By KBB.com Editors
Over the years Buick has worked hard to change its image that it's a builder of cars that are long on comfort, but short on excitement. It is a little surprising, then, to encounter the 2011 Buick Enclave, a family-friendly eight-passenger crossover SUV that proves Buick can build an exciting vehicle. The well-established Enclave is Buick's entry into the growing luxury SUV category and competes with such premium brands as Lexus, Acura, Audi and Volvo. With eye-catching exterior styling, a highly usable interior and a remarkably quiet cabin the Buick Enclave has what it takes to be a viable competitor in this hot segment.
If you appreciate the refinement of a luxury car but also need the flexibility of a crossover SUV, we think you'll like the 2011 Buick Enclave. It offers the image of owning a luxury vehicle, yet at a more affordable price than many of its competitors.
You may not like the 2011 Buick Enclave if you plan to venture far from paved roads. All-wheel-drive is offered for the Enclave but it is engineered to enhance traction in the more realistic conditions of wet or snowy roads and is not intended for serious off-roading.
Changes for 2011 on the Buick Enclave are limited to new nine-spoke, chrome clad 19-inch wheels on CXL2, and two new paint colors.
Driving Impressions The 2011 Buick Enclave is made to carry up to eight passengers in relaxed comfort and it does so with ease. At the same time it also manages to deliver...engaging, even fun driving dynamics. The steering is light but firms up a bit at speed to give the Enclave a confident feel. The V6 engine provides good if not scorching acceleration and should be up to the task of hauling a full load of cargo or passengers. At cruising speeds Buick's attention to noise reduction pays off with very little wind, road or engine noise intruding into the cabin.
Getting to the rear-most seats in many vehicles can be a hassle. Not so in the Enclave, where the cleverly designed second-row seats, with flip-up cushions and the capability to slide far forward, provide a wide flat space to enter the third-row seating area.
Buick's QuietTuning method of in-vehicle noise reduction may seem like marketing hype, but it has to be experienced to be appreciated. At higher speeds the interior remains delightfully calm and free of the sounds that fatigue occupants on long drives.
The 2011 Buick Enclave's interior features a curvaceous dash design accented by camphor burl wood appliques and chrome trim. High-quality materials, a simple, logical layout and an impressively low level of interior noise make for an extremely inviting cabin. The Enclave is offered in both seven- and eight-passenger versions with slide-and-fold second-row seats that make getting to the third row extremely easy. Cargo space behind the third row is larger than most in this class and, with the second and third rows folded, the Enclave offers a cavernous, flat load area.Exterior
As one of the few vehicles to make it from concept to production without having its exterior styling diluted, the 2011 Buick Enclave offers a bolder appearance than many crossover SUVs. While large enough to accommodate eight passengers, the Enclave's artful body lines give it the look of a much smaller vehicle. The face of the Enclave features a "waterfall" grille, modern-looking portholes above the fenders and intricately detailed almond-shaped head lamps. Adding some flash to its svelte body are standard 18-inch wheels, chrome-tipped dual exhaust outlets and chrome roof rails.
There are two trims offered for the 2011 Buick Enclave. The standard equipment list for the base CX trim includes 18-inch wheels, a power liftgate, power front seats and tri-zone automatic climate control. Stepping up to the CXL adds heated power adjustable front seats, leather seating surfaces, stylish 19-inch aluminum wheels and the Driver Confidence package (remote vehicle engine start, a rearview camera and rear parking sensors). Standard safety features on all Enclaves include anti-lock brakes (ABS), stability and traction control, front air bags, front-seat-mounted air bags and three-row side curtain airbags that stay inflated longer in the event of a vehicle rollover.
Many of the optional features available for the 2011 Buick Enclave are grouped into packages. The most comprehensive package is the 2XL option, which includes power folding side mirrors, adaptive headlamps, Bose audio, heated/cooled front seats and a power tilting and telescoping steering wheel. Other options include a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, a rear-facing camera, eight-passenger seating, Bose audio, a DVD navigation system and a power sunroof.
Powering the 2011 Buick Enclave is a strong 3.6-liter V6. It delivers energetic performance and excellent fuel economy with the help of modern technologies like variable valve timing and an electronic throttle. The V6 is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. A wide spread of gear ratios helps get the most out of the engine while maximizing efficiency. We did, however, notice some delayed reactions from the transmission and the occasional rough shift. An optional all-wheel-drive system is also available which requires no driver intervention and automatically distributes torque between the front and rear wheels.
288 horsepower at 6300 rpm
270 lb.-ft. of torque at 3400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 FWD, 16/22 AWD
By randy on Monday, March 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "great comfort and ride"
Cons: "no cup holders bad gas miliage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I have yet to get 16 miles in town and or 26 highway not even close.. it is usually 14/15 town and 20 highway.."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Matt on Wednesday, February 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Stylish, Comfortable, Smooth Ride, Quiet Interior"
Cons: "Pricey, Old Gen Bluetooth"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I bought a 2012 Enclave certified pre owned with just under 18000 miles on it. It's about two months later and I've been pleased with the car thus far. I did choose one with the AWD feature, I mean if you're going to spend 30k+ on a used car might as well get AWD right? I bought it just before a brutal winter and it handles well in tough driving conditions. Mine is of a 'leather' version so no GPS or sunroof or anything but all of the others features are nice and work well. I especially like the remote start, heated seats, and automatic tailgate. The bluetooth was a bit of a challenge as it paired great with my phone but for playing music not so much. This was solved by using an external bluetooth dongle which works fantastic. I was very nervous as this was by far the most I had ever spent on a car but with the certification the warranty moved to 5 years/62,000 miles from the in service date which for me works out to about a 3.5 year, 44,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty.. which was important to me. I haven't had any reason to service it yet, it has run flawlessly. I'm a big guy and the interior is very comfortable, even for me. All passengers have seemed to like it as well. The like tan interior which I think is called cashmere seems like it may be a challenge to keep clean. I could find one with AWD and darker interior but I think I would have preferred that. Overall I'm very pleased with the car so far and would suggest a 12 model Enclave to anyone in the enclave/acadia/traverse market."
By Max on Monday, February 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 54,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "luxurious interior, quiet comfy ride interior spa"
Cons: "gas mileage, bit bulky and slow pickup"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"The fully loaded AWD has luxurious and plush interior and fine ride quality. It is bit sluggish to accelerate and has large turining radius. Parking in tight space is not easy. Gas mileage is not great but feels like home on long drives."
By crazy to trade on Tuesday, February 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 51,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "A beautiful performing car with above average mpg"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I definitely will trade with the same dealer soon. The gas mileage has slipped some with the years but I blame it on increasing per cent of ethanol increasing."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By cactusjack on Tuesday, February 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Pros: "nice ride, quiet"
Cons: "transmission, poor assembly, inflexible layout"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"First off, I sold an 8 year old Chrysler T&C of nearly identical dimensions with 90 HP less and a 4 speed auto vs 6 speed. I miss the sliding doors, removable seats and rear quarter opening vent windows a lot more than I expected (I sometimes unbolt the middle seats to increase floor space). Surprisingly, though, the lower power Chrysler was more pleasant to drive on the highway, especially in places like the mountains in northern California. Just pop it out of the 4th gear (overdrive) and you never even know it, yet you accelerate and decelerate smoothly and quietly. This Buick never seems to know what gear it wants to be in. Put it in 5 and it's often too high; put it in 4 and the engine is too noisy and brakes too fast. And by the way, if you shift to manual mode while driving, it drops down 2 gears automatically instead of just staying where it is or only dropping one gear. I have to move it into manual and then very quickly push the selector up twice to keep the car from slamming on the compression braking. The transmission is awful in other ways, too. It shifts into 4th at 41 mph, then downshifts at 39 mph. With the prevailing speed limit in my part of the city being 40 mph, the car is constantly shifting up and down. And you really feel the downshifts, too. Really, really annoying. It often feels like it's not sure what gear it's in, like the trans is floating. Annoying. On its first acceleration of the day, the trans shifts very slowly from 2 to 3 with the engine racing up about 400 RPM during the shift. Only on the first shift. No surprise, the dealer says the car is "to spec." Regardless of what they claim, these guys only hook up a diagnostic computer, and if it doesn't show a fault, the car must be just dandy. The trans is getting worse, so I'll be trading it in on another Chrysler before the 5 year warranty expires (unless it fails first). By the way, I had 2 Chrysler T&Cs over a 16 year period and they spent less time in the shop in those 16 years than this one has in 3 years. The car does ride nicely and quietly on city streets, and handles well for a behemoth."
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By bigeazy on Wednesday, February 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "GREAT ROAD HANDLING, QUITE INTERIOR."
Cons: "THE DRIVER SEAT COULD BE MADE MORE COMFY"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I purchased this vehicle brand new- CXL AWD WHITE DAIMOND TRICOAT- after looking at the ACURA, FORD, TOYOTA, HONDA, MERCEDES AND VOLVO. The Enclave was superb over the competitors period!!. I have not had any problems with it. Excellent reliability, low maintenance cost compared to my Jaguar Van Der Plas edition. The ON STAR navigation assistance comes very handy, and the GPS had not failed yet. If you are looking for a great family car for long road trips consider the ENCLAVE. kudos GM!!!"
8 people out of 8 found this review helpful