The Buick Enclave - a luxury SUV concept that combines the athletic proportion of a modern crossover vehicle with the romantic forms characterized by Buick’s rich design heritage - was introduced at the 2006 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. It provides a glimpse of a vehicle Buick intends to bring to market.
As a complement to Buick’s new luxury lineup, the Enclave delivers superior attention to detail. Engineered with an innovative level of interior flexibility, the Enclave concept vehicle has ample room for six passengers, while a skylight extends almost the entire length of the passenger compartment. A unique in-dash/in-seat/overhead DVD system allows viewing of up to four different DVD selections at once and offers passengers the ultimate in personalized, in-vehicle entertainment.
’Enclave is the full expression of Buick’s craftsmanship, comfort and technical sophistication, wrapped in an exciting, youthful form,’ said Ed Welburn, GM vice president, global design. ’This is a new expression of Buick design. It is youthful and acknowledges the romanticism of classic Buick designs.’
Enclave’s design is highly sculpted and detailed. Sculpture is seen in the unique, two-arch fenders, which flow out from the body on different planes, accenting both the vehicle’s athletic stance and lithe profile. Also, gently curving, continuous lines add characteristically Buick grace to the exterior, while providing a spacious and comfortable interior for six passengers.
’The name Enclave evokes images of style, luxury and the privacy of a quiet, protected space,’ said Steve Shannon, Buick general manager. ’Although this is a conceptual representation, the Enclave production model will have the same graceful look and refined detail when it is introduced in the not-too-distant future.’
Signature Buick cues include a waterfall grille – with ’tri-shield’ emblem – and portholes. The portholes, which are similar in design to the new Lucerne sedan, are mounted on the trailing edges of the sculpted hood, which forms a distinct ’V’ shape as it flows out from the grille and into the front fenders. The waterfall grille has a subdued, black chrome appearance, while a chrome accent strip divides the upper portion of the front fascia from the lower section, adding solidity to the vehicle’s appearance.
Enclave has a bold proportion, with a wide stance and wheels pushed to the corners. This allowed designers to ’wrap’ the body around the wheels, enhancing the sure-footed appearance. This is augmented by large tires and 21-inch, seven-spoke wheels.
’The unitized construction of the body structure enabled the Enclave’s tight look,’ said Jack Folden, exterior design director. ’It not only allowed for tighter tolerances, but also enabled an optimal wheel-to-body relationship – this vehicle ‘sits’ just right.’
Enclave wears a Cocoa Metallic color, with the lower section of the vehicle featuring the low-gloss, chip-resistant finish expected on a luxury SUV. The unique exterior color is accented with selective chrome trim, including the door handles and the trim that encircles the side windows. Streamlined roof rack rails also are chrome, with a design that flows into the body like the other sheet metal cues.
Craftsmanship is evidenced in the dramatic, jewel-like headlamp and taillamp housings, as well as the streamlined look of the roof rack rails and the visual heft of the twin, chrome exhaust outlets. Buick’s technical sophistication is evidenced in the lamps themselves: The headlamps feature HID (High-Intensity Discharge) lighting technology and are integrated with GM’s Adaptive Forward Lighting System, which enables the lamps to turn with the direction of the front wheels. The jewel-look taillamps are complemented by an LED-lit high-mounted stop lamp that is designed into the upper edge of the backlight.
’It is as technically sophisticated as it is beautiful,’ said Folden. ’Enclave is the luxury SUV complement to Buick’s lineup of finely crafted luxury cars.’
Engaging interior environment
Enclave’s interior environment is designed to create a personalized experience for all passengers. Six individual, leather seats – located in three seating rows – are surrounded with thoughtful amenities and luxurious detail. The large, bronze-tinted skylight extends between the front-row seats and third-row seats, warming the interior and enhancing the feeling of openness.
’Enclave has a rich, sumptuous interior that, like the exterior, reflects Buick’s precision and craftsmanship with an acknowledgement of its legacy – it’s a ‘heritage forward’ design,’ said Michael Burton, interior design director. ’Curvaceous forms, luxurious materials and soft, inviting colors make it a warm, comfortable environment.’
The curved and round elements that permeate the Enclave’s cabin hark back to the style of classic Buicks, including the air vents, door panels and instrument panel. Brushed aluminum trim on these components, as well as features such as the pedals and gauge cluster surround reflect contemporary style and reinforce the vehicle’s craftsmanship. Aluminum-trim strips also accent the carpet of the storage compartment. These elements complement a rich-looking Cocoa and Light Cashmere two-tone interior color theme, embellished with camphor burl wood.
Superior craftsmanship also is prominent in the contrasting stitching on the seats and leather-wrapped headliners. Lighting, too, was carefully selected to enhance the luxury feel while conveying warmth. A ’halo’ light extends from the perimeter of the skylight, while lapis blue lighting fills the footwells when the doors are opened. Tiffany-style lamps are located at the second- and third-row seats and accessory lamps are integrated as an overhead component for the second row. A Buick logo located on the inside of the power liftgate is illuminated, too.
’There is a romantic, engaging feel inside the Enclave,’ said Burton . ’It’s also a personal environment, like that of an executive jet, with amenities that allow passengers to be more interactive during a drive.’
Inventive interior amenities
The front seat seatbacks have wood-embellished, fold-down trays for the second-row passengers, as well as leather, coach-style storage satchels. The three seating rows are divided by a unique console that runs from the instrument panel to the third-row seats. Each row’s console unit includes climate control switches, audio/entertainment controls, cupholders, a storage bin and jeweled, Tiffany-style analog clock. A matching clock is mounted at the top-center of the instrument panel. A rich wood look of the console contrasts with the Cashmere-and-Cocoa color theme.
From the console controls, passengers also can select from a wide array of entertainment options delivered through four DVD screens. The front-seat passenger can flip down the front visor, which is embedded with technology that allows it to be both a mirror and a DVD screen, while third-row passengers can view a screen that flips up from their console. There also is a clever, movable second-row overhead vanity with two flip-down screens. The vanity and its flip-down screens – one for the left and right seating positions – can me moved fore and aft on an electronically controlled track. The vanity can be moved completely rearward for an unimpeded view out of the skylight. Each screen in the vehicle is capable of playing a different audio/video selection, giving the Enclave the capability of playing four DVDs simultaneously. Also, the dash-mounted navigation radio is capable of playing DVDs when the vehicle is parked. Enclave offers its passengers the ultimate in personalized, in-vehicle entertainment.
Power and efficiency
Enclave rides on a 119-inch wheelbase and is powered by a 3.6L high-feature V-6 with dual-overhead camshafts and variable valve timing. Enclave’s powerful V-6 offers one of the category’s most fuel-efficient options. The engine is rated at 270 horsepower (201 kw) and is backed by a six-speed automatic transmission. This luxury SUV also has all-wheel drive and four-wheel independent suspension.
’When produced, the Enclave will deliver the comfort, quietness, craftsmanship and quality that exemplify the new vision of Buick style,’ said Shannon.