2025 Buick Enclave Hands On Preview: Big Screen, Big Power, Big Goals

Jay Kana
by Jay Kana

It’s big, brawny, and brand new; welcome to our first-look at the the all new third generation 2025 Buick Enclave.

As a brand, Buick has recalibrated and quickly starting to rediscover their way a via their first-ever 2024 Envista, refreshed Envision, and Encore GX. The Enclave is last of the quartet to see major changes and while I was originally told by Buick it’d be here sometime this summer, their website says late 2024, so let’s safely go with before Christmas.

Regardless, Buick had a banger year in 2023 with a 61% increase over 2022 in sales, 70% of customers being new to the brand and a handful of J.D. Power awards. Once the Enclave emerges, Buick will have a fully updated lineup and something very relevant in the hot three-row SUV market.

Buick has continued their three-trim approach here and will run with Preferred, ST and Avenir options, simplifying the lineup for consumers.

Let’s dig in and see what the tri-sheild brand has cooked up.

A Defined Design Outside

Buick says the Wildcat EV concept inspired part of the new Enclave…I don’t see it but it still looks good. There are stronger character lines along the sides than before and just enough definition replace the soft, bland shape of the outgoing model, which resembled the now defunct Mazda CX-9. Up front, the narrow daytime running lights, which double as turn signals, match Buick’s aggressive design, with a block beneath them for high/low beams. The pronounced trapezoid grill is plus sized, aptly suited for Buick’s largest offering. Note that Buick has placed their logo on the hood opposed to the grille, an interesting move that gets bonus points from me. Simply put, think of the new Envista but on a grand scale with a rear wiper.

There’s a rear light bar, a full size spoiler at the top of the rear glass and a smaller one built into the lift gate.

Gloss black wheel arches adorn the ST while body coloured ones on the Avenir play the upscale part nicely. 20-inch wheels are standard on the Preferred and St, while 22-inch wheels arrive with the Avenir.

Smartly, Buick has tossed the blindly-kick-benath-the-trunk-until-the-sensor-might-but won’t-but-might-work and replaced it with a proximity sensor that senses the key fob.

Interior Intel

Completing the cycle, the Enclave is the final modern Buick to enlist a massive one-piece screen, this one coming in at 30-inches (the largest in its class, says Buick) managing the instrument cluster and infotainment system.

The supersized screen, equipped with Google Assistant, frames the cabin and if it’s anything like the screens in other 2024 GM models, it should be easy to use. Media weren’t allowed to capture photography/videography of the screen as they were still working out the kinks. What you see in these pictures was provided by Buick and if looks familiar to other GM super screens, it should, which is a good thing.

One trend that won’t seem to leave is dropping in piano/glossy black trim in heavy hand traffic areas, namely the centre console. Thankfully, the gear selector has been moved to a stalk on the steering wheel, replacing that wretched row of buttons in the centre console. This creates functional space in its place for a wireless charging pad. Like the Nissan Ariya, Kia EV6, Genesis GV60, BMW X1 and others, there’s a “floating” centre console that presents ample storage beneath and gives a wide open feeling up front.

HVAC controls have been assigned textured physical buttons but without seeing the screens in action, I can’t say that all the HVAC controls are run through this row of buttons.

The steering wheel mirrors that of the refreshed Envision, where they used an older Mazda-style wheel (horizontal spokes angled downward) dressed up with big buttons.

There’s still seating for only seven with a 2+2+3 layout, the ST and Avenir seats I sat in matched the most expensive Buick for comfort.

There’s a standard “Power Package” on the Avenir which includes Head-Up Display, one-touch folding second row seats and power-folding third row seats (also available for Preferred and ST trims but manual seat movements are standard.)

Upping the interior colour ante, the Avenir trim can be had with white leather and either blue or brown trim, or take traditional all black, which makes that panoramic sunroof extra useful to bring in some natural light. The two lower trims use a dozen speakers and the Avenir adds four more.

Using the long wheelbase version of GM’s C1 platform, the trio of third row passengers aren’t overly cramped. It’s far from spacious but better than most. Plus, for those who use child seats, the Avenir features the second row seats that move up and forward, keeping that child seat in place.

Heated front seats are standard and if you pick the right trim, you can get those seats as vented and massaged.

Unfortunately, cargo figures weren’t shared at the time of publishing.

Overall, it’s a much more inviting space than before, there’s enough modern upgrades that should keep it relevant for the next few years and it matches their “premium” brand-wide philosophy smartly.

Borrowed Brawn

New for the Enclave but not new for GM is the same engine that’s in the all-new 2024 GMC Acadia and all-new 2024 Chevrolet Traverse; a 2.5L turbocharged four-pot belting out 328 horsepower and 326 lb-ft. of torque through an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Contrast that to the current second generation that uses a 3.6L V6 with 310 horsepower and a lowly 266 lb-ft. of torque through a nine-speed automatic.

New Enclave drivers may not notice the 16 extra horsepower but sure will appreciate the bump of 60 additional twists of torque.

In the US, front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive are offered while slightly north, Canadians will see only all-wheel drive. When equipped properly, the new Enclave can tow up to 5,000 pounds and can tow 1,500 pounds out of the box. Note that the Avenir runs continuous damping control aka adaptive suspension for increased ride comfort.

Tech and Scores of Standard Safety

A nifty 19 standard safety features, 6 of which are new for 2025, which I’ll list first:

Buckle to Drive, Intersection Collision Mitigation, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Centring, Lateral Impact Avoidance, Reverse Automatic Braking and Traffic Sign Recognition. The remaining 13 are Advanced Adaptive Cruise Control, Enhanced Automatic Emergency Braking, Following Distance Indicator, Forward Collision Alert, Front Pedestrian Detection, HD Surround Vision Camera, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Rear Park Assist, Rear Pedestrian Alert, Rear Seat Reminder, Safety Alert Seat and Teen Driver.

I can hardly believe that took up an entire paragraph but good on you, Buick, for not being stingy and making buyers pay extra for essential tech that keeps everyone safer.

Additionally, the love it or shove it Super Cruise technology that comes with a subscription marks the first time this system is available on a Buick offering.

The seven standard camera views are impressive and needed given the size of the Enclave. Even if you’re an experienced driver, navigating this through tight quarters is made easier.

Multi-colour ambient lighting also comes standard, as does Buick’s “Quiet Tuning” technology for added serenity while in motion.

Hate wires? Wireless charging, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard, as they should on a flagship offering.

The Crowd of Competitors

With Buick blurring the line between mainstream and luxury the same way Mazda does, the CX-90 is a prime competitor. Others include the Acura MDX, Infiniti QX60, Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade, Toyota Highlander and of course, the GMC Acadia and Chevy Traverse.

The 2025 Enclave now gives the entire Buick lineup a new look and feel and if the enormous Enclave can channel the growth of the entertaining Envista, GM’s premium brand should be ready to enter the passing lane.

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Jay Kana
Jay Kana

Jay Kana is an award-winning automotive writer who specializes in video and written reviews, is a pun connoisseur, and an avid kayaker. He's often playing guitar to his cats when we're not working him to the bone.

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