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 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.."
2 people out of 2 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."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
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 5 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!!!"
8 people out of 8 found this review helpful