The luxury crossover segment is filled with bloated road-pigs that feature high price tags and mammoth curb weights. The 2010 Buick Enclave CXL-2 AWD is not an exception here. However, the direct-injection V6 engine under the hood, the refined style outside, and the surprising levels of luxury inside add up to package that allows it to play with the best in the class.
The 2010 Buick Enclave is powered by a 288 hp 3.6L V6 engine which benefits from direct injection. It is a paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission which can be controlled manually. I don’t see many people keeping the car in manual mode, but it it quite nice to drop a gear on demand when needed. The Enclave is no light weight, tipping the scales at nearly 4800 lbs (FWD). The 288 hp is up to the task though. When I first got into the Buick, I put my foot to the floor like Young Jeff likes to do. The Buick was slow to respond and I was a bit surprised that nearly 300 hp didn’t allow this Enclave to giddy-up and get. Realizing that I am not Young Jeff anymore, I tried a new approach. Rolling onto the gas from a stop light I received a totally different result. The car builds power wonderfully and the Enclave hustles to the next destination.
The interior of the Buick Enclave is a great place to be. I knew it would be comfortable but this was a surprise. The front seats are heated and cooled. The second row has captain’s chairs with the third row receiving a split bench. The Enclave has tri-zone climate control so that everyone is happy. I have never been a big fan of wood trim but it fits nicely on the Enclave and looks good. This particular vehicle is fitted with the optional touch screen navigation system which also plays DVDs. The rear seats can enjoy a film and keep the sound to themselves with the included headphones. The front screen only displays the movie when in park of course. I tested the system out in my driveway with a burned copy of legally purchased copy of Love the Beast. The Bose sound system picked up the roar of the cars nicely and before I knew it I was an hour deep into the film. My neighbors think I am weird(er) now.
On the outside, the 2010 Buick Enclave does a good job of taking the traditional Buick design cues and ramping them up to XL. The vents are there but moved from the fender to the hood. This helps pedestrians know you did not purchase them at Pep Boys and stick them on. They are supposed to be there, and they look at home. The grille is stylish and large, always a on a utility vehicle. This specific Enclave wears the optional White Diamond Tricoat pain and it spends time looking either creamy or bright depending on the light. I could do without the chrome wheels, but again, like the wood trim, it seems to work here on the Enclave.
The 2010 Buick Enclave rides very nicely, has a style of its own, and offers top notch luxury inside. The problem facing it is its image. Buick has been seen as the go-to ride for older folks. It still is, but they are working hard to broaden their appeal. I think the Enclave is a positive step towards their goal. I expected my pants to magically be hiked up once I sat in the seats, but instead I opened the panoramic sunroof and let Hip-Hop Nation burst forth from the XM Radio.
Compared to the competition, the Buick Enclave has a great starting price of $34,865 (for the FWD CX). The Q7 starts at $46,900; MDX starts at $42,220; RX 350 starts $37,625; the XC90 starts at $37,700. Only the Acura MDX makes more horsepower (300 hp). Just like the competition, however, the Enclave can climb quickly. The starting price for the CXL is $37,175 and the vehicle you see here rings the register at $50,305. That is a huge jump, but totally in line with the rest of the segment. In fact, I just had a Q5 in my driveway with a sticker showing $6k+ more over the Buick! That’s not a typo, I mean a Q5 not even a Q7. The Buick Enclave is priced right for the luxury crossover market, has ample interior seating, great levels of comfort, an efficient and smooth engine, and it is the first step in reaching a new audience. In short, the Buick Enclave is GM’s Benjamin Button…but more entertaining.