2018 Buick Enclave Avenir AWD
Class: Premium Midsize Crossover
Miles driven: 210
Fuel used: 12.0 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 17.5 mpg
|CG Report Card|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. “Big” rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, “Tall” rating based on 6’6″-tall male tester.|
|Room and Comfort||A|
|Power and Performance||B|
|Fit and Finish||A-|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide’s impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
Driving mix: 65% city, 35% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 17/25/20 (city, highway, combined)
Base price: $55,715 (not including $975 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Avenir Technology Package ($2095), Trailering Equipment ($650)
Price as tested: $59,435
The great: Excellent passenger and cargo room, good road manners for a large vehicle
The good: Nicely finished interior
The not so good: Avenir trim level pricey for the content
Buick first rolled out the Avenir name on a 2016 concept car, then used it to christen a new top-line sub-brand (similar to GMC’s Denali trim levels) for 2017. The redesigned-for-2017 LaCrosse large sedan was the first Buick to be offered in Avenir trim, and the second is the redesigned-for-2018 Enclave three-row midsize crossover. (And, Buick recently announced that the new-for-2018 Regal Sportback hatchback sedan is slated to get the Avenir treatment for 2019.)
For 2018, the Enclave lineup ascends through base ($40,990), Essence ($42,995), Premium ($49,095), and Avenir ($54,495) models. All-wheel drive is available on all except the base vehicle; the Essence model gets a $2000 single-clutch AWD system, while Premium and Avenir models step up to a more-sophisticated $2300 dual-clutch system.
Earlier this year, we tested an all-wheel-drive 2018 Enclave Premium; you can check out that review for our impressions of the redesigned 2018 Enclave as a whole. Here, we’ll focus specifically on the Avenir add-ons—and there are a fair number of them.
From the outside, the Enclave Avenir stands apart via unique 20-inch alloy wheels with a pearl-nickel finish, subtle badges on the front doors, premium paint-color choices, and a mesh grille instead of the vertical-bar treatment of other models. Inside, the cabin trim is upgraded via Chestnut leather upholstery with Ebony piping and contrast stitching, embroidered headrests on the front seats, a wood-accented steering wheel, Avenir floor mats, and scripted sill plates on all four doors. Also, features that are optional on lesser Enclaves—such as a surround-view camera, dual moonroof, wireless cell-phone charging, and a navigation system—are standard equipment here.
Our test vehicle was also equipped with the optional Avenir Technology Package, which adds a handful of features that aren’t available on other Enclaves—namely, adaptive cruise control with full stop/go capability; active grille shutters that close automatically at speed to improve aerodynamics; and a “full-speed” forward automatic emergency braking system in place of the standard unit, which only works at lower speeds.
Also included in the Avenir Technology Package is a premium suspension package with continuously variable real-time damping; the system includes adaptive hardware that adjusts suspension calibration to current road conditions. We didn’t notice a marked difference in ride quality or handling agility with this adaptive suspension over the standard setup in our Premium test vehicle.
Naturally, all of those goodies add substantially to the bottom line. In terms of base MSRPs, the Avenir costs a full $5400 more than a Premium. Our Enclave Premium tester was optioned up to a total price of $56,455, while this Avenir checked in at $59,435. The extra $2890 that the Avenir commanded over the Premium is primarily the cost of the Avenir Technology Package; remove that, and the difference between the two is only $235, which seems reasonable for the slightly ritzier interior trim and exterior design touches.
However, “slightly ritzier” is about all we can say for the Avenir’s exclusive trim bits—there’s nowhere near the level of distinction here that the Denali trim level brings to any GMC vehicle it’s applied to. The decision to add a new top-line trim level to the Enclave lineup was an easy one for Buick; the company reports that 90 percent of Enclave buyers opt for a high-end model. However, we wonder if Buick should have gone a little further upmarket with the Enclave Avenir, to further distinguish it from a decked-out Premium.
Essentially, the Avenir trim level is the path you have to take to get the top-line features of the extra-cost Avenir Technology Package, and it’s a shame that those extras—especially the full-feature forward automatic braking system—aren’t offered on the more-affordable models.
Price and trim level aside, Enclave is a roomy and dynamically polished crossover with ample room for passengers and cargo. Even the entry-level model is nicely finished, while upper-trim examples push the price and content level into true premium-vehicle territory. Shoppers looking for a near-luxury crossover experience will likely be well served by Enclave Avenir, but we suspect that most folks will find lesser examples of the model lineup nearly as satisfying.
Buick Enclave Avenir