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2018 Buick Enclave Review

The 2018 Buick Enclave ranks in the middle of the midsize SUV class. It has refined driving dynamics, lots of cargo space, and a quiet cabin with three rows of roomy seats. However, some cheap cabin materials and higher-than-average ownership costs prevent it from ranking higher.

Pros & Cons

  • Lots of cargo space
  • Roomy, quiet cabin
  • Gentle, balanced ride
  • Some cheap interior materials
  • High ownership costs for the class

Rankings & Awards

The 2018 Buick Enclave's #9 ranking is based on its score within the 2018 Affordable Midsize SUVs category. It was a finalist for our 2018 Best 3-Row SUV for Families award. Currently the Buick Enclave has a score of 8.0 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 15 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 8.4
Performance: 7.6
Interior: 8.8
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.2
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2018 Buick Enclave Overview

Is the 2018 Buick Enclave a Good Used SUV?

The redesigned 2018 Buick Enclave is a good midsize SUV. The Enclave is quiet, pleasant to drive, and it can seat seven occupants just as capably as it can haul bulky cargo. Also, its V6 engine offers sufficient punch while still netting good fuel economy. The Buick’s rank in the middle of the segment has more to do with the competitive nature of the class rather than any faults of the Enclave.

There are several reasons to consider a 2018 Enclave:

  • Good headroom and legroom for adults in all rows
  • More cargo space than most rival SUVs
  • Gentle and composed ride
  • Responsive steering
  • Good fuel economy estimates for the class
  • Stylish cabin

That said, this SUV also has a few drawbacks:

  • Some cheap-looking interior plastics
  • Higher-than-average projected ownership costs
Why You Can Trust Us

Our goal is to provide you with the information you need to make car shopping a breeze. You'll find everything you need to know about this vehicle in our comprehensive Buick Enclave review. It combines concrete data (like predicted reliability ratings, crash test results, and cargo space dimensions) with professional evaluations from 15 automotive sources. This Buick Enclave review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for the 2018 model year.

U.S. News & World Report has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. We care about cars, but we care more about providing useful consumer advice. To ensure our impartiality, an independent party handles our advertising, and our editorial team doesn’t accept expensive gifts from automakers.

How Much Is the 2018 Buick Enclave?

Based on listings for the 2018 Buick Enclave on our site, the average price is $39,900, making it one of the most expensive SUVs in the class. Prices range from $33,500 to $46,000 and vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2018 Buick Enclave Cost to Own?

The 2018 Enclave’s five-year costs for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be $26,410, or $5,280 per year. That’s above average for the midsize SUV class.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Enclave?

Buick made no major changes to the 2019 Enclave. We suggest sticking with a 2018 model. You could get a virtually identical vehicle and likely save money compared to buying a new vehicle.

Read about the new Enclave »

Buick redesigned the Enclave for the 2018 model year. You could save money with an older model, but you’d lose out on the redesigned Enclave’s updates. These include a stronger and more fuel-efficient engine, a new nine-speed automatic transmission that replaced the older six-speed, standard features – such as an 8-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and rear parking sensors – and more available safety features like automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control.

Notably, models from the previous generation can seat up to eight people instead of seven. They also have more cargo room compared to newer models.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Enclave »

See the Best New Car Deals »

See the Best New Car Lease Deals »

How Reliable Is the 2018 Enclave?

The 2018 Enclave has a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about Enclave reliability »

2018 Buick Enclave Recalls

At the time of writing, there are no safety recalls for the 2018 Buick Enclave.

See more information on Buick Enclave safety recalls »

Which Used Buick Enclave Trim Is Right for Me?

Buick offers the Enclave in four trim levels: Enclave (base), Essence, Premium, and Avenir. All four have the same V6 engine, nine-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive.

The base model is well-equipped with lots of high-tech features, making it a great value. However, you’ll have to move up to the Essence trim to find all-wheel drive as an option, and the Premium trim is the lowest trim with several driver aids as standard equipment. Additionally, there are some features you can’t get unless you opt for the top-of-the-line Enclave Avenir, such as an adaptive suspension.

  • Buick Enclave: The base Enclave features an 8-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a Wi-Fi hot spot, Bluetooth, six USB ports, satellite radio, a six-speaker sound system, a hands-free power liftgate, cloth upholstery, heated front seats, power-adjustable front seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, remote start, push-button start, and proximity keyless entry.
  • Buick Enclave Essence: The Essence adds blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane change alert, and leather seats. It’s also available with a navigation system and a dual-pane moonroof.
  • Buick Enclave Premium: Buick Enclave Premium models gain a 10-speaker Bose sound system, HD Radio, ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, power-folding third-row seats, and a power tilt-and-telescoping and heated steering wheel. Several safety features are also included, such as forward collision warning, low speed automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, front parking sensors, and a Safety Alert seat that vibrates to alert the driver of hazards in conjunction with the other safety systems.
  • Buick Enclave Avenir: The Enclave Avenir has a navigation system, a dual-pane moonroof, a rear camera mirror, wireless device charging, and some unique styling elements. The Avenir is also the only trim available with an adaptive suspension, full-speed automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control.

See 2018 Buick Enclave trims and specs »

What Does Buick’s Certified Pre-owned Warranty Cover?

Buick offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles six years old or less and with fewer than 75,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale’s date. Qualifying vehicles receive a one-year/12,000-mile limited warranty, and the original new-car powertrain warranty is extended to six years or 100,000 miles. Buick CPO models must pass a 172-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read Buick’s warranty page carefully.

According to our analysis, Buick has one of the most comprehensive CPO programs among nonluxury vehicle manufacturers, surpassing Honda and Ford.

See the best CPO programs »

Read more about the Buick certified pre-owned program »

How Safe Is the Enclave?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave this SUV an overall rating of five out of five stars, with five stars in side crash test and four stars in frontal crash and rollover tests.

Standard advanced safety features:

  • rearview camera
  • rear parking sensors

Available advanced safety features:

  • blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert
  • lane keep assist, lane change alert, and lane departure warning
  • forward collision warning
  • low-speed and full-speed automatic emergency braking
  • front parking sensors
  • Safety Alert Seat, which vibrates to alert the driver
  • pedestrian detection
  • surround-view parking camera system and rear camera mirror
  • adaptive cruise control (Avenir trim only)

See Enclave safety scores »

2018 Buick Enclave Versus the Competition

Which is Better: 2018 Buick Enclave or 2018 Acura MDX?

The 2018 Acura MDX is a luxury midsize SUV that is a bit more expensive than the Buick, but it doesn’t deliver as much for the money. The two offer similar performance, with peppy V6 engines, good fuel economy, and balanced handling. However, the Buick has more cargo space, lower ownership costs, and a better predicted reliability rating. The Acura has a nicer cabin with more soft-touch surfaces, but that’s not enough for us to recommend it over the Buick.

Which is Better: 2018 Buick Enclave or 2018 Honda Pilot?

The 2018 Honda Pilot ranks neck and neck with the Enclave. The Buick has more second- and third-row legroom, in addition to more cargo space, both behind the front seats and with all the seats in use. The Enclave has a stronger engine too, though the Pilot’s is perfectly capable. For its part, the Pilot can seat up to eight people – one more than the seven-passenger Enclave. The Honda is also around $5,000 more affordable on average, and it has lower ownership costs. Both are great vehicles, and choosing between them comes down to personal preference.

Compare the Enclave, MDX, and Pilot »

2018 Enclave Performance

How Does the 2018 Enclave Drive?

The Buick Enclave’s V6 engine feels more refined than brawny. It delivers brisk yet smooth acceleration, and the automatic transmission shifts smoothly. The Enclave has a relaxed ride, especially in models equipped with the available adaptive suspension. It’s not sporty, but the handling is balanced, and this Buick exhibits little body roll.

  • Base engine: 3.6-liter V6 with 310 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque
  • Drivetrain: standard front-wheel drive; available all-wheel drive.
  • Transmission: nine-speed automatic
Does the 2018 Enclave Get Good Gas Mileage?

The Enclave gets some of the best EPA estimates in the class.

  • FWD: 18/26 mpg city/highway
  • AWD: 17/25 mpg
2018 Buick Enclave Towing Capacity

When properly equipped, the Enclave can tow up to 5,000 pounds.

Read more about Enclave performance »

2018 Enclave Interior

How Many People Does the 2018 Enclave Seat?

The Enclave is a three-row SUV that seats seven people. Adults can sit comfortably even in the third row, and accessing that space is easy thanks to the placement of the second-row seats and an available passenger-side SmartSlide seat, which can slide forward or back even with a child safety seat installed. The cabin is quiet and generally upscale, though there are some low-rent plastics here and there.

Standard seating features:

  • cloth upholstery
  • power-adjustable front seats
  • heated front seats

Available seating features:

  • leather upholstery
  • ventilated front seats
  • heated second-row seats
  • heated steering wheel
How Many Child Car Seats Fit in the 2018 Buick Enclave?

This SUV has two complete sets of LATCH connectors for securing child car seats in the second row. The third-row seats each have a single tether anchor.

2018 Buick Enclave Features

The infotainment system is straightforward and quick to respond to inputs. It also offers several connectivity options, including standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. However, a few critics thought that other GM products have more state-of-the-art systems.

For more information, read What is Apple CarPlay? and What is Android Auto?

  • Standard infotainment features: an 8-inch touch screen, a Wi-Fi hot spot, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, satellite radio, a six-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, and six USB ports
  • Available infotainment features: a navigation system, a rear-seat entertainment system with or without a DVD player, wireless device charging, and a 10-speaker premium Bose stereo
  • Additional standard features: proximity keyless entry, push-button start, remote start, and tri-zone automatic climate control
  • Other available features: a dual-pane moonroof

See Buick Enclave specs »

Read more about Enclave interior »

2018 Buick Enclave Dimensions

Buick Enclave Cargo Space

This Buick has 23.6 cubic feet of space with all the seats in use. Folding down the third row opens up 58 cubic feet of space, and there is a total of 97.6 cubic feet of space behind the front row. Those figures are above average for the midsize SUV class. A hands-free liftgate comes standard.

These cargo dimensions are for comparative purposes. There is no substitute for visually examining the storage area in any car you’re considering.

2018 Buick Enclave Length and Weight
  • Length: 17 feet
  • Curb weight: 4,358 pounds
  • Gross vehicle weight rating: 6,160 to 6,400 pounds

Where Was the 2018 Buick Enclave Built?

Buick built the 2018 Enclave in Michigan.

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