Buick has a long and impressive pedigree, and while it was once the vehicle driven by the prosperous doctors, lawyers and small business owners in bustling small towns across the United States, it has become an international brand thanks to its success in China during the last 20 years.
The cosmopolitan polish, however, has detracted from Buick’s core values from its earliest days, which have always revolved around an impressive combination of comfort and power as well as the latest technology and a quiet style that was circumspect but distinctive and hard to miss.
Overview: The 2021 Buick Enclave Avenir carries on the basic tradition, while the Avenir version of the Enclave that I got to drive for a week certainly showed off Buick’s long tradition of style with a touch of elegance.
(Buick offers first look at 2022 Enclave, more insight on updated Envision.)
Exterior: The elegance of the Enclave’s interior also influences its standard utility-like exterior of the 2021 Enclave Avenir, which comes with a distinctive grille. The grille on Avenir version of Enclave comes with its own unique texture and finish and is integrated with the headlamps and daytime running lights set off by chrome highlights as well Buick’s signature badge in the center of the front fascia.
The Buick badge also finds its way on to the Enclave Avenir’s 20-inch wheels that dress up the vehicle’s overall appearance. The vehicle also comes with dual moonroof with two openings to bring light into the interior and foldable mirrors, which are helpful in any garage.
Interior: The 2021 Buick Enclave Avenir is laid out as a utility vehicle with seven leather-wrapped seats, giving the cabin an ambience of understated and comfortable luxury. The cabin, in keeping with another Buick tradition, is very quiet when the Enclave is in motion, which mitigates the stress of driving particularly on a longer trip.
Controls for the heating and cooling systems as well as the navigation and entertainment features are within easy reach and dropped in a neatly packaged dashboard that is enhanced by a nice mix of materials, textures and stitching.
The driver’s seat has excellent visibility, and the heated steering wheel is augmented with controls for entertainment and the cruise control system. The lighting scheme throughout the cabin is nicely done making the vehicle easier to drive in the dark. Third-row seats are usually reserved for children or guest of small stature and that general rule still holds for the Enclave with its midsized length and wheelbase.
(Buick will soon be an all-SUV brand.)
Powertrain: It’s powered by a 3.6-liter V-6 engine with a variable valvetrain that has been one of GM’s traditional workhorses in recent years. The powerplant is matched up with a 9-speed transmission and equipped with an all-wheel-drive system.
Buick insists that its vehicles are engineered to keep the engine noise out of the passenger compartment and by and larger the noise from the engine compartment is little more than a rumbling, undertone. The fuel economy is rather average with a combined rating for the Environmental Protection Agency of 20 miles per gallon, including 17 mpg in the city and 25 on the highway. However, the engine produces 310 horsepower.
Technology and Safety: Technology is one of the 2021 Buick Enclave Avenir’s strong points. It is equipped with features such as forward-collision alert as well as rear-traffic alarm, lane-keeping assistance, blind-spot detection and intelligent high beams that automatically turn on dark roads.
The Enclave is also equipped with Bluetooth, USB ports, wireless phone charger and satellite radio. It also comes with an 8-inch screen that connected to Buick Infotainment with Navigation as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. In addition, there is surround camera as well as rear and front parking assistance.
Driving Impressions: One of Buick’s signatures has been a comfortable ride and the 2021 Enclave Avenir is equipped with a re-enforced suspension that adds smoothness and stability to its driving characteristics on any kind of pavement. The steering and braking are also very good in all kinds of situations and the electronic features help make the Enclave relatively easy to maneuver in tight conditions.
The all-wheel-drive system comes on automatically when the roadway is slick, helping make the driving less stressful. The 310 hp from the V-6 come into play instantly and the shifts are quick and efficient, and the ample torque enhances the pleasure of driving this vehicle.
(Charged up: Buick brings back Electra nameplate for battery-car concept.)
Wrap Up: The Buick Enclave is certainly well-equipped offering the driver plenty of assistance. It’s also powerful and quite versatile with the capacity to haul passengers and luggage or sporting equipment. The sound system is also most impressive, adding to the vehicles road-worthy character on long drives. But the cost of all the features, luxury touches and capability adds up, and the Avenir model with which I spent a week cost almost $60,000 when the destination charge was included in the price.