By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.6
As more and more people move away from truck-based SUVs into smaller, more manageable crossovers, the 2012 Buick Enclave begins to make a lot of sense. Once known only for its near-luxury cars with an aging customer base, Buick has transformed itself into a manufacturer of modern luxury vehicles with a uniquely American take. In the 2012 Enclave SUV, Buick has created a vehicle specifically targeted at affluent younger buyers with growing families, people who ordinarily might purchase an Acura MDX, Audi Q7 or a Volvo XC90. The 2012 Enclave offers excellent value in terms of interior space, luxury amenities, styling and highway fuel economy. The 8-passenger Buick Enclave SUV also undercuts more expensive premium-luxury brands by thousands of dollars while still offering the status such premium-brand buyers demand.
If you need 8-passenger seating in a vehicle that is reasonably sized, gets good fuel economy (check out the front-wheel drive model) and sells for less than $40,000, there are lots of choices. If, however, you want all this in a vehicle that will impress your friends with its luxurious interior and elegant styling, the 2012 Buick Enclave SUV is the obvious choice.
If part of your upscale lifestyle includes towing a boat or horse trailer, the 2012 Buick Enclave crossover SUV's 4,500-pound tow rating may not be sufficient to meet your needs.
The 2012 Buick Enclave SUV drops the CX and CXL trim designations, leaving a single model with a number of option packages. New standard features include Hill-Hold Assist and an electronic brake override system designed to prevent unintended acceleration.
Driving Impressions The 2012 Buick Enclave can easily carry up to eight adults in relaxed comfort. The driving dynamics for the Enclave are not sports-car-like, but there is plenty of useful feedback...via the steering wheel, and the cable chassis and suspension turn in an impressively stable performance. The Enclave's V6 engine provides adequate acceleration, but it could do with a few more horsepower. On the flip side, the Enclave's fuel-economy ratings are near the top of its class. At cruising speeds Buick's attention to noise reduction pays off with very little wind, road or engine noise intruding into the cabin. The 2012 Buick Enclave is available in front-wheel drive (FWD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) versions.
Getting to the rear-most seats in many vehicles can be a hassle. Not so in the 2012 Buick Enclave SUV, 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 2012 Buick Enclave displays a lovely curving instrument panel equipped with highly stylized instrument faces and switchgear. Accented with camphor burled-wood inlays, the Enclave's interior makes for a warm, inviting cabin, as does the intricate sew pattern in the available leather seating and the elegant analog clock. A copious amount of sound-deadening material creates a passenger space that is whisper-quiet at highway speeds, nearly devoid of wind or tire noise. Available with either 7- or 8-passenger seating, the 2012 Enclave SUV features slide-and-fold second-row seats that can be operated with one hand, clearing a wide path to the third-row seat. Perhaps one of the Enclave's greatest strengths is the spacious cargo area behind the third-row seat, an attribute rarely found on the Enclave's competition.Exterior
Despite the design being a few years old now, the 2012 Buick Enclave still looks good. Maybe it's because the SUV you see today mirrors to the last detail the Enclave concept that first debuted to rave reviews. Or, maybe it's just good design. In any case, the 8-passenger Enclave is a head-turner, with such stunning styling features as an oversized waterfall grille, traditional Buick "portholes" above the front fenders and finely detailed headlight casing with swiveling projector beams. Further luxury enhancements include 18- and 19-inch chrome alloy wheels, chrome-trimmed roof rails and chrome exhaust tips.
The 2012 Buick Enclave SUV comes in one trim with four possible packages. The base package includes 18-inch wheels, a power liftgate, power front seats and tri-zone automatic climate control. The Convenience Group adds Ultrasonic Rear Park Assist, rearview camera and remote start, while the Leather Group brings leather seating, heated front seats and a 4-way power passenger seat with power lumbar and recline. The Premium Group brings heated and cooling front seats. Standard safety features on the 2012 Buick Enclave include antilock brakes (ABS), stability and traction control, front airbags, front-seat-mounted airbags and 3-row side-curtain airbags that stay inflated longer in the event of a vehicle rollover.
Many of the available features for the 2012 Enclave are packages within its various groups. The most comprehensive group is the Premium Group, which includes power-folding side mirrors, adaptive headlights, Bose audio, heated/cooled front seats and a power tilting-and-telescoping steering wheel. Other options include all-wheel drive (AWD), a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, a rear-facing camera, 8-passenger seating, Bose audio, a DVD navigation system and a power sunroof.
Powering the 2012 Buick Enclave crossover SUV is a sturdy 3.6-liter V6. It delivers energetic performance and excellent fuel economy with the help of modern technologies like variable valve timing, direct injection and an electronic throttle. The V6 is paired with a 6-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 that requires no driver intervention and automatically distributes torque between the front and rear wheels.
288 horsepower at 6,300 rpm
270 lb-ft of torque at 3,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 (FWD), 14/22 (AWD)
By Stephenw on Monday, December 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Very comfortable, excellent AWD system."
Cons: "HUD is not available."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Living in Michigan, you should ready opt. for the AWD, my wife and I love it. Drove in snow in Canada, ice in Michigan, heavy rains in Florida, AWD really helps. Planning on another Enclave AWD soon."
By RN on Sunday, December 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"Poor design on size and placement of side view mirrors which greatly diminish visibility. Otherwise You have a good SUV which rides great on the highway."
By padamssm on Saturday, December 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 56,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Safety! 3-prong outlet, USB ports, total comfort"
Cons: "2015 model removed my cons"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"We bought the high-end 2010 Enclave with all the options. Both my husband and I loved this car. It has great pickup, important in an area surrounded by highways. Every time I walked up to it, I smiled at how beautiful it was. There was an issue with the steering system but the problem was finally found, fixed, and didn't return. Inside it is spacious and luxurious. One of my favorite features is an extended remote; I start the car heating or cooling from the house (now there's an app for that). I'm not a fan of the 2010 navigation system but my husband liked it. I'm happy with 22 mpg highway. The day before Thanksgiving 2014, in the Northeast snow and rain, we had an accident that sent us off the road and we hit an earth mound at the bumper level at a fairly high speed. My husband (passenger seat) didn't even realize we hit anything. No airbags deployed, we didn't even have a sore muscle. He got out of the car to see what happened and all around the car looked fine but the front bumper and everything below it was wrecked. The impact was enough to bend the radiator and push the frame back slightly into the right front door. Despite my pleading with the insurance company, they declared the car a total loss. Because the car held it's value, they paid us an amount that is half the price of a new 2015 fully loaded Enclave, which we just drove home yesterday. There was no question that we'd buy another Enclave. What a wonderful surprise to see the changes since 2010, especially additional safety features and an updated navigation and entertainment touch screen system. Everything we loved about the 2010 is still there, except they stopped offering the 2nd row console in 2013 and I loved the storage space and versatility that offered; the upside is it will be easier for friends to reach the 3rd row when we put it up. My husband thinks the new champagne silver metallic exterior is even prettier than the gold one we had. Our old Enclave is a hero for taking the hit with no damage to us, and we expect to have many happy years in our new Enclave. It is even quieter and smoother than the old one!"
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Marge on Monday, December 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 23,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Cons: "Would like a little better gas mileage is only neg"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"We love our Enclave! The ride is so comfortable and handling is great. Great creature comforts which is important to us. Only change would be better gas mileage; however this is definitely our traveling car."
1 person out of 5 found this review helpful
By Lori on Thursday, November 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"I have had this car 3 years. I am considering trading it in now because it handles so poorly in snow with only FWD. This car should not be sold in snowy states without AWD. Gas mileage is also terrible. 17mpg average. Beautiful car with lots of room and has been reliable BUT to pay for this kind of luxury it should handle better. Traction control is a joke."
14 people out of 23 found this review helpful
By AcuraT on Thursday, October 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 53,600overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Near luxury, good quality, quiet, good handling"
Cons: "none come to mind"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"We purchased our 2010 Buick Enclave used - from the 2010 Winter Olypmics in Vancouver. Although the SUV had 600 miles on the odometer, and was used, it really was like new and we received a huge discount for the car. Because it was used we received a second row bench seat when we wanted bucket, but that was the only thing we gave up. This vehicle has the built in DVD system for videos, a second receiver so the second row (with headphones) can pick their own music, an advanced bluetooth enabled system that can verbally tell you that you have a text message, read you the message, allow you to respond via dictaphone, and send a response - all while driving. It is not obtrusive or hard to use and is not distracting. Technology is this car's strength as it has a very good GPS with OnStar system and XM radio and traffic. Handling is this car's strength. I can go through S curves fairly rapidly with minimal lean and it drives like a heavy car. At nearly 2 tons that is to be expected, but the 288 hp V6 generates enough power to keep up with traffic in a full load situation. I beat the EPA estimate of 22 mpg on the highway with AWD and get between 23-24 in the Apalacian Mountains on the higheway. City I tend to get about 17-18 which is +1 to +2 over the EPA estimate. Buick brags about Quietuning but I have to say all that additional insulation does work. I have twins that since we bought the car four years ago that fall asleep on long trips - guaranteed. They never can stay awake. My wife falls asleep as well in the passenger seat. It is definately quiet. The fit and finsh of all materials seems to be realatively high quality as well. Overall, my family loves this car and after 52,000 and no breakdowns and a few recalls, the car has been fully reliable. We now have faith that GM can build a decent car again and plan to buy a new one in the future."
6 people out of 7 found this review helpful