2019 Buick Enclave
Episode 3 – Closing Thoughts
After seven months behind the wheel of the 2019 Buick Enclave AWD Premium, it’s time to wrap up and prepare to move into a new demo vehicle. More on that later, but first my closing thoughts on the Enclave.
The Final Months
My final month with the Buick began with a family road trip up to Whistler. Our first overnight trip away since the start of the Pandemic. The weather was perfect for a drive up the winding Sea-to-Sky highway and the Enclave was up to the task. Even loaded up with the family and way more gear than necessary, the V6 engine and its 310hp and 266 lb-ft. of torque always felt responsive and powerful even on long uphill grades while passing buses, RVs and other cars. The 9-speed transmission does an excellent job of keeping the engine in its power band to provide quick acceleration when required.
Speaking of luggage, we had plenty of it. Although it was only a four-day trip, Whistler’s geography and activities made for a wide array of clothing and supplies for hiking, time at the lake, wandering the village, and a nice dinner out meant large suitcases to pack everything. Couple that with this also being our first trip with our 18-month-old son and packing everything he could need. Even though we had a lot of stuff with us the Enclave easily accommodated all our gear while still having room for more.
MORE Space and Convenience
As Buick is positioned to be a premium brand, The Enclave slots in above Chevrolet Traverse and below Cadillac XT6 in the GM family. While, for the most part, the Enclave delivers a premium experience with high-quality materials and a refined cabin, it does fall short in a few areas. The sunroofs (yes it has two, although only one can be tilt and open) is one of those areas. The Enclave has the aforementioned two separate sunroofs, one positioned above the front row of seats and the second just overtop/behind the second row, while most competitors in the segment have opted for a large moon roof that spans both the first and second row the approach of two separate glass segments does allow passengers in each row to cater to their preferences without impacting the others. It also allows for air vents to be placed on the ceiling between the two that can blow air into a rear-facing car seat. These were incredibly useful during the heat waves we had here in Vancouver this summer. Unfortunately, instead of going with power-operated rolling shades, the sunshades on both of these sunroofs have to be manually opened and closed. This can be especially annoying if passengers in the 2nd row are not tall enough to reach their sunshade as from the driver’s seat, even with my 6’ 4” frame, I am unable to reach far enough back to close the shade on the rear sunroof while on the go.
The infotainment system overall is intuitive and, while not the best in its class, it does rank towards the top. A feature that could use some tweaking is the driver message center in the instrument cluster. This screen can be set to show a variety of useful information from speed to fuel economy to navigation directions. It also displays notifications for numerous unnecessary events. When the parking brake is engaged or disengaged, for example, not only will the standard park brake light on the instrument panel illuminate but you will also get a notification. Phone connected when you start up the vehicle? Notification. Wi-Fi hotspot up and running? Notification. Low washer fluid? You better believe that’s a notification. All of these notifications have to be cleared manually by selecting the “OK” button on the steering wheel to get the screen back to display what it was before the notification. There were countless occasions where I was using this screen to switch between radio presets or reset my trip odometer after refuelling, only to have the Wi-Fi hot spot notification stop me from completing the task.
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.
Throughout my time with this Enclave, it’s redeemed the model from that 2012 version (Wally) I had years prior. It has transformed into a model I would definitely consider and recommend when looking for a vehicle in the full-size crossover segment when needing more space than its smaller siblings: the Encore, Encore GX, and the Envision.
From road trips to shopping trips, full of passengers to just myself, the 2019 Buick Enclave proved itself to be a very competitive option and a vehicle that adds itself to the list of demos I will miss instead of the list of those I wish I didn’t have.
Responsive powertrain and agile handling
Generous interior space
Well designed cabin
Eye-watering price point, especially on Avenir trim
Non-premium features on lower trims
Clunky steering wheel control buttons
Duration: 7 months
Distance Driven: 7912KM
Average Fuel Economy: 13.2L/100KM
Verdict: An underrated yet surprisingly solid option in this segment. The 2022 Enclave is expected to get a mid-cycle refresh that will make it more of a contender.
On deck is the 2021 Ford F-150. Check out the next episode of Daily Driver to learn more about the all-new version of Canada’s top-selling pick-up and how it performs in the real world!
To learn more about how we can help with all your business vehicle needs, contact us today.
Article by Jeff Vass, Key Account Manager – Burnaby