2013 Buick Enclave Review

Aspiring to luxury, but certainly not there

2013 Buick Enclave Review

The Escalade can be credited for saving Cadillac, offering a big lustworthy product when the brand had little else you’d want to park in your driveway. Likewise, the Enclave got Buick through a rough patch, with new styling in a unique package combined with many of the brand’s trademark features.


1. A 3.6L V6 makes 288 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. 2. Fuel economy is 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway for AWD models. 3. The Enclave is rated to tow 4,500 lbs. 4. Pricing starts at $38,445.

Since it debuted in 2007 the Enclave has defied convention, increasing in sales almost every year. Consumers have increasingly taken a shine to the Enclave’s chrome, content to look the other way when it comes to the large crossover’s interior.


The Buick brand has continued to evolve and while the Enclave has been refreshed for 2013 that isn’t enough to make it feel anything but the product of a bygone era.

If taking a Regal GS out for a spin is akin to a hot date with a 20 something, driving the Enclave is more like a game of Euchre with your grandma.

Refreshed along with its Lambda platform siblings (the GMC Acadia and Chevy Traverse), Buick’s triplet seems to have had the most mild update – perhaps so as not to offend buyers that have so far seemed to appreciate the look.

Generally speaking there’s very little new about it. It still has the same bulbous shape (not the chiseled features of its handsome Acadia sibling). The modified “waterfall” grille is slightly more pointy, while the headlights (standard Xenon units) gain blue rings around them as part of a new brand styling initiative. Keeping with the times, the Enclave gains a feature no premium crossover would be caught without, LED accent lighting strips.


Attempts at keeping up-to-date are also made inside the cabin, though they’re as poorly executed as an anti-bullying rap carried out by high school teachers.

Helping fool at least some people into thinking it’s “with it” the Enclave gains a standard 7-inch touch screen with the brand’s IntelliLink system and a back-up camera – an absolute must on a vehicle of this size.

The fact that IntelliLink has a homepage where you can pre-set your favorite functions so they’re readily available is nice. Our big gripe with the system, however, is that it’s overly sensitive. If your hand even brushes across any of the buttons surrounding the screen you’ll unintentionally activate a feature. Logging hundreds of miles on a weekend road trip, it happened over and over and over again.

The list of disappointments doesn’t end there. The seat leather is low-grade while the gauges with their glowing teal color harken back to a four-digit era that didn’t start with a 2. Many of the knobs, switches and buttons are as premium feeling as the dollar store, which is more than we can say for the wood trim that’s so appalling it doesn’t even deserve a derogatory metaphor. Competing in the same segment as cars like the Infiniti JX, the Enclave’s interior is downright laughable with pre-bankruptcy GM written all over it.

Not all is negative inside the Enclave however. The digital temperature display on the HVAC dials is a nice touch while the big buttons on the steering wheel make controlling the stereo and cruise control a breeze. No fiddling with tiny buttons and knobs here. Nighttime mood lighting is also classy with an “ice blue” arc that runs across the doors and over the dash – similar to a design in the six-figure Jaguar XJ.

The leather on the dash also deserves respect, though it only partially covers the junky hard plastic.

Easily our biggest annoyance is that even with the driver’s seat in its lowest position and the steering wheel at its highest, much of the view of the gauges is blocked. After a product has been on the road for this long, issues like this should have been sorted out, although they honestly never should exist in the first place.

In true General Motors fashion, standard equipment and optional goodies are certainly not lacking. That really plays in the Enclave’s favor, in a segment where many competitors offer just the basics. Amenities ranging from heated and cooled seats to a standard power rear liftgate.

New safety features include forward collision alert and lane departure warning systems. There’s also an industry-first front center airbag that can pop up out of the armrest to prevent front seat occupants from bonking noggins in a crash.


If there is a reason to pick to Buick over many of its rivals it’s the sheer size of it. Those generous exterior proportions don’t lie and whether you opt for the 8-seater with a 2nd row bench or a 7-seater with captain’s chairs there’s plenty of room for no matter where you sit. In fact, while getting back there might not be as easy as with some of its rivals, the Enclave is one of the very few in this segment that can actually seat passengers in the 3rd row. Life is also better for those in the 2nd row thanks to two new USB ports to help power phones and other devices for tweens who will start panicking like a drug mule in a TSA inspection when their iPhone’s battery life alert is triggered.

Cargo room is bountiful as well with 23.2 cu-ft, almost 70 cu-ft behind the 2nd row and a total of 115 cu-ft.

And for whatever you can’t fit in the cargo hold, the Enclave is rated to tow up to 4,500 lbs., which is about mid-pack amongst its rivals.

All that size does have a down-side with a fuel economy rating that’s a bit less impressive than smaller competitors. Buick claims 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway while AWD models get a 16/22 rating. We scored right in the middle during our test with 18 mpg.

Hitting those numbers is a direct injection 3.6L V6 making 288 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. Power is sufficient for such a large machine, though the transmission is slow to react to downshifts.



Once up to speed, however, the Enclave carries forward age-old Buick traits of highway comfort. Not only is it incredibly smooth and quiet, but if the Enclave exhibits any German driving characteristics it’s that it eats up speed on the highway, easily masking a supra-legal cruise control setting.

Being so big you’d expect it to be cumbersome, while in fact it’s quite easy to drive around town and even with solid sight lines and that standard back-up camera proves easy enough to park.


Priced at $38,445 to start, the cost of entry is more attractive than those of its rivals while the smooth, quiet ride and spacious interior are other key factors in the Enclave’s success. Still, slip inside and the reason for the sub-40k price tag is all too obvious. In fact, it’s the Enclave’s Achilles’ heel; keeping this supposedly premium level crossover outside the realm of luxury machines it’s allegedly competing with.

« Back

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.


2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked