The 2015 Buick Enclave is more than an upgraded Chevrolet Traverse. Buick has given the 2015 Buick Enclave an identity all of its own and it harks back to the days when comfort was king. It’s hard to find a competitor in this class that makes an interior look and feel as nice as the 2015 Buick Enclave’s beautifully designed innards.
We left the music setting on the Frank Sinatra jazz station and never looked back.
TFLcar/TFLtruck covered the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show and we opted to get something large enough to hold our gear while being reasonably easy to pilot in Los Angeles. Buick offered their 2015 Buick Enclave and, although dubious about its drivability and economy, we gave it a go.
After the first day, we forgot all that mother-jazz baby. This ride was smooth, like Jack Daniels Tennessee whiskey and water – the way Frankie likes it.
The 3.6-liter all-aluminum V6 makes 288 horsepower @ 6300 rpm and 270 lbs-feet of torque @ 3400 rpm. Power is sent to the front wheels (all-wheel drive is optional) via a extremely smooth six-speed automatic transmission. That’s not a ton of power for a vehicle that weighs nearly 5,000 lbs, (4,922 lbs with AWD) but it never lacked power on the streets and freeways of Los Angeles.
The 2015 Buick Enclave can tow up to 4,500 lbs. EPA fuel economy is rated at 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway. The front-wheel drive model does slightly better. According to the onboard trip meter, we averaged 17 mpg. The fuel tank can hold up to 22 gallons.
What’s new for 2015? A heated wood steering wheel on “Leather” and “Premium” models. New exterior colors: Crimson Red Tintcoat, Dark Sapphire Blue Metallic, Dark Chocolate Metallic and Midnight Amethyst Metallic. Dark Plum is the new optional interior color for the 2015 Buick Enclave.
It feels like a high-end high-roller’s lounge from old Vegas.
The recently updated exterior design still looks fresh. Most of the revisions are most notable up front with a couple of nips and tucks happening out back. To truly see the flowing lines, expanded fenders and lovely beltline, check out the profile view. The only blemish on this clean design is the 19-inch chrome wheels. There are other choices, including a 20-inch wheel. If you opt for the bigger wheel, you will sacrifice some of the soft ride. There is an aluminum wheel which looks pretty good.
Actually, the wheel option was surprising as most crossover/SUVs jam in the largest wheel they can stuff in the wheel well. It’s somewhat novel to see more than an inch of sidewall on a modern vehicle. Sure, these thick tires didn’t help the somewhat mushy handling on Mulholland Highway, they did an admirable job softening the ride.
A quick lesson for driving in Los Angeles: If you’re defensive, meek or intimidated by moving rapidly, stick to the surface streets. On L.A. freeways, you make your moves quickly and decisively. Cutting people off, tailgating, failing to signal, or prolonged eye-contact can get you shot or run off the road. Big SUVs are everywhere (the Cadillac Escalade sells very well in Southern California), so being quick on your toes helps.
While the 2015 Buick Enclave is no sports-car, it’s surprisingly quick off the line and it pulls hard all the way up to its maximum horsepower at 6,300 rpm. There is very little communication with the front wheels through the steering wheel, but the steering wheel weight is pretty good. Brakes are quite good for such a big vehicle and modulating the brake pressure is easy.
The most important, most notable benefit to living with the 2015 Buick Enclave is its exquisite interior. There is room for up to eight full-sized adults as a second row bench seat is optional. There are only a few SUV/crossovers available that can hold up to eight adults.
Interior styling is opulent with the “Premium” trim level, especially with the dual sunroof option.
Seats are, for the most part, very comfortable. The odd thing is: the front seat’s headrests are positioned in an unusual position. It proved to be uncomfortable for some passengers. You can push the headrest back, but it still sticks out a bit.
Cargo capacity is impressive with 23.3 cubic feet of space behind the third row and a whopping 115.2 cu-ft of space with two rows folded. The second row seats (captain chairs) tilt upwards and slide forward giving the third row passenger fairly easy access. The leveris on the side of the second row seat. Unlike the Infiniti QX60, you cannot slide the seat forward with a child seat remaining in place.
Fully loaded, our 2015 Buick Enclave’s price hovered around $50,000. Prices start at $39,050 and, considering the price of the competition, prices for the Enclave are pretty reasonable. The TFL crew felt pampered and secure during the whole event.
Well done Buick. Here is a first drive video of the 2013 Buick Enclave.
Speaking of other 3-row crossovers…