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2013 Buick Enclave: No Rest for the Top-Seller

By Arv Voss, November 3rd, 2012

The auto industry's top-selling three-row luxury crossover utility vehicle is the Buick Enclave. Not resting on its laurels, Buick pushes the 2013 Enclave forward with new updates and enhancements.

Designers enhanced the 2013 large CUV's exterior in an evolutionary manner. They refined the skin while maintaining its overall identity. The Enclave also serves up a high level of craftsmanship combined with exceptional comfort.

The 2013 Enclave models include the Convenience, Leather and Premium trims with prices that range from $39,270 to $46,450. My driving partner and I piloted the Enclave with an exterior finished in Champagne Silver Metallic and a Cocoa interior with a base price of $45,625, which rose to $50,090 after adding for the Navigation with DVD, sunroof and destination charge.

The Buick Enclave has always been a luxurious and attractive crossover, but now it has reached a new sweet spot. It looks better with its visual enhancements, handles better with its mechanical improvements, and is more comfortable with its added convenience features.

Despite its nearly 2.5-ton mass, the 2013 Enclave handles like a much smaller vehicle. The new interior design treatment is warm, inviting and elegant, displaying top-notch craftsmanship and attention to detail.

Acceleration is more than adequate and shifting is smooth up and down through the gears. Stability is spot-on, with no pronounced body roll and the interior displays a refined quiet, making conversation between front and rear occupants pleasant.

Mechanically, the 2013 Enclave's six-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with overdrive is updated and new suspension technology is implemented for a smoother, more controlled driving experience.

Power for the new Enclave is delivered by a 3.6-liter, DOHC, 24-valve VVT V6 engine with Spark Ignition Direct Injection. It generates 288 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft of torque. The engine delivers power to either the front wheels or to all four in the optional 4WD version via a Hydra-Matic 6T75 six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift capability.

In terms of safety technology, the new Enclave is enhanced by the addition of the industry-first "front center side airbag" that provides protection for drivers and front passengers in far-side impact crashes. A rear vision camera system is standard fare with an optionally available Side Blind Zone Alert with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert.

The sculpted exterior design evolves the sophisticated elegance of this segment-leading crossover. The revisions include restyled, body-color front and rear fascias and rocker moldings, LED lighting front and rear, including daytime running lamps, a new sculpted hood, fenders and a larger, black-chrome waterfall grille, integrated dual stainless steel exhaust with bright outlets, plus new 19 and 20-inch wheel designs. A chrome glass profile surround trim and chrome capped door handles add a nice touch along with the blacked out B and C pillars.

The interior benefits from a newly designed instrument panel and door trim with genuine stitching and soft ambient accent lighting, along with new climate controls and a revised look for OnStar buttons, as well as front-row four-way adjustable head restraints. Cabin highlights include a new ice blue LED ambient lighting around the dash that highlights Enclave's flowing lines, while emphasizing the cabin's spaciousness for up to eight people.

For entertainment, there's a Premium audio system with AM/FM/HD and Sirius/XM radio, Bluetooth, USB port, CD player, auxiliary input jack, steering wheel-mounted controls, Buick IntelliLink 7-inch color touch-screen radio and available color touch radios with DVD and navigation.

Bottom-line, if you liked the Enclave, you're sure to love this latest iteration luxury crossover -- it's the ultimate family adventure cruiser.

Specifications

Base price $45,625 (as tested: $50,090)
Curb weight 4,922 lbs.
Displacement 3.6-liter
Epa mileage rating 17 mpg city, 24 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 22.0 gal.
Horsepower (net) 288 at 6300 rpm
Motor type 24-valve V-6 w/DI
Overall length 201.9 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 270 at 3400 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Vehicle type 7/8-passenger FWD large CUV
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