The Buick Enclave has been on the market since 2007, and the GM division is probably quite pleased to have the three-row, full-size crossover in its lineup because, according to Tony DiSalle, Buick vp of Marketing, the vehicle, produced at the GM Lansing Delta Township Assembly Plant in Lansing, Michigan, is the number-one selling vehicle in its class, and its class has some high achievers, including the Acura MDX, Lincoln MKT, Audi Q7, and Volvo XC90.
If you think about it, being number-one in a vehicle class is something that General Motors overall is fairly short on, which makes this Buick all the more remarkable.
For the 2013 Enclave, it is essentially an update inside and out for the vehicle.
On the exterior, it is essentially a change to the front and rear fascias, although side cladding has been removed (and you thought only Pontiac used cladding) for a more monochromatic appearance. In the front, there is a change to the prominent waterfall grille, now a black-chrome. The headlamps have been redesigned, deploying L-shaped LED daytime running lamps. The Xenon HID headlamps feature the now-signature blue translucent rings surrounds.
And while on the subject of lighting. . . . “As a brand driven by intelligent design and technology, Buick has to be at the forefront of purposeful-modern design cues. Our signature LED lighting serves a double purpose of providing a premium look and making sure our vehicles are unmistakable in the eyes and mirrors of other drivers on the road. Some of the new Enclave’s design cues will carry over to other Buick models to come, but every execution will be true to each model’s character,” said Mark Adams, executive director of Buick Design.
What is arguably the biggest lighting change for the Enclave is actually found around back, for the LED taillamps. Fitted into the new rear fascia is an execution of an LED-based lighting technology called “Uniform Lighting Lens” (ULL) by developer 3M (3M.com). The 2013 is the first application of ULL.
ULL is based on a precision engineered, micro-patterned polycarbonate that provides an even illumination from the taillamp, not the discrete points that are common to LED lamps. What’s more, fewer LEDs can be used, which saves both cost and energy.
Inside the cabin there is the industry’s first front center-side airbag system that protects the driver and front passenger in far-side impact crashes. The airbag deploys from the inboard side of the driver’s seat so that it is positioned between the driver and the front passenger.
But what is more visibly notable (not more important, of course, but one hopes that the front center-side airbag remains undeployed throughout the life of the vehicle) is the change on the instrument panel, where the polymer wood has been eliminated on the passenger’s side of the cabin (if only it had been removed throughout) and real stitching is used on the Nuance sandstone leather. (It is worth noting that the steering wheel uses real wood). There is a new center stack with the company’s IntelliLink LCD touch screen display standard.
The 288-hp 3.6-liter direct-injected V6 engine is a carryover from the 2012 model. The controls for the six-speed Hydra-Matic transmission have been revised for smoother performance. Also revised is the suspension setup. The front suspension uses new dual-flow dampers and rebound springs, again for the smoothness that is characteristic of Buick.—GSV