$12,572 - $16,454

2012 Buick Enclave Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2012 Buick Enclave was new.


Performance: 8.0

Reviewers say that the 2012 Buick Enclave provides a smooth ride and adequate power. It’s not very nimble or agile, but they say it handles competently for a midsize crossover.

  • "The 3.6-liter V6 provides good acceleration in a wide variety of driving conditions. This performance, combined with the Enclave's hushed cabin, makes this a fine choice for daily driving, long road trips and everything in between.” -- Edmunds
  • "All-wheel-drive is offered for the Enclave but it is engineered to enhance traction in the more realistic conditions of wet or snowy roads and is not intended for serious off-roading.” -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Handling is decent for something this large, but comfort is the main focus; a quiet and comfortable road-trip companion.” -- Car and Driver

Acceleration and Power

The Buick Enclave’s engine is a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 288 horsepower. It’s mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and comes standard with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional on all trims. Front-wheel drive Enclaves get 17/24 mpg city/highway, according to the EPA, while all-wheel drive models get 16/22 mpg.

Reviewers say the Enclave is no speed demon, but its engine is adequate for most situations, and the Enclave can tow up to 4,500 pounds. Drivers looking for more power, more towing capacity or a V8 engine should check out the Dodge Durango. Its optional V8 is the only eight-cylinder in the class. Plus, it makes 360 horsepower and can tow up to 7,400 pounds.

  • "The Enclave has adequate go in all situations. Front-drive versions are marginally quicker from a stop. It seems GM has improved Enclave's transmission response. It still shifts smoothly but is more prompt than in previous models tested. We notice no tardiness when a downshift is required for more power.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "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
  • “Because the Enclave is lighter than a truck-based SUV, and because the 3.6-liter V6 is such a strong and smooth engine, you don't need or miss a V8, unless you tow a big boat or travel trailer.” -- New Car Test Drive
  • "On paper, the Enclave's V-6 doesn't seem strong enough for an SUV with an as-tested curb weight of 5057 pounds, but the power level is near ideal.” -- Motor Trend

Handling and Braking

The 2012 Buick Enclave earns praise for its smooth ride and competent handling. Although other SUVs are sportier and more agile, reviewers say the Enclave achieves a comfortable ride that’s comparable with luxury midsize SUVs like the Lexus RX.

  • "Enclave holds the road with impressive stability and agility for a vehicle of this size, with direct, well-balanced steering. Body lean is noticeable in fast turns, but the vehicle never feels unwieldy. Its long, wide body makes it somewhat difficult to maneuver in tight spaces. Enclave's brakes are smooth and powerful.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "Floats down the road with Lexus-like serenity.” -- Car and Driver
  • "While it's hard to describe any 2-ton vehicle as light on its feet, the 2012 Buick Enclave feels decidedly less truck-ish than traditional SUVs. Other large crossovers feel more nimble, but overall the Enclave's handling inspires confidence. The suspension also earns high marks for ride comfort.” -- Edmunds

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