New York — Buick debuted its ultra-premium 2018 Enclave Avenir model on Tuesday, representing the top-of-the line trim on its completely redesigned and more fuel-efficient three-row SUV.
The near-luxury brand showcased the first model of Buick’s Avenir sub-brand for the U.S. at a reveal along a New York pier ahead of press days for the New York Auto Show.
The Enclave midsize SUV is the seventh new Buick introduced by General Motors Co. in less than two years. Buick is poised to launch at least 12 new or updated models globally through the end of the decade.
“Why launch Avenir with Enclave here in North America? Well, it’s the most natural place to start,” Duncan Aldred, vice president of Global Buick, said. “Since its introduction, the Enclave has set the tone for a more progressive premium brand. The new Buick has grown it. It embodies the essence of Buick. It also attracts our most affluent customers, with 90 percent of buyers of opting for one of the top two trim levels.”
Buick announced the Avenir sub-brand in fall 2016; it’s akin to GMC’s popular Denali sub-brand. Avenir models have an exclusive three-dimensional mesh grille paired with chrome wings and special badging. GM North America President Alan Batey said more Avenir models soon will roll out.
The Enclave Avenir gets Avenir floor mats; wood-accented steering wheel; sill plates on the four doors with Avenir scripts; and 20-inch aluminum wheels in a pearl-nickel finish.
Standard features include heated and ventilated front seats; heated second-row seats; navigation; wireless charging; dual moonroof; and 360-degree surround vision camera. A cabin ionizer helps freshen the air.
Evonik Acrylite exterior lighting illuminates the road with more than 100 LEDs. A rear-camera mirror shows a broader view from the rear.
With seating up to eight, the Enclave’s second- and third-row seats fold flat.
The Enclave is powered by a 3.6-liter V-6 with stop-start fuel-saving technology. Buick estimates horsepower at 302. It is mated with a nine-speed automatic. Fuel economy is estimated at 17 miles per gallon city, 25 mpg highway and 20 mpg for the front-wheel drive version; the all-wheel drive version is expected to get 17 mpg city, 24 mpg highway and 19 mpg for all-wheel drive.
The Enclave has available intelligent all-wheel drive and a brand-first switchable all-wheel drive.
Although the wheelbase is extended by 2 inches over the previous generation, it is 2 inches shorter overall, and about 100 pounds lighter. The 2018 Enclave adds 10 percent more cubic feet of interior space when hidden underfloor storage is factored in.
Buick launched the Enclave in 2007 as a 2008 model. It was Buick’s second best-seller in the U.S. last year.
The timing of the new Enclave is ripe for Buick, which competes with makes including the Acura MDX, Audi Q7 and Infiniti QX60.
“With a legacy as a passenger-car focused brand and one of the industry’s oldest customer bases, Buick still faces an uphill battle, but a new SUV is exactly the right product at the right time,” Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds executive director of industry analysis, said in a statement.
The 2018 Enclave goes on sale in the fall. Pricing will be available closer to launch. The 2017 Enclave starts at about $40,000.
It will be built at GM’s Lansing Delta Township Assembly Plant.