2011 Buick Enclave


This week we’re looking at the 2011 Buick Enclave – a master of the road. Since I’ve been on vacation, one of my publishers helped me out with his take on the Enclave. I reviewed it in 2010 so I was interested in Vince’s opinion. It was interesting that he referred to the comfort being like that of the “Roadmaster”. That was a model when he was a young boy. He’s my sisters youngest of 5 kids. Back then my generation referred to the Roadmaster as a “Road Hog”. It was huge, bulky and absolutely comfy. I had a lot of time in that car since I would accompany my friend’s family to the beach every Thursday during Summer vacation. Mr. Odell drove a Buick Roadmaster and off we’d go to San Clamente – their favorite beach. Wonderful memories of surfing and hamburgers on the pier. That was before freeways and just when Disneyland was being constructed. We’d watch the progress as we passed through the Orange Groves of Anaheim.

But you know how kids are – we also had a saying for the Pontiac of the day, “Ug, Pontiac Heap” in reference to the commercial that Pontiac aired showing an American Indian saying “Ug, Pontiac Heap Good Car”. Remember back then when you could actually say such things and not offend anyone? Back then I was referred to as a WOP, or Ghini – So, big deal. I don’t know that I ever knew what Ghini meant but I did know that WOP stood for an immigrant With Out Passport. I suspect that was a condition of the times. It was when my grandparents emigrated to the US through Ellis Island at the turn of the 20th Century.

As to Vince, it doesn’t surprise me to think he remembers a model of ‘Yester-year’.

Herewith his review.

The new Buick Enclave is a luxury crossover SUV that easily could have worn the iconic Buick Roadmaster name – it’s packed with comfort, features and road manners that beg for full seats and the open road. Blending style and grace with precision, Enclave delivers comfort for up to eight, plenty of space for cargo and at 24 mpg highway, the best fuel economy of any eight-passenger SUV.

The Enclave has above-average road presence and manners – with recognizable Buick looks to match the excellent driving dynamics. It’s much bigger than it looks, with fluid lines and curved surfaces that create the illusion of a smaller vehicle. Even though it’s large, outward visibility is great, and it’s easy to drive and maneuver.

Overall, the Buick Enclave is a great package that is full of content and features that make it a true master of the road – yet another Roadmaster from Buick, even if now known by the Enclave name.

Enclave is covered by a four-year, 50,000-mile, bumper-to-bumper warranty, plus five-year, 100,000-mile powertrain coverage. The 2011 Buick Enclave is a Consumer’s Digest Best Buy. Rivals include the Lexus RX350, Volvo XC90, Audi Q7, and Acura MDX.

Handling & Performance:

The Enclave comes with front-wheel or all-wheel drive, and it’s powered by a 288-horsepower 3.6L direct injected V-6 VVT engine, and six-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission. It also has all-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and traction control. There is ample power to move a fully-loaded vehicle, and the steering and braking are crisp. The driving feel is smooth and controlled. Credit for Enclaves car-like driving experience is attributed to its stiff structure, its purpose-built suspension and aerodynamic shape.


The unique styling and powerful engine are surpassed only by the interior – an amazing space that exceeded my expectations. It’s a first-class cabin from front to back. It’s a warm and inviting environment, with premium, soft-touch, low-gloss materials. The attention to detail is reflected in the precise fit and finish of all interior elements, including the instrument panel.

The interior was clearly the focal point of designers right from the beginning; it’s functional, thoughtful and well designed. Interior access is easy, the rear hatch opens electrically, and there’s lots of content. With three rows of seats, it seats seven or eight people, and still provides 24.1 cu. ft. of cargo space behind the third-row seat. The center and rear seats easily lay flat for more carrying ability. The premium sound system in enhanced by excellent interior noise dampening. The result is a library-quiet interior that enables easy conversation.


The Enclave is helping lower the average age of Buick owners, appealing to families. Pricing starts at $35,865., and a fully-loaded model with every option tops-out $48,675. With a nicely-equipped Enclave costing in the high $30’s to low $40’s, you don’t have to spend a lot to get Enclave’s royal treatment. The pricing and incentives have helped the success of Enclave, sales are up more than 30% from last year.

Recognized Competition:

Buick Englave $37,000, Acura MDX $43,000, Audi Q7 $46,000, BMW X5 $46,000, Cadillac Escalade $63,000, Cadillac SRX $35,000, Chevrolet Suburban $41,000, Chevrolet Tahoe $38,000, Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid $51,000, Chevrolet Traverse $29,000, Dodge Durango $29,000, Dodge Journey $22,000, Ford Edge $28,000, Ford Expedition $36,000, Ford Explorer $28,000, Ford Explorer Sport Trac $28,000, Ford Flex $29,000, GMC Acadia $33,000, Honda Pilot $28,000, Hyundai Veracruz $28,000, Infiniti FX $43,000, Infiniti QX56 $59,000, Land Rover LR4 $49,000, Lexus LX 570 $79,000, Lexus RX 350 $39,000, Lexus RX 450h $45,000, Lincoln MKT $44,000, Lincoln MKX $39,000, Lincoln Navigator $58,000, Mazda CX-9 $29,000, Mercedes Benz GL Class $61,000, Mercedes Benz GLK $36,000, Mercedes Benz M Class $46,000, Mercedes Benz R Class $50,000, Nissan Armada $38,000, Nissan Murano $29,000, Subaru Tribeca $30,000, Toyota Highlander $28,000, Toyota Highlander Hybrid $38,000, Toyota Sequoia $41,000, Volkswagen Touareg $44,000, Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid $61,000, Volvo XC90 $38,000.

Good News:

A lot of competition, comfort, class and performance with good fuel economy for an 8-seat SUV.

Bad News:

A lot of competition – like going to a restaurant with a menu that is more than one page.

Standard Equipment:

3.6 liter 288 horsepower V6 engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, ABS brake system with electronic brake assist, traction control, stability control, front and side and side curtain airbags, power windows and locks, child safety locks, air conditioning, seating for 8, audio with CD player, remote keyless entry, Bluetooth hands free phone, cruise control, tilt and telescopic leather wrapped steering wheel with controls, wood trim, tire pressure monitor, trip computer, power seats with driver lumbar support, second row folding seat.

Gas Stats:

$3.60/ Gal avg. August 26, 2011


for more information.

17 City and 24 Highway MPG


MSRP $36,600.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com
Copyright © 2011 – An Automotive Love Affair

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