You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

2018 Buick Enclave: What You Need to Know

US News & World Report - Cars logo US News & World Report - Cars 11/13/2018 U.S. News & World Report
a car parked in a parking lot: 2018 Buick Enclave© General Motors 2018 Buick Enclave

The Buick Enclave is redesigned for the 2018 model year. It finishes near the top of our midsize SUV rankings, thanks to its potent engines, refined ride, posh cabin, and almost perfect predicted reliability rating.

Is the Buick Enclave a Good SUV?

The 2018 Enclave is an excellent SUV. It gets great fuel economy, delivers a smooth ride, and – thanks to its powerful engine – never feels slow. Inside, you'll find plenty of quality materials, two rows of roomy seats, and a lengthy list of standard and available features.

Should I Buy the Buick Enclave?

The Enclave is a great choice for buyers that want luxury-SUV quality at nonluxury prices. The Enclave is more upscale than most of its rivals, but it's not too far above the pack in terms of price. Still, there are well-rounded competitors with lower price tags than this Buick, so you may be able to find a better value.

Should I Buy a New or Used Buick Enclave?

The Buick Enclave is fully redesigned for the 2018 model year. The 2018's base V6 has 22 more horsepower than the 2017 model, and it's mated to a nine-speed transmission instead of a six-speed. Despite the extra power, the 2018 is also more fuel-efficient by about 3 mpg. The 2018 model has a much lower maximum cargo capacity (by about 18 cubic feet), though it still has a lot of room for the class.

The 2017 Enclave can seat up to eight, while the 2018 only seats seven. New standard features for 2018 include an 8-inch touch-screen infotainment system, rear parking sensors, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hot spot. New available features include wireless phone charging, adaptive cruise control, a safety alert seat, automatic emergency braking, and more.

You can potentially save money by shopping for a used car instead of a new one, but be aware that older models won't have the updates included in the redesign. If you're interested in a used model, be sure to visit our overviews of the 2016 Buick Enclave and 2017 Buick Enclave. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Enclave »

We Did the Research for You: 15 Reviews Analyzed

We analyzed 15 Buick Enclave reviews to give you an idea of this SUV’s pros and cons. We’ve also included fuel economy estimates, performance specs, features lists, and more to help you decide if the fully redesigned 2018 Enclave is the right option for you.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To keep our reviews free from outside influence, we don't accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and a third party manages the ads on our site.

How Much Does the Buick Enclave Cost?

Pricing for the redesigned 2018 Enclave starts at $39,995 for the base model with front-wheel drive. There are four trim levels, with the highest Avenir model priced at $55,800 when equipped with all-wheel drive. These prices are on the high end compared to models from mainstream brands, but they're much lower than the prices of many luxury-badged midsize SUVs.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Buick dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Buick deals page.

Buick Enclave Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Buick Enclave or Acura MDX?

The Acura MDX is a luxury midsize SUV that costs more than the Enclave but doesn't deliver as much for the money. The MDX has just two rows of seats, offers less cargo space than the Enclave, and lacks Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. On the performance front, the MDX is very similar to the Enclave, with a peppy V6 engine, balanced handling, and great fuel economy. Where it doesn’t match up is predicted reliability – the MDX has a below-average score, while the Enclave’s is nearly perfect

Which Is Better: Buick Enclave or Volkswagen Atlas?

The Volkswagen Atlas is a new model for 2018, and it's similar to the Enclave in many ways. Both SUVs have roomy cabins, long features lists, smooth rides, and poised handling. The Atlas' standard four-cylinder engine is more fuel-efficient than the Enclave's V6 powertrain. Still, the Atlas has an optional V6 for more power. The VW has ample space for occupants in all three rows, and it nearly matches the Enclave's cargo capacity. The base Atlas costs about $9,000 less than the base Enclave, making it a great bargain – though higher trims are more in line with what you'd pay for the Enclave.

Compare the Enclave, MDX, and Atlas »

Enclave Interior

How Many People Does the Enclave Seat?

The seven-seat Enclave has three rows of roomy, comfortable seats upholstered in standard cloth or optional leather. The driver and front passenger enjoy lots of shoulder space. The front seats are heated in all models and can be ventilated in higher trims. The second row can slide forward or backward for comfort, and a gap between the middle row captain's chairs makes it easy to get into the way back seats. Unlike many rivals, the Enclave's third-row seats are roomy enough to accommodate adults.

Enclave and Car Seats

The Enclave has LATCH connectors for easily installing child safety seats. Parents will find the available second-row SmartSlide seat helpful. It can slide forward to allow easy access to the third row even with a child safety seat installed.

Enclave Interior Quality

Inside, you'll find a handsome, upmarket design. Most surfaces have high-quality materials that are soft to the touch, but there are some lower-quality plastics in a few places.

Enclave Cargo Space

The Enclave easily beats out the cargo capacities of most competitors. When you fold down the second and third rows, there's a maximum space of 97.6 cubic feet available. A hands-free power liftgate comes standard, so loading the crossover with your hands full is a painless process. Rather than digging for your keys or fumbling to find a button on the liftgate, you simply swipe your foot under the rear bumper and the tailgate opens up. Inside, numerous cubbies and pockets give you plenty of places to stow your small items.

Enclave Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

All models include an 8-inch touch-screen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration. These systems let you access some of your phone's apps directly on the touch screen. You can keep your phone (and the phones of everyone else in the SUV) connected to the internet using the standard OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot, which provides wireless coverage in many areas that normally have spotty service.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

Read more about interior »

Enclave Performance

Enclave Engine: Smooth Acceleration

The Enclave has a refined powertrain that combines a 3.6-liter V6 engine and a nine-speed automatic transmission. The pairing helps the crossover get up to speed quickly and smoothly. Additionally, there's no noticeable juddering when the transmission shifts gears.

Enclave Gas Mileage: Good for a Midsize SUV

Few other SUVs in the class can match the Enclave's gas mileage. This crossover gets up to 18 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway with front-wheel drive. With all-wheel drive, it makes 17/25 mpg city/highway.

Enclave Ride and Handling: Smooth and Stable

The Enclave prioritizes passenger comfort and easily smooths out rough patches of road. Yet this crossover is still surprisingly nimble, with very little body lean as you drive through turns. The optional adaptive suspension improves both ride comfort and handling. The steering is well-tuned and precise. Front-wheel drive comes standard, and all-wheel drive is available.

Read more about performance »

Enclave Reliability

Is the Buick Enclave Reliable?

The 2018 Enclave has a predicted reliability rating of 4.5 out of five from J.D. Power. That’s well above the industry average.

Buick Enclave Warranty

The 2018 Enclave is covered by a four-year/50,000-mile warranty and a six-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty. Most competitors come with similar warranties.

Read more about reliability »

Enclave Safety

Enclave Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2018 Enclave five out of five stars overall, as well as in its side crash tests. The Enclave received four stars in the front and rollover crash tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not put the 2018 Enclave through crash tests.

Enclave Safety Features

All models come equipped with a rearview camera and rear parking sensors. Higher trims have a Safety Alert driver's seat (which vibrates when other safety systems are activated), forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, active lane keep assist, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, a rear camera mirror, and front parking sensors.

Read more about safety »

Which Buick Enclave Model Is Right for Me?

The base Enclave is well-priced and well-equipped, so most drivers should stick with the cheapest model. If you want leather upholstery, skip over the Essence trim (which adds few features despite a price increase of several thousand dollars) and move up to the Premium model. In addition to leather seats, you'll get numerous desirable comfort and safety features.

All trims come standard with a 3.6-liter V6 engine, a nine-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive costs around $2,000 and is available in all but the base model.

Buick Enclave (Base)

The base Enclave starts at $39,995 and comes standard with cloth upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, heated front seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, a hands-free power liftgate, a six-speaker audio system, satellite radio, an 8-inch touch-screen infotainment system, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, Bluetooth, an OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot, remote start, a rearview camera, and rear parking sensors.

Buick Enclave Essence

The Essence trim ($44,300) adds leather upholstery, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. A dual-pane moonroof ($1,400) and navigation ($595) are available.

Buick Enclave Premium

The $48,100 Premium model adds a 10-speaker Bose audio system, HD Radio, ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, a power tilting and telescoping heated steering wheel, power-folding third-row seats, a Safety Alert seat, forward collision warning, low speed automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, active lane keep assist, lane departure warning, and front parking sensors. A dual-pane moonroof ($1,400) and navigation ($495) are available. 

Buick Enclave Avenir

The top-of-the-line Enclave Avenir is priced at $53,500 and comes standard with a dual-pane moonroof, navigation, wireless smartphone charging, a rear camera mirror, and unique styling elements. The Avenir Technology package ($2,095) adds adaptive cruise control, full-speed automatic emergency braking, and an adaptive suspension.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Buick dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Buick deals page.

See 2018 Buick Enclave specs and trims »

The Final Call

The fully redesigned 2018 Buick Enclave sits in the gray area between luxury-badged SUVs and affordable, mainstream models. If you're considering an upper trim from a competitor like Ford or Honda – or an entry-level model from Lexus or Acura – give the Enclave a test drive before you buy. It has all you'd want from a premium midsize SUV, including a spacious and high-end cabin, a smooth V6, an almost perfect predicted reliability rating, and comfortable and composed handling.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

Read the full 2018 Buick Enclave review on U.S. News & World Report for more details, photos, specs and prices.


More from U.S. News & World Report

US News & World Report - Cars
US News & World Report - Cars

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon