The 2016 Buick Enclave is a handsome SUV with seating for eight, flexible cargo options and our pick among the three large General Motors crossovers.
The Encore shares a skeleton, front-wheel bias, and unibody construction with the Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia, which means it isn’t as thirsty or as cumbersome as the Cadillac Escalade or GMC Yukon, both of which are based on trucks.
Lauded for its handsome lines, the Enclave was the first of a series of new designs from Buick when it was introduced as a 2008 model. From the chrome waterfall grille to its slight Coke-bottle shoulder line over the rear wheels, we think the Enclave is the most appealing of the three large GM crossovers. Overall, the Enclave combines class and comfort with versatile passenger space and cargo capacity. All-wheel drive is available for sure-footed handling in foul weather. Front-wheel drive is standard.
The Buick is powered by a 288-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 and is equipped with a 6-speed automatic transmission.
The Enclave rides smoothly, and the handling is reasonably responsive. On narrow roads it feels like a big vehicle, but in curves it does not lean excessively. It is a heavy vehicle and its mass is felt in the way it handles, takes off and stops.
The Enclave has a functional third row for adults, though the third row is not a place we’d choose to sit for hours on end.
Getting in and out of the front seats is easy and they are designed to fit people of all sizes. The driver’s seat allows a good driving position. Seat heating and ventilation are available. Second-row passengers get a good view forward thanks to a high seating position. Headroom is more than plentiful.
The cabin is practical, as well, with flexible cargo space. Fold the second and third rows of seats and there’s more than 115 cubic feet of cargo space. It all folds down neatly and flat and is just begging for outings to big-box stores. There is more than 23 cubic feet of space behind the third row.
Step inside the Buick Enclave and it feels like a premium vehicle. Quality materials and an attractive design makes it an inviting cabin. It’s comfortable and spacious, with seating for up to eight passengers.
Safety features in the 2016 Enclave include a front-center airbag, which helps protect front occupants in a side impact. Blind-spot monitors and a rear cross-traffic alert system are available, as are lane-departure and forward-collision warning systems.
As for features, the Enclave offers IntelliLink, GM’s telematics/infotainment system that has a relatively easy interface, a well-integrated Bluetooth hands-free calling and audio streaming functionality, Pandora and Stitcher audio apps, rearview camera, USB port, HD Radio, satellite radio, and voice recognition. Navigation is optional, as is 10-speaker Bose audio.
The Enclave carries over to the 2016 model year largely unchanged. This year, the big crossover SUV comes standard with 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels. Also new for 2016 Enclave models are OnStar 4G LTE and a built-in wi-fi hotspot delivers high-speed wireless Internet access to occupants whenever the car is switched on. Up to seven devices can be connected at the same time. A new Tuscan appearance package is available for 2016 Enclave models that uses bronze to highlight the waterfall grille and its 20-inch chrome wheels and to complement premium paint choices.
The Enclave’s gas mileage of 24 mpg highway with front-wheel drive is on par with many other big crossovers, though an MDX or Highlander can outpoint it on the EPA scale. The 2016 Enclave with all-wheel drive is rated at 16 mpg city, 22 highway, 18 combined.
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