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 Spence on Wednesday, October 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,600overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive, pretty car"
Cons: "poor gas mileage, lousy GPS"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"Very unhappy with the GPS not user friendly Garman much better!! Also the icons for the instrument panel again not user friendly for older people. The ride is great, leg room and general comfort excellent. Mileage poor. Have had 3 prior Buicks this not my favorite"
4 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Queen1952 on Wednesday, September 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great drive, roomy, stylish, comfortable ride."
Cons: "Needs more cushion or plushness in the seats."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have owned this SUV for over three years. I have been pleased with every aspect of this vehicle. It is one of the most comfortable SUV's for long or short road trips. The ride is fantastic. The only imporvement that I would make is the cushioning on the front seats. I would like to see it a little more plush, like the GMC Envoy front seats. It is very responsive while driving it. It is roomy and the storage area is more than adequate."
10 people out of 14 found this review helpful
By GD55 on Monday, August 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Very comfortable to drive especially on long trips"
Cons: "Tailgate height not adjustable"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"My wife and I found the car to be very comfortable especially on long trips. We've never had a problem with it. Only thing is we wish we had rear view camera. Our next car will be an enclave & will have the camera."
12 people out of 20 found this review helpful
By mm3545 on Thursday, August 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Stylish, pleasure to drive, comfortable."
Cons: "Poor gas mileage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I did lots of research before purchasing my 2012 Enclave. I chose it because it was a Buick, it was well engineered, it had excellent leg room for my husband and it could tow and be towed by our motorhome. I have not had issues except the bluetooth and several recalls. I am disappointed that I only get 16 mpg most of the time unless we are on a trip with lots of highway driving. It is very comfortable, has all the bells and whistles and can carry 7 passengers. It has lots of cargo space, especially with the center seats down. It has excellent power, expecially when accelerating, and never knew it was towing a trailer. The only down side I find is the ride. It's very rough over bumps and it definitely doesn't have the ride of my 1955 or 1976 Buicks or my 1993 Lincoln Towncar that my Enclave replaced. I keep a car twenty years and I expect to keep this one that long too."
16 people out of 28 found this review helpful
By Danny on Monday, August 04, 2014
I want this caroverall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "style, comfort"
Cons: "price of a fill up"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I traded in my 2012 Verano for the 2013 Enclave. I did so because I was driving across country and needed the larger space. I filled up the Enclave almost to the ceiling, had 2 dogs, and 2 adults. This car drove like a luxury care being loaded down with all this stuff. It drove flawlessly and the v-6 engine always gave me the power I needed. The extra cargo did not cause any slow down or cause any power or performance let downs. I love the styling and I have almost every option you can have. The warning side mirrors are a life saver. My only complaints are there is no front camera warning systewm (now available on the 2014) and the cost at the gas pump. At last fill up it was $80 to fill up. It is luxurious and it drives amazingly. It is just a bit steep at the gas pump/"
24 people out of 39 found this review helpful
By chasnev on Saturday, July 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "comfort, quiet, gas mileage"
Cons: "dashboard paint"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have had three Enclaves. I drive them all over the country. First one had almost 90K miles. The ride is unsurpassed. The overall efficiency is very good. The space to haul things on long trip is great."
13 people out of 18 found this review helpful