That interior, though.....

The Enclave is said to be what the Buick brand stands for, which according to Duncan Aldred – the VP of Global Buick and GMC – is “smart, stylish luxury.” Be that as it may, the Enclave is no spring chicken and has been on the market since 2008, being updated just once in 2014. The second generation is finally here, and Buick looks to take on models like the Acura MDX, Audi Q7, and Infiniti QX60, among others. Offering seating for seven, the new Enclave is also lower and slimmer than before but sees an improvement in passenger space inside. There are a lot of new design cues to talk about, and some significant features that could really give the Enclave a fighting chance in this ever-evolving segment.

The new Enclave gets some serious updates to the exterior that includes a redesigned and shorter grille, new headlights and taillights, revised fascias, and some new body lines. To be more specific, the grille looks more modern while the headlights are finally on par with the rest of the market. The body lines of the new Enclave are similar to the outgoing model, but stands out by being sharper and more curved in all the right places. The rear quarter glass has changed dramatically and makes for a taller rear quarter. The taillights are sporty and upscale, while the rear fascia is upright and prominent. I’m pretty sure this thing has been doing squats, but we’ll save that for another conversation.

But, it’s not the exterior where the Enclave really stands out among the competition. No; it’s the interior where things have been dramatically redesigned. So much so, in fact, that you have to see it for yourself. Keep reading to learn more about it.

Style and Strength

The New Enclave is Here and Puts the Competition to Shame High Resolution Exterior
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The second-generation Enclave may sit a bit lower and have a slimmer body, but according to Buick, its third row has more space than the competition. It’s said to offer 5.6-inches more legroom than the Acura MDX, 4.5-inches more than the Audi Q7, and almost three inches more than the Infiniti QX60. Both rows of seats fold flat of expandable cargo room that is also said to offer more space than the aforementioned competitors.

The New Enclave is Here and Puts the Competition to Shame High Resolution Exterior
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The New Enclave is Here and Puts the Competition to Shame High Resolution Exterior
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The second-generation Enclave may sit a bit lower and have a slimmer body, but according to Buick, its third row has more space than the competition.

The interior look, however, is where the Enclave really stands out. The dash has been completely redesigned with a new, smooth appearance and a center stack that’s blended well with the rest of the dash. The infotainment display is flanked by two new vents which allows the dash to sit much lower than before. A thin wood-looking insert runs the full width of the dash, but its sized just right and doesn’t look as gaudy as before. The center console has been completely redesigned and is more fit for the premium or luxury segment. It sits much higher than before and is a semi-floating unit with a large storage area down below. The cup holders are hidden away by a door, which is also trimmed in a lighter wood while the gear shifter appears to be more ergonomic and is spring-assisted. Door trim panels get small helpings of wood, too, while the steering wheel is void of wood for once. To be honest, its feels like Buick was trying a little too hard with the last-gen model, but this one is proportioned just right.

The New Enclave is Here and Puts the Competition to Shame High Resolution Interior
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The New Enclave is Here and Puts the Competition to Shame High Resolution Interior
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The interior look, however, is where the Enclave really stands out. The dash has been completely redesigned with a new, smooth appearance and a center stack that’s blended well with the rest of the dash.

Under the hood, the Enclave gets a 3.6-liter engine that delivers a “Buick estimated” 302 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. That’s an improvement of 14 horsepower but a decrease of 10 pound-feet. Be that as it may, the new Enclave can pull up to 5,000 pounds when properly equipped which is an increase of 500 pounds over the last-gen model. AWD is available for those willing to pay extra, as are 20-inch wheels that will replace the standard 18-inch units. Standard equipment includes a 4G LTE hotspot, an eight-inch infotainment display, Phone connectivity via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and Rear Seat Reminder – because parents are apparently too dumb to remember they have kids with them these days.

The New Enclave is Here and Puts the Competition to Shame High Resolution Exterior
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All told, the Buick Enclave is a pretty significant departure from the last-gen model, and the interior is much more in-line with what a premium or luxury SUV should offer. Where the last-gen was gaudy and overzealous, the new-gen model is elegant and promising. There’s no word on pricing yet, but more information will be released later this year when the Enclave goes on sale as a 2018 model.

Press Release

New and versatile functionality, spaciousness and intuitive technologies mark the next evolution of the Buick Enclave. More third-row space, improved towing capability and a thoughtful combination of safety technologies, useful interior features and premium materials are a few highlights included on Buick’s all-new seven-passenger midsize luxury SUV.

Within a visually lower and slimmer body, the Enclave boasts more interior space. The third row alone offers 5.6 more inches of standard legroom than an Acura MDX, 4.5 inches more than an Audi Q7 and nearly three inches more than an Infiniti QX60. The new Enclave also features a longer wheelbase than the previous generation, yet its turning circle is 1.4 feet tighter than before, pairing the space customers need with added maneuverability.

The New Enclave is Here and Puts the Competition to Shame High Resolution Exterior
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“Enclave was introduced as a game-changer for the Buick brand and has since become one of our most successful and important vehicles,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president, Global Buick and GMC. “It set the tone for a more progressive Buick, helping change perception for us and serving as the standard-bearer of what our products stand for: smart, stylish luxury.”

Enclave highlights

New proportions, bodylines and accents combine for an athletic stance that accentuates the redesigned front end and grille.
A comprehensive offering of standard and available safety technology includes customizable safety alerts.
The all-new body structure was built for safety, strength and mass efficiency, and there are 17 radar, camera and ultrasonic sensors when fully equipped.
There’s seating for seven and more cargo volume behind the first row than the Acura MDX, Audi Q7 and Infiniti QX60.
Buick-first Evonik Acrylite lighting technology provides a distinctive light signature.
Tow capacity of up to 5,000 pounds is more than enough to tow a typical 21-foot sport boat.
A standard 3.6L V-6 engine with stop/start technology, Buick-estimated 302 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission.
Standard MacPherson strut front and five-link rear suspension are tuned for a refined, isolated ride.
Available intelligent AWD with active twin-clutch rear differential and Buick-first switchable AWD help improve control and efficiency.
20-inch wheels are available (18-inch are standard).

Safety, style and convenience features further distinguish the next-generation Enclave

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Enclave’s new design architecture enables a balanced, athletic appearance. New proportions give it a sleeker look with aerodynamic benefits for efficiency. The roofline is lower, the windshield is sharper and the wheelbase is extended, giving the vehicle a more dramatic stance. Its sculpted body creates a windswept appearance. It also showcases Buick’s front end design language, inspired by the Avista and Avenir concept cars and enhanced by advanced Buick-first lighting technology.

“Every detail of the all-new Enclave is designed to feel premium, well-crafted and integrated,” said Helen Emsley, executive director of Global Buick and GMC Design. “Customers in feedback clinics have described it as having a ‘sleek’ appearance, which isn’t typically a word associated with three-row SUVs.”

Extensive use of LEDs is integrated into Buick’s first application of Evonik Acrylite technology and bi-functional LED projector headlamps and LED tail lamps. The technology’s compound curvature application creates a smooth, uniform and recognizable appearance that will make the Enclave stand out on the road. IntelliBeam headlamps available on Premium and Avenir models also allow drivers to experience better road illumination and improved visibility without having to manually switch the high beams on and off.

A significantly enhanced suite of available advanced safety technologies is engineered to help drivers monitor their surroundings and feel confident when behind the wheel. Standard safety equipment on all 2018 Enclaves includes a rear vision camera, rear park assist and seven air bags, including a front center side airbag. Among the available crash-avoidance technologies are forward collision alert, rear cross traffic alert, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, safety alert seat, following distance indicator and front park assist.

The New Enclave is Here and Puts the Competition to Shame High Resolution Interior
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“The Enclave’s sophisticated suite of available radar, camera and ultrasonic crash avoidance technologies is engineered to help drivers continuously monitor their surroundings in an intuitive, assisting manner so they can feel more confident behind the wheel,” said Dean Perelli, chief engineer for the Buick Enclave.

Having leveraged the first-generation Enclave as a benchmark for quietness, the 2018 Enclave cabin is engineered to further minimize unwanted interior noise through its honed exterior shapes, sealing and sound-deadening acoustics, and strategic use of materials throughout. QuietTuning and active noise cancellation enhancements help to reduce, block and absorb noise, keeping it from entering the cabin. An available 10-speaker Bose Premium sound system with new components, new tuning and a redesigned bass enclosure further enhances the sound experience.

“For Enclave customers, who are often driving family and friends, the ability to easily carry a conversation with passengers in all three rows is essential to their daily driving experience,” said Perelli. “The enhanced QuietTuning and active noise cancellation in the all-new Enclave allow them to do just that.”

QuietTuning is one example of Buick creating a healthy, relaxing environment in its vehicles. An all-new air ionizer builds on that reputation by eliminating odors and providing higher air quality. It works by producing negatively charged particles that attract air-born contaminants and break down their structure, cleaning the cabin air.

The ionizer can help address external and internal odors and reduce bacteria, viruses, dust, debris and pollen, while also helping improve driver alertness. It requires no maintenance or filter replacement, and comes standard on Essence, Premium and Avenir models.

The New Enclave is Here and Puts the Competition to Shame High Resolution Exterior
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Enclave’s interior has flexible cargo solutions for large and small items. The vehicle has 10 percent more cubic feet of overall interior space when including the hidden underfloor storage, and 23.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row. Other space enhancements include a 10-inch-deep dry underfloor storage with 3.1 cubic feet of space.

Second- and third-row seating fold flat to create a wide, nearly-flat load floor. An optional power-folding third row makes reconfiguring more convenient, while available second-row SmartSlide Seats provide easy access to the third row. On the passenger side, the SmartSlide seat provides a pitch slide function to allow access even with an empty forward-facing child seat installed (using the LATCH system).

Standard equipment on every 2018 Enclave includes keyless entry and push-button start, a hands-free power-programmable liftgate with a Buick tri-shield logo illuminating the ground below the hidden sensor, tri-zone automatic climate control, universal home remote, six USB ports and more.

Every Enclave also comes equipped with an OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot (AT&T data plan purchase required after limited data trial period) and five years of the OnStar Basic Plan at no additional cost. Among other benefits like an industry-leading myBuick app, this connectivity plan features OnStar Smart Driver, an opt-in service designed to help Buick owners maximize their vehicle’s overall performance and become better drivers.

A frameless 8-inch diagonal infotainment system with Teen Driver, Rear Seat Reminder , and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility is standard. Every Enclave features Rear Seat Reminder2, an industry-first feature designed to remind drivers to check the back seat as they exit their vehicles under certain circumstances.

Available in three trim levels — Enclave, Essence and Premium — and as a model from Buick’s new Avenir luxury sub-brand, the 2018 Enclave is the seventh new Buick model introduced in less than two years. It will continue to be manufactured in Lansing, Michigan, and goes on sale in the fall of 2017. Pricing and other details will be announced later this year.

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