Buick’s renaissance continues with a sharper, more elegant Enclave

The new 2018 Buick Enclave made its debut at the New York Auto Show.

The Enclave has been redesigned from the ground up. Starting with a more modern platform, designers gave Buick’s biggest model an elegant look characterized by a large grille with vertical slats and a chrome frame that underlines the headlights. The roof line is lower, while sculpted sides and chrome accents around the windows reduce visual mass.

Inside, there’s space for up to seven passengers and a generous 23.6 cubic feet of trunk space. Behind the second row, 58 cubes are available, and folding down the last two rows yields a cavernous 97.6 cubic feet. Buick points out its newest SUV is more spacious than the Acura MDX, the Infiniti QX60, and the Audi Q7, and it promises the cabin is even quieter than before thanks in part to noise-canceling technology.

The list of standard features includes an eight-inch touchscreen, a rear-view camera, key-less entry, six USB ports, tri-zone automatic climate control, and seven airbags. A full suite of crash-avoidance technologies — including forward collision alert and a lane-departure warning system — is available on select trim levels.

The only engine offered is a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 306 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 260 pound-feet of torque at 2,800 rpm. Front-wheel drive and a nine-speed automatic transmission come standard, and weather-beating all-wheel drive is offered at an extra cost.

A standard start/stop system helps the Enclave return 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway when it’s ordered with front-wheel drive. Selecting all-wheel drive lowers highway mileage to 24. It’ll cost more to fill up, too, because all-wheel drive models receive a bigger fuel tank.

The Enclave tows 5,000 pounds with the optional, factory-installed towing package. And while few crossover buyers are concerned about performance, Buick reminds us the Enclave hits 60 mph from a standstill in 7.2 seconds. That’s not bad at all for a 204-inch long family-hauler that tips the scale at just under 4,400 pounds.

At launch, the lineup will be broken down into four trim levels named base, Essence, Premium, and Avenir. Avenir is the name of Buick’s new, luxury-focused sub-brand, but the company hasn’t revealed what will differentiate the flagship model from lesser trims.

Built in Michigan, the 2018 Buick Enclave will arrive in showrooms nationwide in the fall. Look for a pricing announcement before then.

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