By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.4
The 2014 Buick Enclave seems to define where family vehicles have been headed ever since SUVs started becoming less like trucks. It's more like a perfectly logical extension of the high-end yet sensible station wagons of the past, but with all the modern advances in style, technology, road manners, efficiency and safety required by the times. It feels just about ideal for its intended mission. It delivers all the features and qualities demanded by younger, affluent buyers with growing families, who might otherwise shop imports such as the Acura MDX, Audi Q7 or several others, yet at a price that's thousands of dollars less – while still including all the luxury and refinement that's necessary in the premium end of the market. That's why we named it one of the 10 Best Luxury Cars Under $40,000 for 2014.
Here's your list: Seating for seven or eight, versatility to haul the extras, good fuel economy, refined road manners, quiet comfort, elegant style, luxurious interior, beneficial features and modern technology – for about $40,000. Head to the Buick dealer, check out the Enclave.
Need space inside for seven or eight plus loads of their stuff? Tow a good-sized boat or horse trailer? The Enclave's tow rating is 4,500 pounds. You probably need something bigger.
Changes to the Enclave for 2014 are minor in nature. The camera-based Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure feature, which warns drivers of possible crash threats, is available. New standard features include IntelliLink Color Touch radio (includes SiriusXM), and dual charge-only USB ports at the rear of the center console.
Driving Impressions The Enclave delivers a driving experience that's a combination of a smooth and well-controlled ride along with handling that's responsive, predictable and certainly far better than it needs to be....... The steering transmits accurate messages of what's happening at the road surface, the shock absorbers provide easy compliance over bumps while maintaining control during motoring's ups and downs. The 3.6-liter V6 engine is smooth and quiet and provides performance that will be more than adequate for almost all reasonably foreseeable situations. Along with all this, the Enclave delivers fuel economy ratings near the top of its segment. And Buick's "QuietTuning" technology pays off, as at cruising speeds there is a minimum of wind, road and engine noise making its annoying way to the occupants' ears.
Not only does the Enclave seat eight in relaxed comfort, the ingeniously-designed 2nd-row seats, with flip-up cushions and the capability to slide fore-and-aft, make it easy to access the 3rd-row seat or to increase the cargo capacity for those trips home from the big-box store.
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 2014 Buick Enclave has a handsome instrument panel with stylized instrument faces and clean integration of the IntelliLink touch-screen 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 Enclave 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, and the easy operation of the seats makes it a cinch to haul larger items.Exterior
Up front, the 2014 Enclave has LED-enhanced headlights and Buick's signature "waterfall" grille. The sheet metal is clean and graceful, and the Enclave appears remarkably compact and tidy 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 chrome exhaust tips integrated into the lower-rear fascia.
The 2014 Enclave 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 an industry-first "center-side" airbag in the center console that protects driver and front-seat passenger from opposite-side impacts. New for 2014 are standard charge-only USB ports at the rear of the center console.
Many of the available features for the Enclave are in option groups. 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. The new camera-based Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning is included in the Premium Group.
Powering the 2014 Enclave is a responsive and smooth 3.6-liter V6. It delivers energetic performance and excellent fuel economy with the help of the modern technologies of variable valve timing, direct fuel 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 an 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)
The base 2014 Buick Enclave – the "Convenience" trim level – has a starting Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just under $40,000. Its main competitors, the Lexus RX 350, Audi Q7, Volvo XC90 and Acura MDX, are all around 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.
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."
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Jim on Wednesday, October 22, 2014
I don't own this caroverall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "lots of room, drives and handles very well in snow"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"As I am retired I want to go down to 1 car, the bank holds the title because I am still paying for it."
10 people out of 19 found this review helpful
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"
8 people out of 14 found this review helpful