Makeover gives 2022 Buick Enclave a bold face and tech galore
In 2008, Buick introduced the elegant, three-row Enclave and heralded a new SUV era for the ailing sedan brand. Fourteen years later, Buick is healthy and it’s the Enclave’s turn to catch up with its siblings.
The 2022 Enclave gains a major refresh with all-new front and rear fascias as well as state-of-the-art interior tech.
The makeover comes as the four-strong, SUV-only Buick SUV lineup is focused on the meat of a ute-crazed U.S. market that is blooming a year after state coronavirus shutdowns flattened industry sales. With fresh faces across the lineup, General Motors' premium brand — positioned between mainstream Chevy and luxe Cadillac — is poised to continue its growth spurt in a market facing historically tight supply and pent-up customer demand. Buick sales were up 75% this May over last.
With its big proportions, three-rows, and trusty V-6 engine, Enclave has been Buick’s North American halo for over a decade. Outside of North America it is sold only in China. While high-gas prices and costly emissions regulations force consumers into smaller sedans and wagons overseas, Buick’s SUV lineup has made the brand relevant again in its home market.
“We were pioneering really in making those tough choices to (go all SUV),” said brand chief Duncan Aldred. “(In) the space of two or three years, we’ve gone from seven or eight nameplates to four, yet we're delivering better volume (and) better market share. That brings us to the major refresh of the new Buick Enclave (with) a new design that really gives it a very contemporary feel.”
Like the smaller Envision SUV aimed at America’s biggest-volume compact SUV segment, Enclave’s dramatic face features thin headlights that blend into a more pronounced grille. Dramatic gills bracket the grille and lights. The SUV’s signature big shoulders arch rearwards to a thin, horizontal tail-light graphic.
Buick has followed sister premium brand GMC in outfitting its vehicles with a top-shelf, profit-churning, luxury trim. For GMC, that nameplate is Denali and for Buick it’s Avenir. The trim has gained over 20% of sales for nameplates like Envision — and the 2022 Enclave model will feature a unique Avenir grille and 20-inch wheels.
The interior is all about space. The dash maintains Buick’s unique, swept horizontal lines, anchored by a digital screen. A button shifter replaces the 2021 model’s upright, monostable shifter to free up more console room. Enclave’s huge cargo area and second-and-third-row seats are unchanged.
Following the industry as a whole, the biggest interior changes are focused on tech. Electronics goodies once prized in luxury cars are trickling down through segments. Enclave now boasts nine standard, active safety features including blind-spot assist, auto high beams, forward collision alert, rear coss-traffic alert, lane-keep assist and more.
Optional features include a head-up display and camera mirror — fancy-pants features that debuted just a few years ago on Cadillac and are now utilized across GM’s lineup, including in the Chevy Corvette and GMC products. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also available so customers can simply set their destination on their phones — and the Enclave will automatically import it to its infotainment screen.
Powering the ship below decks is Buick’s trusty 310-horse, 3.6-liter V-6 engine that — when equipped with a tow package — can tow up to 5,000 pounds.
Available in front or all-wheel-drive, the Buick arrives on dealer lots in the third quarter of this year. It will do battle against other premium land yachts that have made significant changes in recent years, including the Acura MDX and Lincoln Aviator.
Henry Payne is auto critic for The Detroit News. Find him at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @HenryEPayne.