If you read our site regularly, you know that I’ve become a big fan of Buick cars over the last few years. We’ve tested various models, such as Buick LaCrosse we drove in New England in February during the dead of winter and last year’s Enclave model which we took to the Adirondacks last summer. I’ve had the great pleasure of being able to drive them on some of our family travel escapes, so we were thrilled to be able to test out the latest and greatest from Buick – their 2017 Buick Enclave, one of the best choices in their line for families in the luxury category.
The above shot was taken during our tour of the Finger Lakes in August in upstate New York
This mid-sized SUV can actually fit up to 8 people although we only needed it for four on this particular trip. That said, the extra space was a godsend for all the luggage we had on our summer getaway, which covered upstate New York, New Hampshire and finally Newport. The first thing you’ll feel in the even more spacious 2017 Enclave is a sense of openness, partly due to the overall dimensions but also because of the incredible attention to design. Where things are placed in a car matters — it matters for safety and it matters for space! The “low and away” instrument panel keeps controls easily within reach and the luscious leather seats, warm wood tones, and brushed chrome accents create a sophisticated interior that is also above all, warm and inviting, as if you’re spending time in your own living room. It was the first time we tried a bright and fun-colored Buick and we absolutely love the Crimson-Red — oh so divine!
Let’s get into the features and new features before we get into other things we loved and our experience driving it.
We like to start with this one because the purpose of this trip was a family getaway during the summer holidays, when EVERYONE is on the road. The holidays is the precise time you need to make the safest choices, especially when you have kids in tow. Take for example, the Enclave’s Front-Center Airbag which we love knowing is part of the car’s core. By far, one of my favorite features remains the Available Rear Cross-Traffic Alert technology which relies on radar to warn of approaching vehicles—when you’re backing out of a parking spot or driveway — and alerts you when one comes within 65 feet on either side. It’s thinking ahead, in reverse. LOVE THIS! Forward Collision Alert lets you know with both an audio and visual warning when you’re approaching a vehicle ahead too quickly, kinda like a high-tech way of reminding you to slow down and enjoy the ride. And, Lane Departure Warning provides both an audio and visual alert should your Enclave drift out of its lane without you first having activated your turn signal so you can stay the course, instead of straying into someone else’s land. This is especially useful for those longer night drives when you’re worried about nodding off.
Have you ever been side blinded? It happens, especially if the sun is too bright or it’s just too hard to see. Together with available Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Buick’s Side Blind Zone Alert technology uses radar sensors to help you avoid a collision. When a vehicle enters your blind spot, sensors on either side of your Enclave alert you by producing an icon that appears in your outside rearview mirror.
Tech & Entertainment
I’m in the tech world, at least half the time wearing my consulting hat in Silicon Valley. As such, I’m always aware of and eager to test out the latest technologies, wherever they happen to be. The fact is, we have gotten so used to having wifi available all the time, anywhere, anytime, that it’s frustrating not to have it in our vehicles. That said, you want the technology to be safe and you want to be able to use your cell phones hand-free. The Enclave has a 4G Wi-Fi Hotspot which definitely came in handy for the long drives up to the New Hampshire mountains. Ahhh yes, the kids were busy and quieter than normal, making for a more relaxing ride, that is until we decided to test out the Bose 10-speaker sound system and rear-seat entertainment system.
Let’s not forget Buick’s IntelliLink which allows you to navigate and connect to friends, family and music hands-free. natural language voice recognition. You can also organize your home screen so you can easily access the features you use most. Pandora and SiriusXM Radio (three-month trial standard) are all voice controlled, which is nice and let’s just say that we used them often, especially with kids.
Enter the Navigation Bay Navigation –– bravo! Anthony and I are both terrible at directions so what a treat to have this feature because half the time, our phone navigation, whether it’s the default one or Google Maps simply didn’t work or are not reliable — this is especially true in the mountains. We love the voice-activated turn-by-turn navigation, real-time traffic data, directions, and more. You can also save favorite routes and destinations, so you can get wherever you’re going faster and smarter.
The available Rear-Seat Entertainment System is just a WOW feature for kids when you’re on the road. Imagine having an eight-inch-diagonal LCD flat screen, DVD player with remote, two sets of wireless infrared headphones, a top notch Bose surround sound, audio and video input jacks and a three-prong household-style 120V power outlet all available for your kids so they can watch movies while you’re taking that long tiring drive? Fabulous right? We thought so — it’s almost like having a home-theatre in your backseat! Rear Park Assist Technology was something we loved when testing out our 2016 Enclave as well — it’s a must have feature in any car if you are driving with children. It actually senses the distance behind your back bumper and any objects within eight feet of it, and then beeps to indicate how close you’re getting. The more frequent the beeps, the closer you are to a collision — and better prepared to avoid it.
Related to this is Enclave’s Standard Rear Vision Camera with active guidelines so you actually get a live image of what’s behind you on the Buick IntelliLink screen — shown is the Rear Cross Traffic Alert, to help you better navigate a straight course while driving in reverse. This is so great when you’re trying to get out of a tight spot or a darker and hard to see spot, such as in a parking garage. For those who travel a lot (et hem, all of you who read this site), the convenient MyBuick app allows you to view key vehicle health information, see where you parked, remote start your vehicle, monitor wifi, check data usage, send directions to your vehicle, get account details and more. It’s the best way to unlock your vehicle–and its full potential–right from the palm of your hand — a very nifty and useful way to keep everything organized.
While the All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system in the 2017 Enclave automatically activates when you need it most, it is better served during winter months or when the weather is wetter than a summer vacation. The system constantly monitors the traction of all four wheels, and if a slip is detected, will deliver power to the wheels with the best grip. StabiliTrak Technology applies quick, precise force to the brakes when it senses a difference between the direction of your wheels and steering wheel, while traction control applies selective braking to individual wheels to reduce wheel spin, also a godsend for really wet and unpredictable weather which we didn’t really encounter on this trip — both of these features were great when we drove our Buick through snow and ice in Connecticut in February. And oh yes, those heated seats!
Interior & Design
Buick has something they call QuietTuning Technology, which combines triple door sealing, acoustic laminated glass, and specific suspension tuning to help reduce, block, and absorb noise and vibration. We mentioned its spaciousness above (can seat up to 8), and that means comfortably so, accommodating elderly family members as well. Enclave’s available simple and intuitive eight-way power-adjustable driver seat and front passenger seat allow you to move the seat fore and aft, raise or lower it, and adjust the height of the cushion’s forward edge. It also “remembers” driver seat and outside mirror positions for up to two drivers, saving the information in the Enclave remote-entry key fob so everything is just as it should be when you take the wheel. How cool is that?
The personalization features with the Enclave is pretty extensive from recalls on mirrors to music and regular destinations stored inside your Nav system. Also, there’s individual temperature controls for driver and front passenger seats which is great for us, because Anthony is always hot and I’m always cold. While we didn’t need the heated steering wheel on this summer getaway, it was an essential during our winter trip last year.
For all the specs and options, check out their customization specs page: http://www.buick.com/suvs/enclave-mid-size-luxury-suv/features-specs/options.html!
Join Our Journey….
See the Buick Enclave in action in the Finger Lakes, New Hampshire and Newport Rhode Island.
Just outside Newport Rhode Island
Above, just outside Ithaca New York and below, driving through the Finger Lakes region! We also posted a bunch of shots of our Buick experience on our Instagram account as well.