By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 10/8/2012
As more people move away from truck-based SUVs into more manageable crossover SUVs, the 2013 Buick Enclave makes a lot of sense. Once known only for its near-luxury cars and aging customer base, Buick has transformed itself into a manufacturer of modern luxury vehicles with a uniquely American take. In the 2013 Enclave SUV, Buick has created a vehicle specifically targeting affluent younger buyers with growing families, people who otherwise might purchase an Acura MDX, Audi Q7 or Volvo XC90. The Enclave offers excellent value in terms of space, amenities, styling and efficiency. It undercuts more expensive premium brands by thousands of dollars while still offering the luxury experience that premium-brand buyers demand.
If you need 7- or even 8-passenger seating in a vehicle that is reasonably sized, gets good fuel economy and sells for $40,000, the 2013 Buick Enclave SUV is an excellent choice, especially if you want to impress your friends with a luxurious interior and elegant styling.
If part of your upscale lifestyle includes towing a boat or horse trailer, the 2013 Buick Enclave crossover SUV's 4,500-pound tow rating may come up a little short.What's New for 2013
A 2013 freshening brings the Buick Enclave crossover SUV new front and rear styling, a new instrument panel and interior trim, and an industry-first front-center airbag. Equipment packages are simplified; essentially, the former Convenience option group is now the standard base trim. Accordingly, the starting price increases almost $2000.Driving It Driving Impressions
The 2013 Buick Enclave can easily carry up to eight adults in relaxed comfort. The driving character of the Enclave is not sports-car-like, but there is plenty of useful feedback in the steering and the capable suspension feels compliant and well damped. The Enclave's V6 engine provides adequate acceleration, but it could do with a little 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; very little wind, road or engine noise makes it into the cabin. The 2013 Buick Enclave is available in front-wheel-drive (FWD) and all-wheel-drive (AWD) versions.Favorite Features
Getting to the rear-most seats in many vehicles can be a hassle. Not so in the 2013 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 sound like marketing hype, but there is actually something to it. At higher speeds the interior remains delightfully calm and free of the racket that can fatigue occupants on long drives.
The 2013 Buick Enclave gets a handsome new instrument panel with stylized instrument faces and clean integration of the IntelliLink touchscreen display. Accented with real stitching and new ice-blue LED ambient lighting, the Enclave's interior makes for a warm, inviting cabin. Laminated glass and copious sound-deadening material create a passenger space that is whisper-quiet at highway speeds. Available with either 7- or 8-passenger seating, the 2013 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. Cargo space behind the third row is unusually generous for this class.Exterior
Although the basic shape remains, a new front fascia and hood, LED-enhanced headlamps and a new interpretation of the signature "waterfall" grille give the 2013 Buick Enclave a fresh look. The sheetmetal is clean and graceful, and appears remarkably compact considering the generous interior space it encloses. Nuances include the traditional Buick "portholes" above the front fenders. Further luxury enhancements include standard 18-inch wheels (19- and 20-inchers are optional), chrome-trimmed roof rails and new chrome exhaust tips integrated into the lower-rear fascia.
The 2013 Buick Enclave SUV comes in three equipment levels. The base package ("Convenience") includes 18-inch wheels, a power liftgate, power front seats, rearview camera and park assist, IntelliLink communications and Color Touch audio system with its 7-inch display. The standard airbag array includes 3-row side-curtain bags that stay inflated longer in the event of a rollover, and a new, industry-first "center-side" airbag in the center console that protects driver and front-seat passenger from opposite-side impacts.
Many of the available features for the 2013 Enclave come in the option groups offered. The Leather group adds leather upholstery and heated front-row seats. The Premium Group brings heated and cooled front seats, articulating headlights and a Bose 10-speaker audio upgrade. Other options include a $2,000 all-wheel-drive (AWD) system for all-season capability, plus a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, 8-passenger seating, Bose audio, a DVD navigation system and a power sunroof.Under the Hood
Powering the 2013 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 AWD 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 mpg (FWD), 16/22 mpg (AWD)
Though its Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) climbs by over $1,900 compared to last year, the base front-drive 2013 Buick Enclave is still priced very competitively, at just over $39,000. Its main competitors, the Lexus RX 350, Audi Q7, Volvo XC90 and Acura MDX, are all right there or substantially higher. A fully loaded Premium Group model with AWD can top $55,000. The less-expensive Enclave may not come with all the brand prestige of the import alternatives, but it does offer seating for eight, which they don't. To compare the actual transaction prices that consumers are paying, be sure to check the Enclave's Fair Purchase Price on KBB.com. The price advantage offered by the Buick Enclave is somewhat offset by residual values that are expected to fall well below those of many of its competitors.