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 mtbsteve on Monday, July 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Comfort, quiet, space, beautiful inside and out"
Cons: "Handling could be a bit tighter"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Just took delivery of a 2014 Leather AWD w/ sunroof and nav. After some commuting miles around the Boston area and a nice 450+ mile road trip, couldn't be happier. It is quiet, smooth and everything I have liked about former Buicks. I am in my young 30's and love it, easily holds the 2 kids and all their gear. The only downsides are that handling could be slightly crisper and I wish the engine was a little more efficient (see below). With that being said, it is a great cruiser and it puts you at ease while driving and while the mpg rating might be low, I was able to pull down 22.5 and 23 while traveling 70-80 mph on the highway loaded up and with hitting some minor hills in the Berkshires in western MA, easily meeting and beating the 22 mpg on the sticker even while not fully broken in. Extremely happy with the Enclave."
By FamilyHauler5 on Saturday, July 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 58,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Highway behavior, quiet cabin, amenities"
Cons: "fuel economy, nav, radio and onboard tech clunky"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"This is my first GM car in many years. I've been uniformly impressed with reliability, fit and finish, ride quality and amenities. Its a beautiful car and a great way to get a big family from one place to another. Downside is cost of operation (fuel economy) and tech sophistication. Nav and radio could be outsourced and upgraded considerably. Bose speakers are overmatched against the radio, etc. These are both sort of clunky and outdated."
By Garner on Wednesday, June 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Smooth and comfortable drive. Wonderful AC for all"
Cons: "Minimal cargo room in back"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This car has been a blessing to our family of 8. Great for long rides that provide lots of comfort and very low noise. I'm spoiled when I drive other cars because they feel so rough."
11 people out of 21 found this review helpful
By Nina23 on Friday, June 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 63,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "luxury, comfort, pretty good mpg, and roomy"
Cons: "steering, recalls, rack and pinion problems"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I thought this would be the car of my dreams...safety, luxury, comfort, remote start, 3rd row seats, DVD system for the kids, cargo room, oh, and did I mention luxury? Yes, it has it all....and it's pretty good looking going down the road too! Until I noticed the unusual "whine" when I turned the steering wheel, and the quiet clunking from the rack and pinion, and the funny pull when turning into parking spaces.... oh, and then the recalls for the seat belts and the air bags.... my dream car has turned into my nightmare :( BUT!, it is very luxurious, comfortable, and gets pretty good gas mileage :)"
12 people out of 21 found this review helpful
By Neva on Tuesday, June 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 67,623overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "rides and drives very good - little road noise cle"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This car also has super Polysteel Environmental Vehicle Protection (Gold package) and also had a vehicle Service contract"
11 people out of 22 found this review helpful
By Sig on Monday, May 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Best space available on a mid-sized SUV, the middle row captain's chairs (not many mid-sized SUVs offer these)offers great ease of access to 3rd row seating, great for families with kids, drives great on family trips."
8 people out of 11 found this review helpful