Along with the compact Buick Envision and subcompact Encore that recently entered their second generations, the just face-lifted seven-passenger Enclave rounds out the brand’s utility portfolio. Showcasing a sleeker aesthetic, an expanded suite of standard driver assist features and updated technology, there’s a lot to unpack below.
“The 2022 Buick Enclave’s enhancements elevate the design and driving experience that premium SUV customers have come to expect and appreciate,” said Duncan Aldred, Global Buick and GMC vice president, in a media release. “After nearly 15 years as one of the segment’s pioneering premium SUVs, the Enclave continues to reward customers by offering more style and substance.”
Epoch Times took the crossover for a late winter first drive in and around the Greater Vancouver area. The exterior appears sportier than before, boasting the trendy separated lighting element layout with the signature daytime running lights up top and the actual headlamps installed below in the bumper.
The top-of-the-line Avenir trim on loan to us for the week looked particularly eye-catching wearing a mesh grille and 20-inch Pearl Nickel finish alloy wheels. The rear fascia is slightly upgraded as well, boasting subtly modified tail lenses and an integrated body-colored diffuser.
All models receive a new heated leather steering wheel and a push/pull Electronic Transmission Range Select (ETRS) system, which is a fancy way to describe the set of buttons replacing the lever from the outgoing vehicle. Yes, going to such a configuration does free up some cabin space, but call me old school as I personally prefer the more ergonomic operation of a traditional shifter. Seat cushioning and trim are also refreshed – our loaner was upholstered with nice-to-the-touch Whisper Beige perforated leather.
The rest of the interior is also quite pleasant: the large moonroof is complemented by a fixed rear skylight and a unique one-touch open manual sunshade for the former and powered, the latter. The Bose Premium 10-speaker stereo sounds simply sublime, and the heated, ventilated and massaging front seats are greatly appreciated on extended highway runs. If I had to name one downside it would be the relatively short back window reducing visibility of smaller objects, like a compact car behind at a stoplight.
Still propelling the crossover is the 310-horsepower 3.6L V6 engine mated to a nine-speed automatic gearbox. All Canadian examples are equipped with all-wheel drive and this setup performs just fine in the often wet B.C. climate. Bear in mind although classified as a mid-size the Enclave is a big vehicle and feels like one, measuring 5,201 mm long and 2,268 mm wide, meaning gauging proper U-turns and parallel parking distances takes some time to get used to. Thank goodness for the HD Surround Vision 360-degree camera display.
On the upside, the sizable footprint means the storage capacity is massive: 668 litres when the two rear rows are in the upright position, or 2,758 when folded. Convenient electronic switches are located in the cargo area and made carrying a weekend getaways’ worth of luggage and even a baby stroller a cinch.
As usual, Buick QuietTuning ensures a comfortable ride free of distracting road noise through the use of acoustic laminated glass, loads of insulation and sound deadening materials and triple-sealed doors. Even my fussy infant uncharacteristically slept like, well, a baby during the journey.
The Buick Driver Confidence Plus (BDCP) safety tech package is now standard equipment, bundling nine different automated functions including lane keep assist, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, rear park assist, emergency braking, and others. In addition, the Avenir is graced with a new head-up display that, in addition to current velocity, projects the various BDCP alerts directly onto the windshield.
Starting at at $51,998 CAD MSRP ($62,998 for Avenir), the 2022 Buick Enclave is in dealerships now.
Benjamin Yong is a freelance writer from Vancouver, B.C. and a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). Follow him on Twitter @b_yong.