“This is the most comfortable SUV I’ve ridden in” I overheard my husband telling a friend at the end of our week test driving the 2014 Buick Enclave. Even better, the extended family we’d been able to accommodate in the Enclave was equally impressed.
We spent a week in the Enclave over the holidays in Dallas, and we put it through all sorts of challenges, beginning with a road trip. My husband and I took the Enclave up to Red River Wine country in Saint Jo, Texas – a 90 minute drive north of the DFW airport. A quick call to OnStar with the address for Blue Ostrich Vineyard and we were on our way. I liked the fact that OnStar directions show up on the dashboard; its one less distraction to look over to the middle panel. I highly recommend this North Texas drive, which really does take you through some great scenery and interesting towns. Pack a lunch, and dine al fresco on Blue Ostrich’s patio outside the tasting room overlooking a beautiful valley. Or if you can plan ahead, check out the one-of-a-kind dinner dining experience at Ancient Ovens (you’ll need reservations).
The 2014 Enclave is a roomy, comfortable luxury SUV. There are a few special touches I hadn’t seen on other vehicles—a glove box on top of the dash is one. Its a great place to store gloves, sunglasses or other small items in an area that has been previously ignored. And the console between the front seats has the all important space big enough for a purse as well as storage for other miscellaneous stuff. All this extra storage is sort of like under stair storage… why hasn’t every car maker thought of this? Plus, I loved the steering wheel – which is about ¾ wood. It just feels great.
The entertainment system in the Enclave includes Sirius/XM and of course, OnStar. Using OnStar really is like having your own personal concierge. Press a button and quickly you are connected with a friendly real person happy to give help and directions. It’s hard to stump these ladies (I assume men also answer the call, but we only got women when we called). Give them an address or a business name and they will know where you are and what is close. If you venture off the designated route, you will be asked if you
want to have your route updated. A very fancy way to “recalculate.” And best of all, the conversation is all “hands free.”
While the Enclave comes with a color touch screen entertainment and navigation system, we didn’t really “dig into” this option beyond a few favorite radio stations and the map; we relied more on the OnStar feature for directions and information.
As the sun set, more of the special features of the Enclave come to life. For starters, the car has interior LED ambient lighting, which is really cool; it’s like the cabin is outlined in a thin glowing green/blue line. Also, the headlights on the Enclave adjust as you turn the wheel – ensuring a well-lit night drive.
During our test drive time, we often filled every seat with passengers and no one complained about space. Our 2014 Enclave had seating for 7 and was easy to get in and out of – the 2nd row captain’s chairs provide easy access to the 3rd row. Plus, even with a full vehicle there was room in the “trunk” for a couple good sized suitcases.
A feature I like in the newer model cars and trucks I have driven made by GM is the regular household 220Vplug. Excellent for charging a phone or other entertainment systems – the Enclave’s was located in the console between front seats, but in the back of it – available to the 2nd row of seats.
What We Loved:
Sound system – “Oh, it’s a Bose system” I heard from people getting in and out of the car
“Glove” compartment – excellent bonus storage
Captain’s chairs in second row
Space for purse in the center console
Easy seating and spacious 3rd row
Visibility – easy to see out all angles
Interior “limo lights” at night
Heated seats (the same seats cool in the summer – I bet that’s amazing)
Wood steering wheel – super fancy
Household plug in 2nd row
What You Need To Know:
The 2014 Buick Enclave FWD Premium Group priced at $46,315; total price of the model we tested: $50,880.00.
V6 Engine is standard
EPA fuel efficiency is 17 MPG city/24 MPG highway—pretty much what we got
Takes regular unleaded gas
Purchase price includes 6 months of OnStar and RemoteLink app
6 year/70,000 mile powertrain warranty
2 year/24,000 mile scheduled maintenance
4 year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty
The Enclave is an IIHS 2013 Top Safety Pick. It earned 5 Star ratings in frontal, side and overall vehicle score, and a 4 star rollover rating.
Disclosure: Buick loaned us the Enclave for our test drive; opinions expressed here are all my own.