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 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.."
1 person out of 1 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."
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 4 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!!!"
7 people out of 7 found this review helpful