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Buick Enclave (2013)

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The Enclave is one of Buick’s real success stories. Buick sold a record 57,783 Enclaves in 2011, making it more popular than the three-row crossovers from Acura, Audi and Lincoln. More importantly, nearly half of all Enclave buyers switched from non-General Motors brands. So far this year, that trend has become even more prevalent.

With seating for eight, an interior just inches smaller than the ever popular GMC Yukon, the Enclave was just what Buick needed when gas prices went sky high. Buyers in need of three rows of seating without buying a gas guzzling SUV or a Soccer Mom Mini Van, the Enclave is a great choice.

For 2013, the Enclave receives some much needed refinement all around. Most noticeable is the aggressive new exterior design that includes a bolder signature Buick waterfall grille and new LED taillights. I think overall, the look is dramatically better. Not that the 2012 version was bad, but some called it a little conservative.

Inside, the Enclave is just beautiful. The new dash, center console, new contrast stitching, new wood accents, more soft touch surfaces, and really cool ambient lighting are amazing. The Enclave was always upscale, but Buick has gone to a whole new level in 2013. Controls have been changed to be simpler and easier to learn and use. GM’s new My Link telematics system performed flawlessly and, coupled with the latest version of OnStar, is a big plus. It will do almost anything you ask and is not hard to learn. It links up with your smartphone to allow Bluetooth streaming of internet favorites Pandora and Stitcher. Best of all, IT WORKS!

The Enclave is powered by GM’s 3.6-liter 288hp V-6 and a six speed automatic transmission. For 2013, the powertrain is reprogrammed for more performance without any change in fuel economy. The 2013 model feels more powerful and is a lot more enjoyable to drive. When I said the new Enclave is more refined, this is one of the improvements I was talking about. To increase driveability this much without losing any fuel economy is a big win for GM engineers.

Available in AWD and FWD versions, the Enclave has the power to tow up to 4800 pounds.

Here is a great feature: The Enclave receives GM’s new front center side airbag. Added to the drivers seat, the center airbag protects against driver- passenger collisions during side impact events. (like a big catchers mitt between the occupants) This should decrease injuries and usher in copycat products in the competition. Other safety features include parking sensors, backup camera, lane divergence, crash alert, stability control, and crash alert.

With a very useable third row of seats and 12 cupholders, the Enclave is a great family friendly large luxury vehicle. With a great ride and quiet interior, the Enclave is great on a trip, and an EPA rating of 17 city and 24 highway means little stopping for fuel.

For those of you wanting to exchange your big SUV for something with a better ride and fuel economy without sacrificing capacity or luxury, perhaps a look at the 2013 Enclave is in order. I gave it a 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Mike Herzing

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