$9,825 - $11,632

2011 Buick Enclave Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2011 Buick Enclave was new.

Scorecard

Performance: 8.0

The Buick Enclave provides smooth, sedan-like performance, and is even fun to drive. Thanks to a horsepower boost in 2009, the Enclave also provides more than adequate acceleration. However, a few test drivers would still like to see V8 power.

  • "Taut handling doesn't come at the expense of ride quality; the ride is smooth, and this crossover responds well to steering input through the turns." -- AutoWeek
  • "Indeed, we've noted that the Enclave feels bigger and more ponderous on the road than some rival crossovers. Nonetheless, its 3.6-liter V6 is plenty powerful in most situations, and handling is uninspiring but secure. The Enclave also shines on road trips thanks to its quiet ride and compliant suspension." -- Edmunds
  • "The steering is light but firms up a bit at speed to give the Enclave a confident feel. The V6 engine provides good if not scorching acceleration and should be up to the task of hauling a full load of cargo or passengers." -- Kelley Blue Book

Acceleration and Power

The Enclave is equipped with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that makes 288 horsepower. It's paired with a six-speed automatic transmission that some test drivers say is slow to downshift. Test drivers find power adequate enough, but some desire a more powerful option. Still, most reviewers say the Enclave will serve those searching for a family hauler just fine.

The EPA rates the city/highway fuel economy of the front-wheel drive Enclave at 17/24 mpg and the all-wheel drive Enclave at 16/22 mpg, which is about average for the class. For even better fuel economy from a three-row SUV, consider the base Toyota Highlander. Its four-cylinder engine and two-wheel drive allow it to get an outstanding 20/27 mpg city/highway.

  • "The Enclave has adequate go in all situations. Front-drive versions are marginally quicker from a stop. The transmission shifts smoothly but is often caught in too high a gear, limiting available power. Downshifts for passing punch are sometimes tardy." -- Consumer Guide
  • "A V-6 engine that produces 288 horsepower and accelerates briskly powers the...Enclave. The automatic transmission also can be shifted manually through the six gears." -- The Washington Times

Handling and Braking

The Enclave shines above the competition with its car-like handling and extremely smooth ride. Optional all-wheel drive adds about $2,000 to the base price. AWD also takes a toll on the Enclave’s fuel economy.

  • "Enclave holds the road with impressive stability and agility for a vehicle of this size, with direct, well-balanced steering. Its long, wide body makes it difficult to maneuver in tight spaces. Enclave's brakes are smooth and powerful." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Although it can tow up to 4,500 pounds, the 5,000-pound weight of this crossover adds to its difficult maneuverability. Smooth handling and an ultra-quiet ride characterize the ... Enclave, thanks to plenty of sound insulation and extra-thick door and window seals." -- Car Gurus
  • "'Carlike' is a term often applied to crossover SUVs. It doesn't quite apply to the gargantuan 2011 Buick Enclave, which tips the scales at close to 5,000 pounds with all-wheel drive; indeed, we've noted that the Enclave feels bigger and more ponderous on the road than some rival crossovers." -- Edmunds

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