, to power the six-cylinder transmission.

Inside the vehicle is where one will notice a number of changes. The Enclave’s signature oval clock has been eliminated, replacing it with an ipad-like touchscreen-like infotainment system, which virtually eliminates most of the knobs and buttons. The easy-to-operate infotainment screen now includes a host of new apps. One in particular played the Wall Street Journal daily news. Just imagine a car that reads the latest news story or audio book to the occupants.

The front center console has been redesign, too. The previous model was outfitted with an out of place sliding covered door, which housed the center cup holders. This year’s model has been traded in the sliding cover for a fresh more modern design that opens and closes. Aded to that, the previous gear selector has been scrapped for the same BMW-like electronic gear selector that landed in the current generation LaCrosse a few years ago.

The sliding flimsy sunroof sunscreen that wasn’t capable of protecting occupants from the harsh winters or balmy summers has been replaced by dual covers.

An all-new rear camera mirror, which allowed the mirror to serve as a traditional mirror, aided us in seeing beyond the rear headrests, improving our field vision. Added to that, a 360-degree camera is incorporated into the backup camera, helping to improve our view, as well as safety, before backing up.

Furthermore, this model year, the Avenir trim was added to the Enclave. The Avenir package is similar to the upscale Denalli package, which is available for the GMC brand.

Lastly, with the standard sliding second row captain chairs, it’s a breeze for occupants to enter the second or third rows.

But: While we had our hands on new more upscale Avenir trim, the seats continue to be too firm. This seems to be a common theme with many of GM’s crossovers and SUVs. The automaker needs to take a page from their competitors, who have been able to design supportive seats built with comfort in mind.

Our other seating gripe could be found with the third row. The seating positon for an average size adult is too low to the floor, making it only usable for quick trips.

Moreover, it takes a moment to stumble through the Enclave’s all-new radar-activated cruise control system. Buick needs to provide more markings indicators assist the driver in activating the system.

Lastly, the near luxury brand should add a brake hold system, which allows the vehicle to remain at a complete stop, without continuously keeping ones foot on the brake, when the vehicle is at a complete stop.

Verdict: GM made a number of enhancements to improve upon the second generation Enclave, with its more truck-like hood, when viewing the vehicle from a side profile, ensuring that this vehicle stays competitive. From the more contemporary design interior to the latest safety crash aids, Buick is yearning to maintain its rein in the three row luxury crossover segment.

Competition: Acura MDX; Audi Q7; Infiniti QX60; and Lexus RX L

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