By Patrick Olsen on April 2, 2012
Buick unveiled the redesigned Enclave in New York today, and its look is sleeker and more up-to-date. The grille is a bit bigger and LEDs surround the headlight cluster and taper back along the hood a bit give a more upscale look, a la Audi, a brand that Buick is happy to point out it outsold in 2011. The Enclave's rear end seems less bulbous than the previous generation, with the exhaust outlets worked into the bumper.
Buick says the interior design came after studying equestrian equipment, and there's certainly that feel inside with ample leather coverings. In addition, Buick has added the same ambient blue lighting inside that it features in its current sedan lineup. The most noticeable change inside is the center stack. It was one of the old Enclave’s stodgiest features, and the new version has IntelliLink, Buick’s entertainment system.
Intellilink, which comes standard, has customizable screens much like MyFord Touch, but Buick says it will be easy to use. We'll have to try it out to see if it delivers on that promise. It has a 7-inch screen that also displays the standard backup camera's image. The climate controls are also updated, with knobs that are large but seem substantial unlike the plastic feel of the previous generation. While the center stack is updated, the steering-wheel controls remain the same as the previous generation.
Behind the front seat, not a lot has changed, however. The second row's mechanics and interior space remain the same, Buick says, but that's not a bad thing. It only took a one-handed swipe of a lever and I was easily into the third row, which for someone my size is saying something.
In terms of the powertrain, Buick says the transmission has been tweaked to be more responsive. Officials say they’ve eliminated the annoying lag we've noted before when you hit the gas, whether from a dead stop or when quickly accelerating on the highway. We'll have to see for ourselves when the Enclave is available for a test drive.
The Enclave continues to sell well for Buick — the automaker sold nearly twice as many in 2011 as they did in 2007, the crossover's first model year — and it's clear these changes are more evolutionary than revolutionary. Why mess with a good thing?
Editor's Note: We'll have a full, high-resolution photo gallery from tomorrow's first media day at the New York Auto Show.
Editor-in-Chief Patrick Olsen was born and raised in California. He loves pickup trucks and drivers who pay attention. Email Patrick