The Buick Enclave was introduced just a few years ago as the brand's full-sized three-row crossover. That first generation is now being replaced with a new generation for 2018 and this new Enclave is larger, sleeker, and more modern than its predecessor.
Dimensionally, the new 2018 Enclave is two inches (51 mm) longer in its wheelbase and about two inches longer in length too. Width and height remain about the same. This added length to the Enclave translates to more interior space, though, as Buick says it's increased third row legroom and cargo space, giving the 2018 Enclave one of the largest third rows in its class.
Technological improvements start with the exterior lighting, which is now all LED-based. Buick is using Evonik Acrylite lighting technology, a plastic sheathing for LED lighting that allows strength and brilliance with weather resistance. Evonik has been well-known for its lighting applications in architecture and other mediums, and this marks a first use of the technology for Buick.
The sculpture of the 2018 Buick Enclave's exterior itself is more molded than that of the outgoing generation, using what Buick calls "compound curvature." The disconnected rear pillar swoop and shorter hood (thanks to a lengthier windscreen) creates an interesting profile. Standard design elements are used to smooth out that unusual look by beefing up the rear quarter and adding detail to the bodywork. The signature cascading grille lets everyone know that this is a Buick.
The 2018 Enclave will include a host of standard safety equipment that includes a rearview camera, rear parking radar, and a large airbag suite. Many other active safety and driver assistance options are available as well, including crash-avoidance tech and lane-keeping assist. That latter list of technologies are all standard on the new Enclave Avenir luxury model.
Inside, the new Enclave has more cargo room and third row legroom while adding more quietness to the cabin through added padding and acoustical sealing. An all-new air ionizer cleans the cabin's air, reducing odors and requiring no filter replacements. Cargo space is expanded to 23.6 cubic feet (668 liters) behind the third row, plus an added 3.1 cubic feet (88 liters) in underfloor storage. Seating folds flat in both the third and second rows to expand cargo space to 97.6 cubic feet (2,764 liters) overall.
For technology, the latest OnStar and myBuick app interfaces are included as standard with the 2018 Buick Enclave. The OnStar connection includes a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot courtesy of AT&T with a five-year connection at no additional cost. Buick's new Rear Seat Reminder, to let parents know that their kids or stuff are in the back seat, is also included as standard.
Powering the new Buick is a newly-tuned 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine. This engine displaces 223 cubic inches (3,649cc) versus the outgoing model's 217 ci. This boosts output to 301 horsepower (227 kW) and 260 foot pounds (353 Nm) of torque versus last year's 288 hp and 270 lb-ft (215 kW, 366 Nm). Buick estimates that this engine will result in 20 mpg combined (11.8 l/100km) for the front-wheel drive models and 19 mpg combined (12.4 l/100km) for the all-wheel drive models. A new nine-speed automatic transmission is also standard on the 2018 Enclave. Towing is rated at up to 5,000 pounds (2,268 kg) when equipped.
For the 2018 model year, Buick is also introducing a new sub-brand of luxury called Avenir. This brand will have exclusive grille and other exterior trim highlights to set it apart from other Buick models. For the 2018 Buick Enclave Avenir model, for example, the new Avenir-specific three-dimensional mesh grille and Rear Camera Mirror will be standard equipment. The rear camera mirror replaces a physical rearview mirror with a camera-based screen that removes obstructions and reduces blind spots.
The 2018 Buick Enclave will enter showrooms later this year, with pricing and more details announced prior to that. Buick plans three trim levels (base, Essence, and Premium) as well as the new Avenir model.