Buick has a history of more than a century. From the early days to the 50’s, their models were getting larger and more luxurious. Then through the 60’s and 70’s, they produced exciting muscle cars. But then they started making boring and bland cars through the 80’s and 90’s, except for the Grand National of course. Through the 2000’s, it was more of the same with the Rendezvous and they even made a minivan during that time. But in recent years, they’ve been focused on making only crossover SUVs that harken back to the luxury years of Buick’s history. The pinnacle of their efforts is the 2022 Buick Enclave Avenir. So is this SUV something you should consider over an Acura or an Infiniti?
Engine – The 2022 Enclave is only available with a 3.6L V6 engine. It can produce 310 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque (231 kW & 361 Nm). With the Enclave Avenir tipping the scales at 2,125 kg (4,685 lbs), this engine has more than enough power to pull the SUV. The peak torque is at a surprisingly low 2,800 rpms which is an rpm range that is normally associated with turbocharged engines, not naturally aspirated. Because of this, the V6 never feels as though it’s straining. Accelerating from a stop is effortless and the engine won’t need to go past 3,000 rpms, even in 1st gear. It’s more of the same story on highways. Smooth and gradual power delivery when overtaking another vehicle. When properly equipped, this engine can also tow up to 5,000 lbs.
Fuel Economy – The 2022 Buick Enclave Avenir AWD is rated for 13.6 L/100km (17.3 MPG) in a city and 9.6 L/100km (24.5 MPG) on a highway. I managed to average 11.6 L/100km during my time with the Enclave. An impressive feat thanks to not only the transmission but also the active fuel management system which allows the engine to run on four cylinders while cruising. As well, the engine does not require premium fuel.
Transmission – Paired with this V6 is a 9-speed automatic transmission. This is a very smooth shifting automatic. Upshifts and downshifts are not noticeable unless you really, really pay attention to them. Something that Buick owners probably won’t do. There are paddle shifters (more like paddle buttons) on the steering wheel for driver control but the buttons can’t be used unless the transmission is in the L mode. The transmission shifts though are slow when taking over control. Best to just let the computer do what it wants to do.
Braking – The Enclave has smooth but strong brakes to bring the big SUV to a stop. Brake pedal modulation is easy for smooth stop and firm enough under emergency situations.
Handling – The 2022 Buick Enclave Avenir is meant to be a luxury SUV first and foremost. That said, it drives with composure through turns. There is some body roll but it is well controlled by the optional adaptive dampers. Steering weight is on the light side however it is direct and the car is as stable on highways as a German or Japanese luxury rival.
Ride Comfort – Thanks to the adaptive dampers, the ride of the 2022 Enclave Avenir is exceptional. It’s not too bouncy nor is it harsh. The Enclave also has tires that have thick sidewalls which further aid in absorbing bumps in the road.
Interior Space – The Buick Enclave is on par with other premium 3-row SUVs in terms of passenger volume. It trades punches between the Infiniti QX60 and Acura MDX for both headroom and legroom across the three rows of seating.
In the first row, the Buick has more headroom than both but the QX60 has more legroom. This is something that I quickly noticed in the Enclave as my right knee was pretty close to the dashboard. In the second row, the Buick again has the most headroom and it is within 4 mm of the MDX for legroom. The Enclave is only available with 7-passenger seating with the 2nd row being captain’s chairs. Finally in the 3rd row, the Enclave has the most headroom and legroom compared to the MDX and QX60. There are just two inconveniences for the 3rd row. Firstly, there is no quick release for the 2nd row seat to get into the 3rd row from the driver’s side. Only on the passenger side. Secondly, the 3rd row seats are power operated to fold down or up but if the 2nd row seats are too far back, you have to walk to the rear doors to slide them forward enough to allow the 3rd row seats to fold down.
In the trunk, the 2022 Enclave easily beats the other SUVs with 668 L (23.6 cu-ft) of space behind the 3rd row, 1,634 L (57.7 cu-ft) behind the 2nd row, and 2,758 L (97.4 cu-ft) of cargo space behind the 1st row.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – The Enclave Avenir is one of the quietest 3-row SUVs out there. All trim levels of the Enclave have QuietTuning technology which is designed to reduce excess noise from entering the cabin. This isn’t one specific device but rather a host of several features such as insulation materials throughout the body, active noise cancellation from the speakers, hydraulic suspension bushings, and isolated engine cradle to reduce vibrations. The end result genuinely works as this is one of the quietest and smoothest premium 3-row SUVs.
Odds and Ends
Pricing – The 2022 Buick Enclave AWD starts at $50,098 CAD ($43,995 USD, FWD) with this Avenir trim costing $62,943 CAD ($58,645 USD) as equipped.
Gadgets – The Buick Enclave Avenir is loaded to the top with gadgets. Leather, heated & ventilated front seats, head-up display, hands-free liftgate, sunroofs, heated steering wheel, heated 2nd row seats, navigation, wireless phone charging, automatic climate control, keyless entry & start, surround view cameras, and so on.
The infotainment system is one of the easiest to use and to learn. The menu items are always located at the bottom left and the home screen can be customized. It is also capable of pairing up to 10 phones via Bluetooth and use two of them simultaneously. As well, wireless Apple CarPlay & wireless Android Auto work very well. The only thing is, this top spec Avenir trim still has an 8-inch touchscreen like the base model. Other premium SUVs use larger 10.25” or 12.3” touchscreens, or bigger.
Interior Design – The 2022 Enclave received a mid-cycle update which updated the interior design a little bit. It now has a button arrangement instead of the electronic gear selector. The steering wheel is also a little bit different from the previous year’s model. All of the important controls – climate, radio, safety features – have physical buttons to control them with the rest of the controls being integrated into the infotainment system. It is a perfect blend of physical controls to infotainment controls.
The design itself is indicative of a premium brand with soft touch materials throughout the upper portions of the cabin. Lower portions are hard plastics but you’ll rarely touch those areas near your feet. My only complaint is with the flimsy and cheap feeling front sunshade. The 2nd row sunshade is power operated but the front one is just a manual roller.
Exterior Design – As part of the mid-cycle update, the exterior received a fresh new design that makes the Buick Enclave one of the nicest looking 3-row SUVs out there. Looks are subjective but I really like the slim LED daytime running lights and the intricate design of the taillights. The car looks premium but without screaming for attention. But it could use some larger wheels. Though the Avenir comes equipped with 20-inch wheels, they look small compared to the rest of the SUV.
Safety – The 2022 Enclave is equipped with standard automatic emergency braking with front pedestrian braking, lane keep, blind spot sensors, rear cross traffic alert, auto high beam, rear parking sensors, and follow distance indicator. Does anyone actually use that last one? Anyway, the only other features that you can add on (but are standard on the Avenir) are adaptive cruise control and enhanced automatic emergency braking which can work up to a speed of 160 km/h.
Warranty – The 2022 Buick Enclave Avenir is covered by a 4 year / 80,000 km new vehicle and 6 year / 110,000 km powertrain warranty.
Conclusion – In all, the 2022 Buick Enclave Avenir feels like a premium 3-row SUV. It is spacious, it is available with a host of standard and optional features, and it is smooth & quiet. So why don’t you see that many on the roads? It could be because people remember the dreary 80’s to late 2000’s Buicks and think that they’re more of the same in the 2020’s. Maybe they still think that Buick’s are just for retirees in Florida. It is a good car but maybe it’s the stigma around Buick that makes it a brand which people don’t really aspire to own these days. Maybe Buick needs a halo car to drum up attention.
Thank you to Buick Canada for providing the vehicle. www.Buick.ca