2019 Buick Enclave
Episode 2 – Daily Utility
Another month behind the wheel of the Buick Enclave and it’s given me more time to discover all the features this vehicle offers and test them in the real world. It’s also been another month of my wife and I routinely humming the Buick commercial jingle anytime one of us mentions the Enclave.
Buick’s Intuitive Features
One such feature that is either standard or an option on more GM vehicles is the rear camera mirror. With a toggle of the lever under the rearview mirror (usually where the dimming setting would be) the mirror becomes a screen. Utilizing a second camera next to the backup camera on the rear liftgate provides a live video look from the vehicle’s rear. It comes in handy if you have a bunch of people or cargo obstructing the view out the rear window. It also gives you a better visual when you clear a vehicle from your blind spot and need to change lanes. However, while it is HD, the screen is not as clear as the regular mirror itself so while you will see what is behind you, noticing details is not as easy as a regular mirror.
We celebrated Fathers Day with a trip out to the Greater Vancouver Zoo. We left just after breakfast, and after a quick stop to grab a coffee, we were on our way. It’s a bit of a drive on the highway from our house, but the Enclave’s V-6 engine has plenty of power for both merging on Highway 1 as well as passing at speed to make it a quick journey. This makes cruising for long stretches effortless. This Buick is equipped with a myriad of safety technology including blind-spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert, forward collision warning, and adaptive cruise control. All of these provide great peace of mind and work as expected, though I have found the forward collision warning to be overreactive even with the least sensitive setting. It occasionally goes off in situations where there is no risk of a collision and will sometimes go off when nothing is nearby at all. This isn’t just a Buick issue. I’ve experienced this in other manufacturers and have chalked it up as a limitation of the current technology. Despite the false alarms, I would never turn it off completely. If the system saves you from a collision just once, it’s probably worth having.
Space and Convenience
The primary reason one chooses a crossover of this size is interior space for both passengers and cargo. Early in the month, we took a trip out to our local nursery to stock up on plants to get our yard summer-ready. The Enclave has 23.6 cubic feet behind the 3rd row of seats. The Premium trim comes equipped with power folding 3rd-row seats allowing simple one-handed operation when carrying items when more space is needed. Folding the 3rd row creates a flat load floor and more than doubles the cargo area to 58 cubic feet. Surprisingly, this fits seven 12-inch hanging baskets and three full trays of perennials perfectly. The power liftgate can also be foot activated by sweeping your foot under the rear bumper to open or close; convenient when carrying flats of flowers in both hands.
Another intuitive feature of the power liftgate is the ability to have it open to only a portion of its full opening height. This can be helpful in situations involving low clearance where opening the liftgate to the maximum height may damage it.
When even more cargo space is required, the 2nd-row seats also fold (manually) to create 97.6 cubic feet of cargo space. On a recent trip to Ikea to pick up some furniture to organize my son’s playroom, having the 3rd row and one of the two captain’s chairs in the 2nd row folded allowed me to pack in two bookshelves and three toy storage organizers, along with some odds and ends. All while fitting me, my wife, my son, and his stroller with room to spare.
On the docket later this month is a family trip to Whistler. Our first “vacation” since the start of the pandemic and the first getaway with our son. I’m looking forward to seeing how the Enclave handles the winding highway up the coast and how it accommodates a week’s worth of provisions, including the inevitable over-packing of everything a toddler could need.
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Article by Jeff Vass, Key Account Manager – Burnaby