2019 Buick Enclave

Performance


#1 out of 20 in Midsize SUVs

$40,000 MSRP
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2019 Buick Enclave Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.0

Of all the adjectives used to describe the 2019 Buick Enclave's performance, "smooth" is the most prevalent. From its polished engine and transmission to its comfort-tuned suspension system, the Enclave is a sanctuary on wheels. Fuel economy and tow ratings are average for an SUV this size.

  • "On the move, the Buick feels alert and powerful, if never exciting. The nine-speed works through its many ratios with precision and smoothness, with the V-6 emitting a muted growl. Helping to keep the Enclave's interior at anechoic-chamber levels of quiet are an active noise-cancellation system, plentiful sound-absorbing materials, and an acoustic insulating windshield and front side windows." -- Car and Driver (2018)
  • "It's clearly not trying to be a sports car like the Germans, but it's quick enough. This new nine-speed transmission works quite well and avoids the old GM habit of always staying in the highest gear where there's no power. It's very nice to drive." -- Motor Trend (2018)
  • "The V6 provides a responsive drive experience with plenty of power and smooth shifts that, in keeping with its luxury roots, won't disturb passengers even when you mash the gas pedal. It's all about comfort and ease in the Enclave from its powertrain performance to its interior." -- Boston Globe (2018)

Acceleration and Power

One powertrain is available for the 2019 Enclave: a 3.6-liter V6 engine mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. This 310-horsepower setup operates smoothly and is forceful enough to provide easy accelerate. The transmission sleekly finds the right gear, and the standard stop-start system re-engages the engine peacefully. The tow rating – at a maximum of 5,000 pounds – is typical for this class, as is the fuel economy rating. Expect 18 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway with front-wheel drive and 1 mpg less for each rating with all-wheel drive.

  • "The Enclave now does the 0-60 sprint in 6.4 seconds … and it really never felt strained during my drive through the North Carolina mountains and hills. Throttle tip-in, and along with it, the stop/start system restart, is smooth. Where some cars jump forward when the engine kicks back on, the Buick will stay still, even if you're not planted hard on the sturdy left pedal." -- Autoweek (2018)
  • "Whether the Enclave packs front-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive, acceleration is ample, with a neat little engine note popping up when you really lay into the gas. The transmission works its way through the gears with such smoothness that it's hard to discern when it's shifting unless you're listening for it. This powertrain makes for properly smooth acceleration." -- CNET (2018)
  • "The really impressive thing about this powertrain is its smoothness, and the transmission is truly the highlight of the new Enclave's refined drive experience. This CUV is already quiet, but its buttery shifts make acceleration a completely drama-free activity, and almost CVT-like in its linearity (without the awful droning that often accompanies continuously variable transmissions). While we could hear the shifts happening under full throttle, we couldn't really feel them." -- Autoblog (2018)

Handling and Braking

Front-wheel drive is standard in the 2019 Enclave, and all but the base trim are available with all-wheel drive for about $2,000. Like its powertrain, the Enclave's handling is composed and comfortable. Its suspension system keeps body motion in check, but this Buick doesn't feel overly soft. Responsive steering and firm brakes also make this SUV feel composed on the highway. An upgraded suspension system is available with the Enclave Avenir, but even models without this upgrade have a pleasing ride.

  • "When the going gets spirited, there's surprisingly little body roll for such a big vehicle. Whether or not your Enclave comes with electronic adaptive dampers, its ride is on the comfortable side without feeling like the chassis is wallowing about." -- CNET (2018)
  • "The steering on the Enclave is precise and communicative. The electric variable-assist power steering also features an active return assist feature that gives the steering a lighter touch when unwinding the wheel. The ride is well-damped and comfortable and the vehicle exhibits little in the way of body roll when pushed in corners. Four-wheel disc brakes provide plenty of linear-feel stopping power and the vehicle rides on standard 18-inch wheels, with 20-inch rims optional." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
  • "Back-to-back drives with all three setups in Georgia hill country revealed the lighter front-drive version to be slightly quicker to respond to initial steering inputs. But the AWD models felt more planted on the road while still rotating neatly around moderately quick corners, particularly so with the upscale rear axle. Thanks to well-managed wheel and body motions and the big 120.9-inch wheelbase, ride quality is excellent on all but the roughest pavement." -- Car and Driver (2018)
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