After spending some time with our long-term 2014 Buick Enclave, it's easy to see why it exists. It offers the roominess of a minivan, but in a far more stylish skin. At the same time, it has the seating position and all-wheel drive capabilities of a full-size body-on-frame SUV, but with a far superior ride and cabin comfort. Our particular Enclave was brought into the fleet with nearly 10,000 miles on it, to simulate what it would be like to buy one as a Certified Pre-Owned unit from a dealer.

So far we've nearly doubled the mileage on the clock and this Buick still has the look and feel of a brand new car. Some the leather is beginning to exhibit a bit of patina, but that only adds to making the Enclave feel like an old family friend. So far, it has proved to be mostly trouble-free with one trip to the service bay to address a recall issue (at item addressed more in depth in another report).

A handsome hauler for the family

The Buick Enclave avoids the "mommy-mobile" stigma of minivans on two counts-the most obvious is the use of conventional rear doors rather than sliders. But also, there is a sense of style to the sheetmetal. Buick designs have successfully grafted the division's traditional sweep spear character line which minimizes the boxy shape of a body that can easily accommodate seven with its two rows of captain's chairs and a third row bench for three.

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While Buick's outsized waterfall grille found on the LaCrosse sedan looks a bit heavy handed on that model, it fits the Enclave well, again, because of the sheer size of the vehicle. The only feature that seems out of place is Buick's insistence on keeping the ventiport design cue alive in a chrome piece that looks like it's tacked on. If the division really wants to hang onto this signature, it should cut out proper ports in the front fenders rather than plopping fake piece of shiny metal atop the hood. 

Quiet Tuning a plus 

Still, the overall effect of the design is to make the Enclave look svelte, which is contrary to its overall dimensions and curb weight. Inside, the expressiveness carries over with a sweeping curve to the dash that nicely integrates with the doors. There's an abundant use of soft touch materials, tasteful wood accents and enough brightwork to convey the impression that this version is more upscale than the Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia, which share the same Lambda platform.

In addition to this attention to design detail, Buick engineers have done their bit to create an atmosphere inside that is consistent with the elegant shape of the sheetmetal and the use of high quality materials on the interior. Called Quiet Tuning, this approach uses laminated glass on the windshield and front doors along with strategically placed insulation in the firewall to ensure that outside noises don't filter into the cabin. These efforts are largely successful giving this large box on wheels the quietness you'd expect in a luxury sedan. So far, the 2014 Buick Enclave has been a staff favorite for not only transporting the family, but is also stylish enough for a night on the town.

See Past Reports for our Long-Term 2014 Buick Enclave...


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