2014 Buick Enclave Long-Term Update: Silence is golden
As part of our farewell to "Big Blue", the 2014 Buick Enclave that has been a staff favorite in the long-term fleet, I took this versatile people mover on a last road trip to Phoenix for a college graduation. Even though the Enclave was nearing 30,000 miles on the odo, it remains the perfect vehicle for long stretches in the saddle thanks to its "Quiet Tuning"-Buick's dedicated program to ensure that the cabin is a peaceful environment.
Contributing greatly to low levels of noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) is the strategic use of laminated glass on the front and side windows, as well as the extra sound deadening material in the firewall and the floor. Tire noise is minimal-you don't hear the usual change in pitch when the road surface changes or even the drumming sound on rippled pavement. Likewise, wind noise is low and the result is a passenger compartment that's as quiet as some of the best luxury sedans on the market. It's quite a feat when you consider that the Enclave is essentially a big box that seats up to 7 people.
Still a fresh design
While there is some concern than the Buick Enclave is getting a bit long in the tooth, it was introduced in 2008 model and has had only one minor facelift since, the design remains fresh. More than once, we received compliments on the vehicle's looks. A new one is in the pipeline and yet, buyers can opt for the current vehicle with confidence that the vehicle they will be driving several years on will still be a head turner. It's classy looking without being obvious, unlike some competitors who are counting on polarizing, aggressive looks to make their crossovers stand out from the crowd.
Not only is the 2014 Buick Enclave comfortable in its own skin, its passengers are equally comfortable beneath it as well. The cabin boasts comfortable bucket seats up front, second row captain's chairs that fold out of the way to provide relatively easy access to the third row, which is good for two adults and a small person in between. And even with the back bench raised, there is a modicum of room for a few suitcases beneath the power rear liftgate.
The cockpit also has plenty of cubbies and a big bin in the center console to hold all the necessities for a daylong drive. Since our satellite radio subscription expired, we resorted to old-fashioned entertainment playing CDs on the Enclave's excellent sound system. And the center bin easily swallowed the stack of jewel cases and provided USB ports to recharged phones and iPads.
Buick has done a commendable job in delivering on the promise of Quiet Tuning with the Enclave. We will miss Big Blue and that's says a lot given the level and quality of vehicles not only in our long-term test fleet, but out there in the wider market.
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